1. ITV Report

Ulster crash out of Champions Cup after Wasps defeat

Ulster's John Cooney dejected after the game on Sunday. Credit: INPHO
  • Wasps 26 - 7 Ulster

Ulster’s hopes of reaching a first European Champions Cup quarter final in four years came to a crashing end at the Ricoh Arena as they were comprehensively beaten by Wasps.

Les Kiss side started the day knowing any kind of win would guarantee a place in the last eight but Ulster were outplayed in every facet of the game as the set piece malfunctioned and Wasps bossed the battle of the breakdown.

Wasps had an outside chance of reaching the last eight and got the bonus point victory they needed and stopped Ulster picking up any match points but it wasn’t enough for the English Premiership side.

Wasps outscored Ulster by four tries to one to finish second in Pool One behind La Rochelle while Ulster who started the day in pole position dropped to third.

Wasps took the lead after 11 minutes, they kicked a penalty to touch and set up a driving maul but Ulster stopped it illegally, the home side went to the corner again, lock James Gaskell took the lineout and the forwards powered over with flanker Guy Thompson touching down at the back of the maul with Danny Cipriani adding the conversion.

Ulster struck back on 24 minutes as Wasps gifted flanker Sean Reidy a try.

Ulster's Sean Reidy scores a try. Credit: INPHO

John Cooney put up a high clearing box kick, Wasps full back Willie Le Roux fielded the ball but give a poor pass, winger Christian Wade retrieved it and went on a cross pitch run but he threw an intercept to Louie Ludik, the Ulster winger carried into the 22 before offloading to Darren Cave, the centre fed Reidy and he used the wet conditions to slide over with Cooney converting.

Wasps regained the lead on 32 minutes with a try from hooker Tom Cruse.

From a lineout Wasps moved the ball across the pitch, Wade made a break but Ludik stopped him with a great tackle, the English side went from east to west again with winger Marcus Watson going close, the ball came back inside, centre Juan De Jongh had a probing run before Le Roux put a chip kick in behind the Ulster defence and Cruse beat Cave to touch down and Cipriani converted off the post from a wide angle to give the home side a 14-7 half time lead.

Wasps struck again six minutes after the restart, Ulster had a defensive five metre scrum, Nick Timoney tried to carry off the base but was turned over, lock Joe Launchbury went close, the ball was quickly recycled and with an overlap Cipriani threw a long looping pass for Le Roux to slide in unopposed for an unconverted try.

Prop Jake Cooper-Woolley got Wasps bonus point try on 56 minutes.

The forwards patiently worked the ball through a number of phases in the Ulster 22, Launchbury had a big carried which created space before Cooper-Woolley smashed through some weak tackling to stretch out and touch down with Cipriani converting.

Wasps enjoyed sustained period of pressure in the Ulster 22 but poor handling meant they couldn’t add to their try tally.

Ulster failed to score in a rare sortie into the Wasps 22, from a lineout the ball worked the ball through a number of phases before flanker Chris Henry dropped the ball.

Wasps nearly rounded off the victory in the final minute when Le Roux led a counter attack from his own half, the South African full back released former Leinster centre Brendan Macken and he carried to the 22 but Rob Lyttle was able to tackle him into touch.

Rory Best after the game. Credit: INPHO