Wasps remain on course for Amlin quarter-finals

WASPS remain in pole position to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Amlin Challenge Cup after a nerve-shredding finish to their pool game in Bayonne this evening.

The match finished 13-13 after Christian Wade scored arguably his best try for the black and golds, but Wasps also had a Tom Varndell score chalked off while two Nicky Robinson kicks come back off the upright during a rousing second period.

Robinson also missed a long-range drop goal attempt with the final kick of the match, but minutes earlier Wasps had needed every ounce of resilience to withstand a late French surge.

It all means Wasps remain one point clear of Bayonne at the top of their pool with the return fixture against the Frenchmen at Adams Park next Thursday night, when a victory would give them a huge shove towards the knock-out stages.

Wasps were sluggish starters in France though, and Marvin O'Connor's 39th minute try meant they went to the interval 10-0 behind.

However, the introduction first of Elliot Daly and Joe Simpson and then Joe Launchbury and Thomas Rhys Thomas ignited Dai Young's men and after Robinson had knocked over a penalty Wade put the match back in the melting pot with a startling try, surging away before kicking ahead and then gathering to touch down with 61 minutes gone.

Bayonne pulled clear again at 13-8 when Jacques-Louis Potgieter knocked over his second penalty of the match with 67 minutes gone, but Wasps came again and Varndell thought he'd gone over with 70 minutes gone only for the TMO to rule it out for a foot in touch.

Wasps had the wind in their sails at this point though, and with five minutes of the match remaining Phil Swainston went over in the left hand corner to level it up at 13-13.

It all came down to the conversion attempt from wide on the left but Robinson, who had hit a post with a 50th minute penalty, did the same again and despite a frantic finale neither side was able to snatch it.

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