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Le Roux error proves costly as Leinster march into last four

By Alex Fisher
Wasps’ Willie Le Roux loses control of the ball

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Leinster booked their place in the European Champions Cup semi-finals with a 32-17 victory over Wasps – who were left to rue a first-half mistake from Wille Le Roux.

Three first-half tries proved decisive for the Pro12 leaders in Dublin with Joey Carbery influential throughout with assists for Isa Nacewa and Jack Conan.

The boot of Jonathan Sexton helped kick Leinster well clear of their opponents but it could have all been very different had Le Roux not lost control of the ball as he dived over the line in the 24th minute.

It was one of many errors to blight Wasps’ performance, meaning even second-half tries from Christian Wade and Jimmy Gopperth could not spark a revival from the side who sit top of the Premiership.

Fergus McFadden ensured Leinster’s win with six minutes remaining and they will travel to France for their last-four encounter against either Clermont Auvergne or Toulon, while Wasps’ focus will turn back to domestic success.

In front of an expectant Aviva Stadium crowd Leinster quickly assumed control of proceedings against an uncharacteristically sloppy Wasps side.

After Sexton had kicked the game’s first points it was only a matter of time before Leinster added to their lead, and it came following a superb pass from Carbery that allowed Nacewa to touch down on the overlap – his seventh try of the competition.

Wasps had looked flustered under the early pressure but a sensational break from Kurtley Beale should have settled them down.

The Australian scythed through the midfield and cut across to time a pass to the supporting Le Roux, who raced to the line only for the TMO to rule he dropped the ball as he swan-dived over the line.

Leinster quickly punished that mistake as Carbery created their second try for Conan after Gopperth had kicked Wasps’ first points. 

And with half-time approaching Robbie Henshaw added a third after Dan Leavy had overturned possession – Sexton adding the extras to give the hosts a 22-3 lead at the break.

There was little difference in the opening exchanges of the second 40 as mistakes continued to creep into Wasps’ display, Sexton adding another three points in the 49th minute after Nathan Hughes had been penalised for being offside.

Finally there was a reason for Wasps cheer as the visitors grabbed their first try of the match, Wade showing his electrifying speed to outpace two defenders to collect his own chip forward.

Former Leinster man Gopperth gave Wasps late hope with a superb score having danced through the hosts’ defence, the fly-half reducing their deficit to eight points with the resulting conversion.

But the Irish side were not to be denied as McFadden bundled over the line late on to ensure their another European semi-final appearance for the three-time champions.



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