European Rugby Champions Cup: Wasps 32-17 Connacht

Kurtley Beale scores a try seven minutes into his Wasps debut against Connacht
Australia international Kurtley Beale agreed to join Wasps on 13 May, but suffered a serious knee injury less than a day later
European Champions Cup Pool Two
Wasps (13) 32
Tries: Beale, Hughes, Launchbury, Bassett Cons: Gopperth (3) Pens: Gopperth (2)
Connacht (10) 17
Tries: Marmion, Parata Cons: Carty (2) Pens: Carty

Kurtley Beale scored a try with his first touch before receiving a yellow card on his Wasps debut as his side beat Connacht in the European Champions Cup to go top of Pool Two.

Beale went over after seven minutes but was then punished for a high tackle.

Connacht were in the game up until Joe Launchbury scored the third of Wasps' four tries, Nathan Hughes and Josh Bassett also going over for the hosts.

Kieran Marmion and Rory Parata scored tries for Connacht.

However, Jack Carty missed two penalties as the Irish club were beaten in Europe for the first time this season.

Wasps, who started the day two points behind Pool Two leaders Connacht, are now three points ahead of them after the bonus-point win.

They have scored a total of 17 tries in their first three European games.

Beale shines on Wasps debut

Australia international Beale agreed to join Wasps on 13 May, but suffered a serious knee injury less than a day later which delayed his debut for his new club.

However, the 27-year-old made up for lost time as he produced an outstanding display in an incident-packed debut.

Wasps tweeted this after Kurtley Beale's first try for the club

He spun out of a collision with Stacey Ili before stretching over the line to score the game's first points before being shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Niyi Adeolokun.

Beale was also heavily involved in the build-up to tries from Launchbury and Bassett.

Spirited Connacht run out of steam

Connacht had beaten Toulouse and hammered Zebre in their opening two games in this season's competition.

Yet they failed to take the lead at any time in what was a physical and sometimes breathless game.

Marmion spotted a considerable gap around the forward fringes and sprinted clear to score an opportunist try before replacement Parata's touchdown after a clever interception.

Connacht's Kieran Marmion scores a try during his side's game with Wasps
Kieran Marmion scores the first of Connacht's two tries against Wasps

Wasps were tested defensively, while Connacht showed spirit to come back from 10-3 down to draw level before moving to within three points of the hosts after trailing 20-10.

Yet they could find no way back as Launchbury and Bassett went over in the final quarter to kill the game.


Former Scotland scrum-half Rory Lawson on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

What a way to introduce yourself to the fans of Wasps. Kurtley Beale will score many, many prettier tries than the one he scored today but he had a smile from ear to ear when he went over. As for his yellow card, I was amazed. There was no swing of an arm. It surprised me.

What's next in Pool Two?

All eyes will be on Galway next Saturday (17:30 GMT) as Connacht get a chance to avenge this defeat in the return game.

'Big fine if I said what I thought'

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young on Kurtley Beale being sin-binned for a high tackle: "I think there would be a big fine around the corner if I really said what I really thought.

"There were obstacles in the game, and the referee's interpretation was one we had to battle with."

On Beale's performance: "To go to the other side of the world to play rugby is difficult enough, but to arrive somewhere injured and having to work for six months [to recover] is really tough.

"It's testament to his strength of character that he has come through that."

Connacht director of rugby Pat Lam: "The main feeling we have is that we are pretty deflated because it was a missed opportunity. We really thought we had a good chance to upset them here.

"There were enough opportunities for us there to win the game, but we didn't make the most of them. We will just have to dust ourselves off."



Wasps: Miller, Wade, Leiua, Beale, Bassett, Gopperth, Robson, Mullan, Taylor, Moore, Launchbury (capt), Myall, Johnson, Young, Hughes.

Replacements: Macken for Leiua, 49, Rieder for Beale, 73, , Simpson for Robson , 61, Bristow for Mullan, 73, Cooper-Woolley for Moore, 54, Gaskell for Myall, 67, Halai for Johnson, 73, Thompson for Young, 67.

Sin Bin: Beale, 18.

Connacht: O'Halloran, Adeolokun, Ili, Aki, Kelleher, Carty, Marmion, Buckley, McCartney, Carey, Dillane, Roux, Fox-Matamua, Heenan, Muldoon.

Replacements: Parata for Ili, 38, Blade for Kelleher, 51, J Cooney for Buckley, 73, Heffernan for McCartney, 67, Bealham for Carey 45, O'Brien for Roux, 41, E. McKeon for Heenan, 45.

Referee: Alex Ruiz (France)

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