European Champions Cup: Wasps 21-3 La Rochelle

Elliot Daly
Elliot Daly scored a try in each half before being forced off with an ankle injury
European Rugby Champions Cup
Wasps (7) 21
Tries: Daly 2, Cruse Cons: Daly 2, Cipriani
La Rochelle (0) 3
Pen: James

England wing Elliot Daly scored twice as Wasps kept alive their Champions Cup hopes with a 21-3 victory over La Rochelle at the Ricoh Arena.

The hosts had all the early possession and Daly finished well before adding a touchline conversion but Wasps could not extend their lead before the break.

Daly scored another out wide before Brock James' penalty saw La Rochelle post their only points of the game.

Tom Cruse then crashed over but Wasps could not find the bonus-point try.

Wasps, who ended La Rochelle's unbeaten start to the competition in their debut season, remain third in their pool, but are three points behind Ulster in second.

Following last weekend's 49-29 thrashing in France, Wasps began the day seven points behind second-placed Ulster and nine off leaders La Rochelle.

Dai Young's side came close to scoring the four tries they needed for a five-point win, as they produced a commanding performance to reduce the gap before the final two pool games.

The Coventry-based side face a trip to bottom club Harlequins before hosting Ulster. With La Rochelle having to travel to Ulster in the next round of fixtures, there are three teams still in contention in the pool.

Daly impresses for Wasps

Wasps needed a fast start on Sunday and they had all the early possession on a sodden pitch.

Despite losing centre and goal-kicker Jimmy Gopperth to a knee injury in the first 10 minutes, the hosts took the lead when Daly forced his way over out wide after Nathan Hughes' quick tap, before adding a touchline conversion for a deserved lead.

Wasps had 60% possession in the first half but could not extend their advantage and La Rochelle, who looked out of sorts in the wet weather, built up some momentum before the break.

But Daly went over once again in the second half after a perfectly-timed pass from full-back Willie le Roux, before slotting another superb conversion.

After Anthony Watson's two tries for Bath against Toulon on Saturday, Daly's impressive display was the second by an England back in two days - and was well-timed, with national head coach Eddie Jones watching from the stand.

Tom Cruse
Replacement hooker Tom Cruse dotted down after a strong drive from Wasps' forward pack

La Rochelle had taken maximum points from their previous three pool games, scoring 15 tries in the process, and despite not being at their best on Sunday, the French outfit still caused Wasps trouble in the final quarter.

Replacement hooker Pierre Bourgarit set off down the right-hand touchline and looked certain to score before Le Roux, who missed the game in France because of illness, put in a last-ditch tackle.

Wasps captain Joe Launchbury then came up with a crucial turnover on his own five-metre line as La Rochelle built up a head of steam.

It was the home side who added a third try through replacement hooker Cruse from a line-out drive but they were unable to find the vital fourth score in the final five minutes despite a fantastic break from Joe Simpson.

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young: "If we can win our two games we have a chance of squeaking through as we have given ourselves a fighting chance.

"We possibly missed out on a bonus point today as we controlled the match but not the scoreboard and didn't turn our pressure into points, especially in the first half.

"Elliot has an ankle injury but he's walking about and hopefully it won't be too bad - Jimmy's injury appears to be a bit more serious as he has a tweak on the knee and will need a scan."

La Rochelle director of rugby Patrice Collazo: "We started badly and had no control or game plan as they were faster and stronger.

"We couldn't get any confidence but improved a bit in the second half - but we still learnt a lesson."

Champions Cup Pool One
TeamPWDLFABonusPts
La Rochelle430112794315
Ulster430110579113
Wasps420210081210
Harlequins40046614422

Wasps: Le Roux; Wade, De Jongh, Gopperth, Daly; Cipriani, Robson; McIntyre, Johnson, Moore, Launchbury, Gaskell, Haskell, Young, Hughes.

Replacements: Cruse, Harris, Cooper-Woolley, Myall, Carr, Simpson, Eastmond, Lovobalavu.

La Rochelle: Murimurivalu; Lacroix, Jordaan, Doumayrou, Ranger; Lamb, Bales; Priso, Forbes, Atonio, Sazy, Jolmes, Kieft, Amosa, Gourdon.

Replacements: Bourgarit, Pelo, Boughanmi, Lamboley, Vito, Goillot, James, Boudehent.

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