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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 22 June, 2018


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Hello and welcome to the first of two Champions Cup liveblogs this afternoon as European knockout rugby returns to these shores.

First up, Leo Cullen’s Leinster host Premiership leaders Wasps at a sold-out Aviva Stadium and then Munster welcome four-time winners Toulouse to Thomond Park.

It promises to be a cracking day of rugby and you won’t miss a trick with our minute-by-minute coverage of both games right here on The42.

A morning of sunshine in the capital has quickly turned into a rather damp afternoon but hopefully the rain will pass by the time we kick-off at 3.15pm.

A general view of the Aviva Stadium before the game Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

A view of Aviva Stadium ahead of the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A view inside the Leinster dressing room ahead oft the game Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Before we go any further, let’s check on the teams.

There are no late changes to the XVs named yesterday, as Jonathan Sexton, Robbie Henshaw, Garry Ringrose along with forwards, Jack McGrath, Tadhg Furlong, Devin Toner and Sean O’Brien return after international duty.

Jack Conan, meanwhile, has shaken off the calf problem which kept him out of last week’s win over Cardiff to start at 8 in Jamie Heaslip’s absence.


15. Joey Carbery
14. Adam Byrne
13. Garry Ringrose
12. Robbie Henshaw
11. Isa Nacewa (captain)
10. Jonathan Sexton
9. Luke McGrath

1. Jack McGrath
2. Richardt Strauss
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Devin Toner
5. Hayden Triggs
6. Dan Leavy
7. Sean O’Brien
8. Jack Conan


16. James Tracy
17. Cian Healy
18. Michael Bent
19. Ross Molony
20. Josh van der Flier
21. Jamison Gibson-Park
22. Fergus McFadden
23. Zane Kirchner

This is the side Dai Young has selected for Wasps’ 100th game in the Champions Cup. There is no shortage of quality in there with a formidable back-line, in particular, standing out.


15. Kurtley Beale
14. Christian Wade
13. Elliot Daly
12. Jimmy Gopperth
11. Willie Le Roux
10. Danny Cipriani
9. Dan Robson

1. Matt Mullan
2. Tommy Taylor
3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
4. Joe Launchbury (c)
5. Kearnan Myall
6. James Haskell
7. Thomas Young
8. Nathan Hughes


16. Ashley Johnson
17. Simon McIntyre
18. Marty Moore
19. Matt Symons
20. Alex Rieder
21. Joe Simpson
22. Alapati Leiua
23. Josh Bassett

Ryan Bailey here to guide you through all the action as it happens with Sean Farrell also in position at the Aviva Stadium as we bring you minute-by-minute of this afternoon’s quarter-final tie.


If you want to join in the conversation, tweet us: @The42_ie, e-mail or post your thoughts in the comments section below.

The teams are in the house and the atmosphere is building around Ballsbridge. A crowd of over 50,000 is expected here this afternoon for a game which has all the ingredients to be an absolute cracker.

Let us know where you’re watching from and which way you see it going in the comments section below.

Leo Cullen Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Jimmy Gopperth Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Isa Nacewa and Joe Launchbury with Referee Nigel Owens at the coin toss Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Jonathan Sexton Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Jack Conan Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

For those wondering, today’s game is live on BT Sport with former Leinster coach Michael Cheika and Brian O’Driscoll on punditry duty pitchside.

Here come the teams as their arrival from the dressing rooms is met by a flurry of pyrotechnics. We’re just about all set.


Bright opening passage for Leinster as they start with real intensity but are eventually penalised for being offside. Cipriani finds touch with the penalty but Wasps surrender possession in midfield.


Sexton goes cross-field and Beale is bundled into touch. Strauss finds his man from the lineout and Leinster get the roll on from the maul, before Launchbury comes in from the side and concedes the penalty.

No surprise Sexton has called for the tee, with Ross Byrne acting as drinks carrier this afternoon.

Flag 7Mins

Penalty! Leinster 3-0 Wasps (Sexton)

Sexton takes his time over the kick and strikes it sweetly to give Leinster a deserved lead having dominated the opening exchanges.


