Amlin Challenge Cup - Round 3
Wasps sneak late draw at Bayonne
December 8, 2012
London Irish's Jamie Gibson plucks the lineout against Gloucester © Getty Images
A late try from Phil Swainston ensured Wasps claimed a 13-13 draw against Bayonne in an entertaining Amlin Challenge Cup match on Saturday.
Bayonne had much the better of the play in the first 40 but had to wait until the last play of the half to get across Wasps' try line. Winger Marvin O'Connor crashed over for the home side and Jacques Potgieter added the extras to make it 10-0 at the break.
But it was Wasps who emerged the stronger of the two teams for the second-half and Nick Robinson got them on the scoreboard with a 51st minute penalty. Christian Wade then scored a sensational solo effort to bring them within two points of the French team.
Potgieter then made no mistake with a second penalty with 13 minutes remaining to put the French side five points clear - but Swainston eroded that deficit in an instant, crashing across the whitewash with eight minutes left on the clock.
Robinson had the chance to sneak the English side ahead with the conversion from out wide, but could only watch on in agony as the ball hit the post. A fraught final few minutes followed - with Bayonne getting within five metres of the line and Robinson failing with a drop goal attempt - but the game ultimately ended in a dramatic draw.
Gloucester cemented their spot at the top of Pool 1 with a hard fought 29-22 victory over fellow Aviva Premiership side London Irish .
London Irish's Sailosi Tagicakibau got the scoreboard ticking over for the home side with a try after just two minutes but England's Freddie Burns, who made his Test debut against the All Blacks last weekend, pegged them back with a penalty minutes later. Ian Humphreys and Burns traded a further penalty apiece which meant the Exiles went into the break 10-6 to the good. And they extended their lead in the first ten minutes of the second 40 with Halani 'Aulika and Anthony Watson going over. But they did not score another point in the match with Burns inspiring a Gloucester fightback. He scored a try, slotted a further two penalties and two conversions - with prop Dan Murphy also scoring - to hand Gloucester the win.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Bath grabbed ten tries in their 67-11 rout of Italian side Calvisano at the Rec.
The Italians silenced the Bath crowd with the first score of the match through Tommaso Castello but the home side struck back with two before half-time through debutant Nick Koster and Dom Day to put them into a 15-8 lead at the break. And in the second-half they cranked up the gears and scored a further eight with Horacio Agulla bagging a double alongside further tries from Josh Ovens, Guy Mercer, Mark McMillan, Kane Palmer-Newport, David Attwood and a penalty try.
And in the other match in Bath's group, Bucuresti secured arguably the biggest result in their history when they beat Top 14 side Agen 25-22 on Saturday.
The Romanians scored first after just two minutes with Ionut Botezatu crashing over. But Agen drew the scores level before half-time with Opeti Fonua crossing for a try in the 39th minute. Bucuresti started the second 40 in spectacular fashion scoring two tries in 10 minutes with Catalin Fercu and Cristian Dinis scoring but again Agen fought back through Belisario Agulla and a penalty try. With the scores locked at 22 apiece, substitute Florin Vlaicu wrote himself into history with a late penalty to give the Romanians their win.
Elsewhere on Saturday, the Dragons eased past the threat of Mogliano and ran out 33-0 victors. The Welsh side played 50 minutes with 14 men following Jevon Groves' yellow card, but they still managed to score five tries with a double from Ieuan Jones and further tries from Andy Tuilagi, Will Harris and Tom Prydie bringing up their total.
Stade Francais were also in action and their second-string side survived a scare to beat Cavalieri Prato 37-23. The Italians bagged three tries with Edoardo Ruffolo, Michele Sepe and Niccolo Cannone all scoring but Stade crossed for five with Francis Fainifo grabbing a hat-trick and Jerome Fillol and a penalty try also contributing to their total.
On Friday, London Welsh suffered another Amlin Challenge Cup setback as they fell to a 20-9 defeat to Grenoble in France.
Two penalties from Alex Davies helped a much-changed Welsh outfit reach half-time level at 6-6, and another penalty early in the second half briefly nudged the visitors in front. But Grenoble, whose first half points had come from two Clement Darbo kicks, responded with a converted try by Vincent Campo, and Andrew Farley scored a second late try for the hosts to confirm victory. The result leaves London Welsh in third place in Pool 5 with just one win from three games. Grenoble top the group ahead of Stade Francais, who are due to play Cavalieri on Saturday.
On Thursday night, Andy Goode guided Worcester Warriors to a key 22-21 victory over Perpignan in dreadful conditions at Sixways. In a feisty contest that saw Welsh referee Neil Hennessy sin-bin four players - two from each side - group leaders Worcester prevailed ahead of visiting Pool Two rivals Perpignan on Saturday week. Former England fly-half Goode scored all the Warriors' points through a try, conversion and five penalties.
Perpignan gained a penalty try, a touchdown from scrum-half Florian Cazenave and 11 points from Wales international James Hook, but they were denied during a thrilling finale, even though their losing bonus point could yet prove crucial. Worcester were trailing the Top 14 giants 21-19 going into the final stages of the match but Goode struck a 78th minute penalty to put the Warriors a point in front. But Perpignan nearly stole the match at the death only for Hook's late drop-goal attempt to sail wide. The other match in the Pool saw Bizkaia Gernika down Rovigo 13-3 on Saturday. Blindside Jon Magunazelaia scored the only try of the match with Declan Cusack knocking over the rest of their points.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Mont-de-Marsan prevailed 20-13 in the all-French clash at Bordeaux. In a lively first-half Mont-de-Marsan scrum-half Arnaud Pic and winger Jordan Beaulavon both crossed while Bordeaux's Darly Domvo also got across but the away side went into the break 17-13 to the good. Alexandre Douvesy's penalty for Mont-de-Marsan proved to be the only score of the second-half and the away side held on for their first win in the Challenge Cup this term.
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