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European Rugby Champions Cup Round-up: Wasps power past Leinster

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Wasps have come a long way since their last outing in Leinster and director of rugby Dai Young believes sharp tackling was the key to a brilliant 33-6 victory in their European Rugby Champions Cup opener.

New Zealand back Charles Piutau announced his presence in Europe in superb style, scoring a try in a man-of-the-match display.

But he was not the only one to impress in a Wasps shirt as Christian Wade – who capitalised when the bounce of the ball flummoxed Dave Kearney – and Joe Simpson joined him as try-scorers.

Wasps became the first Aviva Premiership Rugby club to win a European tie in Dublin since 2009 and Young insists his charges were sharp across the park as they avenged their 25-20 defeat at the same venue last year.

"Obviously we had a little bit of lady luck with the bounce of the ball. It certainly could have gone either way, I understand that," said Young, who also saw Ruaridh Jackson and Elliot Daly keep their composure from the tee.

"Even in that period, we were 9-6 [in front], and probably good for 9-6. We pretty much deserved to win. I thought we were good for it right across the board, really.

"We got taught a real lesson here last season with the tackle area. We tried to commit to the tackle area and pretty much came off second best and lost that battle. They won quick ball, and then got us on the edges.

"We talked about, unless it's an offensive tackle, or a positive tackle, keep people on their feet really and frustrate them. I think we learned a few lessons from last season."

But Exeter Chiefs could not make it a perfect weekend for Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs, as Josh Matavesi’s second-half try sealed a 25-13 victory for Ospreys.

Gareth Steenson had converted a James Short try and slotted a penalty in the first half to give Chiefs a slim advantage, but Dan Biggar’s boot was never far away from the action.

The Wales fly-half kicked a stunning 20 points in total, including a drop-goal, to condemn Exeter to an opening defeat in Europe.

On Saturday Saracens made a statement with a 32-7 victory over heavyweights Toulouse – Owen Farrell chipping in with a 17-point haul.

Chris Wyles also notched a try-double and Mako Vunipola crossed for Saracens, who reached the final in 2013/2014 and are currently topping the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

And though the performance was not as pretty at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton Saints came away with a vital 15-11 win against a dogged Scarlets.

Ken Pisi opened up proceedings with a seventh-minute try but Scarlets refused to go away, leading momentarily in the second half thanks to Gareth Davies’ score and two Steve Shingler penalties.

But prop Alex Waller barged over and JJ Hanrahan opened up daylight for Northampton – to leave director of rugby Jim Mallinder satisfied but cautious about getting carried away.

"It was an arm wrestle but it's a cracking start for us," said Mallinder.

"It's far too early to be talking about winning the competition as we are in a cracking pool. We have Glasgow away next, who beat us away last time and they will play like the Scarlets, so we need to be strong in the set piece."

Last but not least, Stade Francais found Leicester Tigers in imperious form on Friday and flanker Brendon O’Connor made a huge impression on debut in a 33-20 victory.

O’Connor not only scored a try but made a number of brilliant turnovers, and joining him on the scoresheet were Niki Goneva, Matt Smith and Ben Youngs.

“Brendon O'Connor will only get better, he scored a great try and had a great steal for one of the others,” said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.

"He's getting integrated into the team now and he's English qualified. He's a great lad and an out-and-out seven."

Bath Rugby were due to play in Toulon on Sunday, but the match was postponed due to Friday's attacks in Paris.

Respects were paid to the victims at every match over the weekend, as rugby came together to show their solidarity with France.
 
SUNDAY
 
Leinster 6 Wasps 33
 
Leinster
Penalties: Sexton 2
 
Wasps
Tries: Wade, Simpson, Piutau
Conversions: Jackson 2, Lozowski
Penalties: Daly, Jackson 3
 
Referee: Mathieu Raynal
Attendance: 16,791
 
Ospreys 25 Exeter Chiefs 13
 
Ospreys
Tries: Matavesi
Conversions: Biggar
Penalties: Biggar 5
Drop-goal: Biggar
 
Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Short
Conversions: Steenson
Penalties: Steenson 2
 
 SATURDAY
 
Saracens 32 Toulouse 7

Saracens
Tries: Vunipola, Wyles 2
Conversions: Farrell
Penalties: Farrell 5

Toulouse
Tries: Tolofua
Conversions: Bezy

Referee: George Clancy
Attendance: 9.574
 
Northampton Saints 15 Scarlets 11

Northampton
Tries: K Pisi, Waller
Conversions: Hanrahan
Penalties: Hanrahan

Scarlets
Tries: G Davies
Penalties: Shingler 2

Referee: Roman Poite
Attendance: 14,512
 
FRIDAY
 
Leicester Tigers 33 Stade Francais Paris 20

Leicester Tigers
Tries: Goneva, O'Connor, Smith, B Youngs
Conversions: O Williams 2
Penalties: Baikeinuku, O Williams 2

Stade Francais Paris 
Tries: Arias, Tomas, P Williams
Conversions: Steyn
Penalties: Steyn

Attendance: 20,286
Referee: John Lacey

 

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