Amlin qualification rests on French test

Bucks Free Press: Tom Varndell scored on his return from injury Tom Varndell scored on his return from injury

WASPS haven’t put a foot wrong in Pool Four of the Amlin Challenge Cup, but qualification for the quarter-finals will still all come down to a one-off match in Bayonne.

They go to southern France in the middle of January with a three point lead over their hosts after making it four wins from four against Grenoble last weekend.

But their perfect campaign is just one bad evening away from unravelling and if it’s going to happen at all, Bayonne away is the time and place.

Director of rugby Dai Young said: “That’s a massive game for both teams.

“We’d have to expect that in the last game we’ll get a bonus point [against Viadana], otherwise we’d have to have a look at ourselves.

“That’s not being disrespectful to them, but if you go out there and get the score we did then you’d certainly expect to score four tries at home.

“But going to Bayonne is going to be a big game for us. They’re not going to want to lose any game at home so we know how difficult it’s going to be.”

At least there will be no surprises. This is the third year running Wasps and Bayonne have been drawn together in this competition and their two previous visits to the Stade Jean Dauger haven’t yet yielded a win.

Two winters ago they were 19-11 losers and last season the two met in the middle with a 13-13 draw.

Only one of those results would be enough this time, but so far this season Wasps have answered every question in Europe.

Sunday’s 32-12 victory over Grenoble didn’t hit the heights of their seven-try romp the previous weekend, but Young wasn’t splitting hairs.

He said: “We were nowhere near as good as we were last week, but Grenoble were always going to come back with a bigger challenge.

“I was a little bit nervous coming into the game because we played so well last week. Grenoble are a proud bunch, they were always going to be better and they were certainly much stiffer up front and far more physical.

“We had a few injuries and you’re always a bit fearful going into games against teams with the ability to bounce back and embarrass you.

“So I’d have settled for the win and if had been offered nine points from these two games I would have snapped your hand off.

“We didn’t play to our best and I thought we had a little bit of luck.

“But it’s a good win and we’re happy to be in the position we are with two games left.

“We know we’ll have to be better next week but with the number of players we’ve got out and with people playing out of position and so on, we’ll take that.”

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