But from the kick off, Sexton skews his clearing kick and it gives Wasps the perfect attacking platform inside the Leinster 22.


Wasps show all their power as they charge towards the line but that’s superb defence from Leinster as they halt Nathan Hughes’ barnstorming run and manage to hold him up five metres from the line. Leinster scrum.


The rain has thankfully abated and the sun has reappeared over the Aviva Stadium, although the heavy showers before the game means the pitch and ball remains a bit greasy.

Solid defensive scrum from Leinster as McGrath gives it to Nacewa for the captain to clear and bring play up towards the Leinster 10 metre line on this near side.


Leinster fans Tara Barrett and Jolene Moore Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Wasps fan Daniel Ford challenges Leo the Lion Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Isa Nacewa Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


Good work from Hayden Triggs as he charges off the line and just about holds onto Cipriani and the out-half is forced to throw a loose offload out wide, but it trickles into touch.


Breathless passage of play. Furlong sidesteps Cipriani on this near side to start it all off and as Leinster work it out right, Henshaw breaks clear and is hauled down yards from the line.

Wasps just about stop the Leinster centre but do so illegally and Nigel Owens awards the penalty, with Sexton going for the corner. It doesn’t pay off, however, as Wasps turn it over and clear.

Flag 16Mins

TRY! Leinster 8-0 Wasps (Nacewa)

Leinster motoring now. Leavy carries explosively after Byrne made good yards and it eventually comes wide for Carbery to throw a delightful pass for Nacewa to finish in the corner.


Wasps carved apart on that occasion and it’s all a little sloppy at the moment from the visitors. On the restart, Cipriani collects a loose ball in midfield but overcooks his kick in behind and it sails out on the full.


Leinster have enjoyed 75% possession in the opening 17 minutes and they look incredibly dangerous every time they throw it out wide with the forwards dominating at the breakdown.

Dan Leavy has gone off for some treatment on a cut and Josh van der Flier is on as his blood replacement.


Strauss fails to find his man at the lineout but Leinster are first to respond and Conan offloads to O’Brien, who puts the head down and shows incredible pace and power to charge up towards the Wasps 10 metre line.

Van der Flier and McGrath are there quickly to support but it’s a bit messy and Sexton’s attempt to spread it out wide sees the referee pull it back for a forward pass.


Breathtaking rugby. Robson sees the space in behind the Leinster defence and puts Carbery under immense pressure on his own line, but the full-back does brilliantly to turn defence into attack.

Triggs offloads for Sexton and the out-half looks to kick it deep into the space but it comes off his shin and skews out into touch on halfway. Not his finest moment.


Leavy has been patched up and returns to the action in place of van der Flier. Adam Byrne’s afternoon is, however, over with the young winger trudging off to be replaced by Fergus McFadden.


TRY! Leinsters 8-5 Wasps (Willie Le Roux)

Pure class from Kurtley Beale. Incredible footwork to break clear as Wasps cut through on the counter-attack and he finds Willie Le Roux with the offload to run it home.


Nigel Owens goes upstairs to check the grounding and replays show he lost the ball as he dived over the line. A huge blunder and absolutely inexcusable from the experienced Springbok!

A huge let off for Leinster as they then win the penalty from a defensive scrum five metres from their own line.


Leinster win another penalty on this near side as Cipriani is penalised for a high tackle on Joey Carbery, who has been superb in attack and defence during the opening 26 minutes.


How crucial could this moment prove to be in the match?

Willie Le Roux scores a try but has it disallowed by Nigel Owens Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Willie Le Roux scores a try but has it disallowed by Nigel Owens Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Willie Le Roux scores a try but has it disallowed by Nigel Owens Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO


Penalty! Leinster 8-3 Wasps (Gopperth)

The visitors are on the board as the former Leinster out-half calmly slots over a penalty from 42 metres out.

Flag 33Mins

TRY! Leinster 13-3 Wasps (Conan)

Joey Carbery to the fore as he conjures more magic on the far side after a loose kick from Wasps. The full-back gathers, fends to go one way and comes down the short side. He draws the defender, feeds McFadden and then is involved again to find Conan in space who has the simple task of running it under the posts.


And Sexton adds the extras to stretch Leinster’s lead to 15-3 after 35 minutes.


Wasps have been incredibly disappointing so far and just haven’t got going as sloppy errors continue to cost them. The heavens have opened again as we approach the half-time interval.


Ouch! HUGE hit from Nacewa on Beale as the Leinster captain came quickly off the line and read the play. The Australian requires some treatment but looks like he’s continuing.

Flag 40Mins

TRY! Leinster 22-3 Wasps (Henshaw)

Wasps can’t control their own maul and the ball pops out with Leavy diving on it and brilliantly offloading. O’Brien and Sexton combine before Henshaw is set free to dot down under the posts.

Henshaw goes over for Leinster’s third try right on half time and Leo Cullen’s side are cruising at the Aviva Stadium. Wasps haven’t turned up but the hosts have brought an intensity to proceedings with Carbery, O’Brien, Conan, Leavy and McGrath all having huge games.


Confirmed attendance of 50,266 inside the Aviva Stadium this afternoon.

Johnny Sexton kicks a conversion Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO


Back underway at the Aviva as the rain continues to pour down.


Fast start to the second period as Wasps look to come out of the blocks quickly.

Sexton is down at the far end receiving treatment after that last passage of play but he’s back up and pings a penalty down the touchline after Haskell is penalised at scrum time.


Penalty! Leinster 25-3 Wasps (Sexton)

The first score of the half goes to the hosts as Sexton stretches Leinster’s advantage from the kicking tee. Dai Young has seen enough and has just made a raft of changes, including the introduction of former Leinster prop Marty Moore.

Flag 54Mins

TRY! Leinster 25-10 Wasps (Wade)

One back for Wasps as Wade shows his pace to latch onto his own kick and dive on the ball in the far corner. Gopperth adds the extras.


Leo Cullen makes a couple of changes with James Tracy and Cian Healy on for Strauss and Jack McGrath.


Leinster back in control after Wade’s moment of individual brilliance.


Leinster pushing for a fourth and match-clinching try but Wasps stand up well and steal possession to relieve the pressure. Another breathless passage of play.


Wasps asking questions as they search for an avenue back into the contest. 15-point game with 20 minutes remaining.

Flag 61Mins

TRY! Leinster 25-17 Wasps (Gopperth)

And the pressure pays off! Gopperth dances through and runs over the tackle of McGrath before finishing brilliantly despite the best efforts of Carbery. He adds the conversion and this game isn’t over yet!


Jamison Gibson-Park is on for Luke McGrath as Leinster look to close this game out. 17 minutes remaining at the Aviva.


All the momentum is with Wasps but Leinster have the ball as the crowd urge them on. Ross Molony is also on for the home side.


Another serious shift from Tadhg Furlong as he trudges off to be replaced by Michael Bent.


Delightful footwork from Ringrose as he dances through but Wasps have enough numbers there to haul the centre down. Leinster recycle and Gibson-Park goes right before Bent knocks on a couple of phases later.


What a finish from Jimmy!

Jimmy Gopperth on his way to scoring their second try Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Jimmy Gopperth scores their second try Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Jimmy Gopperth scores their second try Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Jimmy Gopperth celebrates scoring their second try Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Flag 75Mins

TRY! Leinster 30-17 Wasps (McFadden)

And that should be that! Quick ball for Leinster as Gibson-Park feeds Toner and he lays it back beautifully for McFadden to pick up and drive over from close range.


Sexton makes no mistake from the tee as he dissects the posts and Leinster are closing in on a place in the Champions Cup semi-finals.


Brian O’Driscoll selects Joey Carbery as the man of the match. 11 passes, 25 carries, 200 metres run, one clean break. A fine afternoon’s work.

Joey Carbery with Kurtley Beale Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

A fantastic performance from Leinster as they surge into the last four of the Champions Cup. It’s over to Munster now as they face Toulouse in Limerick.

We’ll have a full report and reaction to follow from the Aviva Stadium but do join us for live coverage from Thomond Park over here.

Fergus McFadden celebrates scoring a try Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

About the author:

Ryan Bailey