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Late tries help Wasps secure victory over Dragons in their Champions Cup opener

Willis on the run for Wasps (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Wasps finished their first outing in this year’s Heineken Champions Cup in style as late tries secured them a 24-8 bonus point win at Welsh region Dragons.


Tries from hooker Tom Cruse, scrum-half Dan Robson and flankers Jack Willis and Thomas Young along with two conversions from centre Jimmy Gopperth saw Wasps home.

The Dragons scored a nice try from wing Jonah Holmes plus a penalty from fly-half Sam Davies and were close until the late burst.

The game may not have gone ahead at all after two Dragons players had to be re-tested for Covid-19 on Friday and were discovered to be positive.

It caused a reshuffle of the Dragons squad with European Professional Clubs Rugby, the governing body of the Heineken Champions Cup, issuing a statement to say that Wasps had agreed to play if the Dragons removed six players from their team.

And it is understood all the Wasps players were asked before the match if they were happy for the game to go ahead. All said they were.

A statement from EPCR said: “EPCR were informed yesterday (Friday) that two members of the Dragons tournament squad and staff had tested positive for Covid-19.”


The Dragons squad returned negative tests earlier this week and it is understood that only players were involved in the re-testing as part of the Track and Trace system, and not staff, after the discovery was made on Thursday.

The EPCR statement said consultation then took place with their medical staff after the positive tests and “once all contact tracing evidence had been examined, it was agreed that the Pool A match could be played safely provided Dragons replaced six players in their matchday squad as a precautionary measure”.

With the match going ahead, the Dragons were down to 14 men just before the first quarter as wing Jared Rosser was yellow carded for a no-arms tackle inside his own 22.

The Dragons held out but skipper Rhodri Williams then committed himself to a tackle on Cruse, and the Wasps hooker went past the scrum-half and jogged to the line.


Davies booted a penalty but two dummy passes, from Wasps full-back Lima Sopoaga and wing Josh Bassett, produced acres of space for Robson to also run over the line, with Gopperth converting.

That left Wasps leading 12-3 at the interval, but the visitors then went down to 14 men after the break when Sopoaga was accused of a no-arms tackle on home full-back Josh Lewis and was sent to the bin.

And the Dragons took advantage of their extra man with a superb try which saw the backs spread the ball wide before veteran Welsh centre Jamie Roberts sent the ball inside for Holmes to score.

Davies had the chance to bring the Dragons within a point from a long-range penalty but it fell short.

And two tries in the last 10 minutes from Willis and Young, with Gopperth converting the latter, allowed Wasps to pull away and claim the bonus point victory.


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