Wasps stay alive in Europe with Castres victory

Wasps earned a 17-32 bonus point victory over Castres Olympique at Stade Pierre Antoine to keep their chances of a quarter-final place alive.

Two time Heineken Cup winners roared back into contention for the European Cup title by outscoring Castres by four tries to two.

Castres are struggling this season and has won just four matches and are bottom of the Top 14 table just two years after being crowned French champions.

Victory takes Wasps onto seven points, a point behind table-topping Pool 2 duo Harlequins and three-time champions Leinster, who play each other later.

Castres, who last reached the knockout stages in 2002 when they were beaten by Munster in the semi-finals, are rooted to the bottom with just one point after three games.

Wasps got off to a dream start as fullback Rob Miller touched down in the fourth minute running onto an excellent grubber kick by Tom Varndell –Andy Goode converted for 7-0.

Castres hit back almost immediately as hooker Mathieu Bonnello went over after the ball was worked out wide to the left and Rory Kockott converted for 7-7.

Ashley Johnson’s quick hands set up Wasps Kiwi No8 Nathan Hughes for another try in a breathless few minutes as he brushed off three tackles to go over in the far right hand corner to make it 12-7 after 14 minutes.

Kockott missed the chance to close the gap as he hit the bar with one penalty attempt and then dragged another wide — Goode by contrast slotted one over to extend the English side’s lead to 15-7.

The home team, though, were right back in it when centre Remi Lamerat touched down six minutes from half-time — Kockott converted for 15-14.

Castres took the lead for the first time in the match 14 minutes from time as fullback Julien Dumora converted a superb penalty from wide out on the right to go 17-15 up.

However, Wasps regained the lead thanks to another penalty from Goode and the video referee all but assured the English club of victory with 10 minutes remaining.

Instead of awarding a try to Varndell, when he went over in the corner, the official decided that Sitiveni Sivivatu had gone high in the tackle and told referee George Clancy to award a penalty try and give the former All Black a yellow card.

Goode converted for 25-17 while the Castres coach spread his arms in disbelief and stared up at the TV official.

Wasps poured on the misery for the French team adding another try through Sailosi Tagicakibau which Goode converted.

Final Score Castres Olympique 17 (14) Wasps 32 (15)

Scorers

Castres Olympique
Tries – Bonello, Lamerat
Pen -Dumora
Con – Kockott 2
Drop –

Wasps
Tries – Miller, Hughes, penalty, Tagicakibau
Pen – Goode 2
Con – Goode 3
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee
: George Clancy (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Mark Patton (Ireland),
Assistant ref: Barrie O’Connell (Ireland),
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland),
Citing commissioner :Eddie Walsh (Ireland)

Castres Olympique: Julien Dumora; Sitiveni Sivivatu, Thomas Combezou, Remi Lamerat, Remi Grosso; Daniel Kirkpatrick, Rory Kockott; Saimone Taumoepeau, Mathieu Bonello, Yohan Montes, Piula Faasalele, Benjamin Desroche, Ibrahim Diarra, Yannick Caballero (c), Johnnie Beattie

Replacements: Marc-Antoine Rallier, Florian Houerie, Ramiro Herrera, Victor Moreaux, Mathieu Babillot, Romain Martial, Max Evans, Cedric Garcia

Wasps: Rob Miller; Sailosi Tagicakibau, Ben Jacobs, