Wasps take narrow one-point advantage in first leg of European play-off game
Last Updated: 18/05/14 5:58pm
Wasps gained the narrowest of advantages to take to France next week after a late Andy Goode penalty gave them a 30-29 victory over Stade Francais in the first leg of their European Champions Cup play-off.
Wasps looked beaten when centre Waisea Vuidravuwalu scored a soft 74th-minute try, but the Aviva Premiership at least ensured they won the first leg in the play-off that will decide who completes the line-up for next season's European elite competition.
Tries from Tom Varndell, Ashley Johnson and Joe Simpson and a 15-point haul from Goode should have seen Wasps emerge emphatic winners, but they were punished for some costly lapses in concentration.
Djibril Camara and Jerome Fillol scored tries that should have been prevented shortly after the London club had crossed themselves and even Zak Taulafo's opening touchdown was conceded too easily.
Stade, missing their Italy captain Sergio Parisse due to injury, will be favourites to qualify given they enter Saturday's second leg in Paris with only one-point deficit, but Wasps will take heart from their refusal to wave the white flag.
Six points from Goode kept Wasps in touch and they went close to crossing in the right corner but Will Helu just failed to collect Elliot Daly's grubber.
Daly was proving dangerous in a strong spell for the Premiership club and their increasing dominance was rewarded with a first try in the 27th minute.
A line-out was won and the ball was shipped down the threequarters with Helu finding Varndell with a long pass and the former England wing easily rounded full-back Hugo Bonneval to score.
Stade's reply was swift and came courtesy of a passive home defence than enabled wing Camara to cross all too easily in the left corner.
The first half finished with Wasps launching a sustained attack on the right corner and the second started with what appeared to be a try for James Haskell, but the TMO decided the ball had been knocked on at the line-out.
Stade blundered again at the set-piece seconds later and this time Wasps were successful, Goode hacking the ball on for Johnson to grab and touch down.
Haskell was sin-binned for failing to retreat 10 yards at a free-kick and when Dupuy landed the ensuing penalty, Wasps' lead was down to five points.
The London club's self-destructive streak was exposed in the space of three minutes when Simpson scored a length of the pitch try after capitalising on good work from Carlo Festuccia and Nathan Hughes, only to then gift Stade five points moments later.
Simpson's clearance was charged down by Jerome Fillol and the substitute scrum-half pounced on the loose ball for a key try.
It the prelude to a thrilling climax that saw Vuidravuwalu race between a large gap in midfield before Goode intervened with the decisive act.