Wasps: Toulon quarter-final will be an 'occasion', says Dai Young

Loose forward Nathan Hughes dives over to claim Wasps' second try against Leinster at the Ricoh Arena
Dai Young's Wasps still trailed Leinster by 14 points going into the final quarter at the Ricoh Arena

Wasps boss Dai Young is "over the moon" to have led his team to the last eight of Europe's main club competition for the first time in eight years.

Wasps were kept waiting before finding out that their total of 18 points from pool two was enough to earn one of the three best runners-up spots from the five Champions Cup qualifying groups.

But they now know that they will travel to Toulon in early April.

"It's a fantastic European occasion to live long in the memory," said Young.

European Champions Cup draw
Wasps' European Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulon will be played at the Stade Félix Mayol on the weekend of 2/3/4/5 April.
The semi-final draw has already been made and, if Wasps win in Toulon, they could then face Leinster again. The winners of the Toulon-Wasps tie have been drawn at home to the winners of the Leinster-Bath quarter-final (to be played on the weekend of 18/19 April).

"We are all over the moon to have reached the knock-out stages. And it doesn't come any bigger or better than Toulon in the south of France for a place in the European semi-finals."

Toulon were French champions in 2014, winning the Top 14, as well as defending the Heineken Cup title they won for the first time the year before.

This season they lie third in the Top 14, having qualified for the Champions Cup quarter-finals as winners of pool three, losing just one of their six group games, at Leicester.

"We now have the ultimate test in club rugby ahead of us," said Young. "A knock-out game against the defending champions in their own back yard.

"They are a side of galacticos and you want to test yourself against the very best. Along with our loyal supporters, we're all incredibly excited.

Toulon's tons of top talent
Toulon lost the services of Jonny Wilkinson when he retired at the end of last season, but they still have a star-studded squad, containing Wales and Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny, South African wing Bryan Habana, Italian prop Martin Castrogiovanni, South African lock Bakkies Botha, All Black lock Ali Williams, Australian full-back Drew Mitchell, Argentines Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe and Juan Martín Hernández, England's Armitage brothers and several French internationals, most notably centre Mathieu Bastareaud.

"This is a significant milestone for the club - our first quarter-final in Europe's top tier since 2007. It is a reflection of how far this young squad has come in the last couple of years and I am thrilled for them.

"I am really proud of the players who made it happen through their second-half fightback against Leinster. The Wasps fans played a huge part by really getting behind the players when their backs were against the wall.

"We knew the door was still ajar, but qualification was out of our hands and we needed to rely on other results to go our way.

"Most attention was on Clermont v Saracens and I'm not sure many people would have predicted we would have gone through courtesy of Montpellier beating Toulouse but, happy days, we're in."

Meanwhile, Wasps, fourth in the Premiership, turn their attentions to another knockout competition this Sunday when they Cardiff Blues at the Ricoh Arena, in the third round of the LV= Cup.

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