Wasps director of rugby Dai Young admitted his side had looked like ‘rabbits in the headlights’ after their slow start cost them dear against Leinster in the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.
Leinster scored three tries in the opening period through Isa Nacewa, Jack Conan and Robbie Henshaw, while Willie Le Roux knocked on past the tryline with no-one near him in reply.
And while the Aviva Premiership Rugby table-toppers came back in the second half thanks to stunning scores from Christian Wade and Jimmy Gopperth, it was too little too late.
And Young admitted afterwards that his side could have few complaints after defeat at the Aviva Stadium.
Young: “In these games you can’t give yourself a mountain to climb like we did in the first half.
“We knew we had to be at our best and we didn’t need to help them along the way.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) April 1, 2017
“Le Roux is really disappointed. You expect a player of that quality to score but we also gave away two tries.
“We looked like rabbits in the headlights in that first half and the biggest disappointment is we didn’t do ourselves justice.”
“We really panicked every time we had the ball, we were looking for the miracle ball and we ended up turning it over, which put us under lots of pressure.
“They created a really good try early doors and that is the quality they have got in their team.”
Young’s team now face a crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby encounter with Northampton Saints next time out as they look to seal a top-two finish.
“We’ve got to make sure this doesn’t affect our league performance,” Young added.
— BT Sport Rugby (@btsportrugby) April 1, 2017
“Obviously we played against a good team, and people keep on saying you learn from losses, and I hope that we do.
“The proof will be in the pudding moving forward, you are going to lose games of rugby, that happens, but for us the massive disappointment was that we didn’t play like we can.”
Meanwhile, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen was delighted with his side, and specifically man-of-the-match Joey Carbery’s display.
Disappointing result against a class Leinster outfit. Thanks to all the @WaspsRugby fans for the support. Good learning experience for us.
— Kurtley Beale (@kurtley_beale) April 1, 2017
“Joey is very, very brave. He’s not afraid to try things. We will have a look back at the game and go through it with him. He’s hungry to learn and he wants to get better,” Cullen said.
“I’m delighted for him. It was a good performance. Twenty-one years of age… It has come very quickly, but he is definitely a talent.
“In the second half, it was just disappointing that we didn’t respect the ball well enough at times.
“You see Wade’s try, the way he finished it. They score again with Jimmy (Gopperth), and it’s an eight-point game. I thought we showed good composure post that, and played the game in the right area, came up with a couple of good scores.”
Leinster 32-17 Wasps
Leinster: J Carbery (Z Kirchner 78); A Byrne (F McFadden 22), G Ringrose, R Henshaw, I Nacewa; J Sexton, L McGrath (J Gibson-Park 63); J McGrath (C Healy 52), R Strauss (J Tracy 55), T Furlong (M Bent 66), D Toner, H Triggs (R Molony 59), D Leavy, S O’Brien (J van der Flier, 67), J Conan.
Wasps: K Beale; C Wade, E Daly, J Gopperth, W Le Roux; D Cipriani (A Leiua, 55), D Robson (J Simpson 49); M Mullan (S McIntrye 58), T Taylor, J Cooper-Woolley (M Moore 49), J Launchbury, K Myall (M Symons 49), J Haskell, T Young (A Johnson 49), N Hughes (A Rieder, 77).
Tries: Nacewa (15), Conan (34), Henshaw (40), McFadden (74)
Conversions: Sexton (34, 40, 74)
Penalties: Sexton (7,49)
Tries: Wade (53), Gopperth (60)
Conversions: Gopperth (53,60)
Penalties: Gopperth (32)
Referee: Nigel Owens
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