WASPS saw their European campaign come to an end after a 37-19 defeat against reigning champions Leinster ended their progression in the Heineken Cup.
The visitors showed their European pedigree in the first-half and led 20-0 at the break, started off by Ross Byrne’s penalty on 11 minutes and added to by a Garry Ringrose try after stepping inside to wrong-foot a defender and go over the posts, Byrne conversion making it 10-0 before the 20 minute mark.
Wasps looked to respond and finally made their way into the Leinster half, releasing Josh Bassett into the play before handing over to Michele Campagnaro – who impressed with a lung-busting run but came just short as the visitors recovered.
A penalty kick by Byrne, followed by a conversion after Sean Cronin’s try meant the champions had a 20-0 lead going at half-time at the Ricoh Arena, Wasps European hopes hanging by a mere thread.
The hosts had to come out strongly and they looked to step up the intensity in their play, forcing a knock-on from a breakdown inside Leinster’s half after some good exchanges charging forward.
Elliot Daly looked likely to find an incisive pass when making his way inside, but was unable to deliver despite continued pressure in Leinster territory.
A Nathan Hughes try finished off a well-worked attack, whilst Lima Sopoaga kicked the conversion, but a second try from Cronin proved a fatal blow after a driving lineout worked to great success. Byrne converted for maximum points, and it would seemingly take a monumental effort to overturn the deficit at that stage.
A gap was spotted by Daniel Robson when gaining possession of the ball, allowing him to break through and seize a second Wasps try, Sopoaga adding further points from the conversion.
It was effectively game over 12 minutes from time, as Rory O’Loughlin sent through Noel Reid to secure a bonus-point try and subsequently a conversion after a line-break.
Wasps found a third try of the afternoon through Marcus Watson from Gaby Lovobalavu’s pass, but Noel Reid had the final say when scoring a penalty in the last moments to wrap up victory for the Irish side.
Wasps Rugby’s campaign in Europe is over for this term, but will be looking to bounce back when facing Worcester Warriors at Sixways Stadium in the Premiership Rugby Cup on Sunday 3rd February (3pm).