Ex-Wasps out-half Andy Goode has explained his upset at seeing his former club nudged out of the Heineken Champions Cup at the round of 16 stage by Clermont, a team which Jim Hamilton, his Rugby Pod co-host, still feels don’t look like they have shaken off the chokers tag they have been synonymous with over the years in Europe.
Wasps appeared set to progress to a quarter-final meeting versus Toulouse after an out-of-sorts Clermont struggled in the knockout stage match at the Ricoh Arena.
Lee Blackett’s side came into the fixture on the back of a poor Gallagher Premiership run but they lifted their efforts and were only denied by an added time converted try which Goode insisted shouldn’t have been awarded.
The ex-England out-half claimed there was a forward pass in the build-up to the decisive 84th-minute try by Kotaro Matsushima that was converted by Camille Lopez for the 27-25 result. However, while Clermont may have advanced on this occasion to the next round, ex-Saracens lock Hamilton doesn’t believe they will be crowned champions in May as their old failings are still evident. Here is how the duo’s Wasps-Clermont Champions Cup review unfolded on the latest episode of The Rugby Pod:
JIM HAMILTON: To be fair they [Wasps] did almost beat one of the best teams in terms of Clermont. I don’t want to be horrible, but they [Wasps] put in a good shift.
Heartbreak for Wasps as Clermont win it with the clock three minutes into the red!
Kotaro Matsushima with the cold-blooded finish, Camille Lopez nails the extras ??
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 3, 2021
ANDY GOODE: They did and Clermont, I was a bit nervous about Clermont putting a decent whack on Wasps this weekend but it shows how little we know about rugby sometimes because Wasps should have won it and you look back over the game and there were a few talking points. (Matteo) Minozzi would have scored a worldie of a try if he had just held it close to his chest instead of putting it down, that would have put them 14-0 up.
And then Wasps’ discipline has been a running theme throughout the year really. Their discipline towards the back end of the game, they gave away two stupid penalties when they were five points up with about two minutes to play. They were in Clermont’s half as well, just no need for it. They had been eager defensively throughout the game.
Listen, Clermont had threats all over the park and they defended for the most part exceptionally well, played with an intensity that has been lacking in other games. But the big thing for me and the annoying thing – and I love Frank Murphy, played with him at Leicester and he is a really good referee – and I question why Wasps didn’t make a bigger scene of it, the try that Matsushima scored was the winning try, one phase before Morgan Parra has passed it three yards forward to Fritz Lee. It was so forward.
JH: It was flat.
AG: Mate, it was definitely forward but it didn’t get checked, Maybe the Wasps boys were completely out on their feet, maybe no one realised it was a forward pass, I was just disappointed that didn’t get checked. But Wasps, they have just lost with a clutch kick from Camille Lopez and a lot of people think he looks like me a little bit, a slightly overweight fly-half that is either sometimes really bad or sometimes okay.
JH: I don’t think he will be happy with that, I don’t think he will see that as a compliment.
AG: He slots the kick to win it and it’s just heart-breaking for Wasps. Clermont are a powerhouse but again, as we have seen many times and Jim you have been of those Saracens teams that dusted Clermont when perhaps people would have thought they would be a lot better, they have got the big choke in them and I thought this was going to be their choke so maybe this is their year.
I don’t think it is but they had a big choke in them. It was like Clermont rocked up expecting they would just walk the game because Wasps weren’t in great form but they snuck over the line at the end even though it was a forward pass from Morgan Para to Fritz Lee about three yards forward. Frank Murphy, why didn’t you check it?
JH: Because it was flat. The thing about Clermont and listening to Benjamin Kayser and having played against Clermont as well, when I realised how much they struggle mentally with the Champions Cup or the Challenge Cup is when they won the Challenge Cup a couple of years ago and the celebrations around winning the Challenge Cup, I don’t want to be horrible to the Challenge Cup but I am thinking from a Clermont perspective, they are a team you think should win Europe and you could see, I think Kayser was crying, he was speaking after the game and the emotion around it and it shows that there is clearly a mental block with Clermont.
— The Rugby Pod (@TheRugbyPod) April 6, 2021
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