Wasps boss Lee Blackett admitted to a gutting experience after seeing his team’s Heineken Champions Cup hopes ended in dramatic fashion by Clermont Auvergne. French heavyweights Clermont floored Wasps with the final play of a pulsating clash to win 27-25 at the Ricoh Arena.
Clermont captain Camille Lopez converted full-back Kotaro Matsushima’s try with the game’s last kick and Wasps’ hopes of reaching the quarter-finals were over. Wasps saw three tries ruled out as they suffered only a second European Cup home defeat against French opposition since 2001.
“As you can imagine, the way we lost, there are a lot of gutted guys in the changing room,” Wasps head coach Blackett said. “Sometimes in defeats, you can find positives. I thought we played well and I thought we were the best team on the field.
“I felt comfortable throughout and it’s gutting we didn’t get over the line. A lot comes down to confidence. Our last three defeats have been by one point (twice) and two points today, and we need to make sure we see those games out. I am going away today thinking it was back to our best, or close to our best.
“We will take the positives from that but we are out of the competition. I would like to think that today will propel us forward. It is a little bit frustrating, having three tries disallowed, but when things are not going your way, they are not going your way. We put ourselves in a position to win that game.”
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
Up until the crushing finale for Wasps, it had been the Paolo Odogwu show. He delivered an emphatic reminder of his ability to watching England boss Eddie Jones, scoring a try after just five minutes and narrowly missing out on a second one just before half-time.
On his first start since January 8 after being selected for England’s Guinness Six Nations squad, but not playing a minute of the campaign, Odogwu was outstanding. Odogwu’s fellow wing Josh Bassett also touched down, as did prop Ben Harris, while fly-half Jacob Umaga kicked two penalties and two conversions.
Scrum-half Sebastien Bezy and prop Peni Ravai scored Clermont’s tries before Matsushima struck, with Lopez booting 10 points and Tim Nanai-Williams converting Bezy’s touchdown. Wasps back-rower Brad Shields added: “It’s one of the toughest ones to take. On the bright side, we played a lot better and we are a lot closer to that team we want to be week in, week out.
“We are pretty disappointed not to get over the line. We will stay tight and keep our heads high. It is pretty gutting in the changing room, to say the least. There was a bit of silence as we regathered our thoughts.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 3, 2021
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