Wasps ‘gutted’ as late Drew Mitchell try extends Toulon’s run

Champions Cup

Wasps ‘gutted’ as late Drew Mitchell try extends Toulon’s run

Drew Mitchell’s stoppage-time try denied Wasps an historic win over European champions Toulon yesterday.

The former Wallaby crossed to salvage a dramatic win for the three-time Champions Cup winners, extending Toulon’s 18-game unbeaten run at Stade Felix Mayol.

Guy Thompson looked to have given Wasps the victory that would have clinched a quarter-final spot with a try 10 minutes from time, but Jimmy Gopperth missed the conversion and Toulon mustered a final attack as time ran out.

The result saw Toulon take over at the top of Pool Five and they can win the group with a bonus-point win at Bath next weekend, when Wasps welcome Leinster at the Ricoh Arena.

Habana’s interception sparked a counter-attack that ended with Quade Cooper scoring the game’s first try on 13 minutes.

Wasps were then reduced to 14 men when George Smith was shown a yellow card by World Cup final referee Nigel Owens for a late tackle on Habana, and Escande kicked Toulon 8-0 ahead.

Wasps managed to claim back three points through Gopperth before half-time and their defence was to prove heroic at times in the second half.

Gopperth converted a second penalty to cut the lead to two points on 63 minutes.

But a shock looked on the cards when Daly used his pace to beat the cover defence and Thompson barged his way over for Wasps’ only try on 70 minutes.

Gopperth pushed his conversion wide and Wasps’ lead was 11-8.

They looked set to hold on amid more stubborn defending that appeared to frustrate Toulon.

But the holders showed their class late on as Mitchell raced onto Nonu’s pass to score the match-winner in the first minute of added-on time.

Admitted Wasps coach Dai Young: “I’m absolutely gutted for the players, that’s heart-breaking for them. We were under pressure for large periods of the game, but we showed our resolve and we showed how much we mean to each other, fighting for each other.

With 80 minutes on the clock we had won that game and I really feel for the players involved.”

TOULON:

Mitchell, Tuiosva, Bastareaud, Nonu, Habana, Cooper, Escande, Fresia, Guirado, Chilachava, Suta, Mikautadze, J. Smith, S. Armitage, Vermeulen.

Replacements:

Mermoz for Bastareaud (71), Michalak for Cooper (50), Tillous-Borde for Escande (50), Chiocci for Fresia (49), Etrillard for Guirado (49), Saulo for Chilachava (49), Lassale for Mikautadze (50), Gorgodze for J. Smith (71).

WASPS:

Piutau, Tagicakibau, Daly, Jacobs, Halai, Gopperth, Simpson, Mullan, Shervington, Cittadini, Davies, Gaskell, Jones, G. Smith, Thompson.

Replacements:

Jackson for Daly (74), Miller for Jacobs (37), McIntyre for Mullan (63), Johnson for Shervington (56), Swainston for Cittadini (69), Myall for Gaskell (63), Young for Thompson (71).

Referee:

Nigel Owens (Wales)

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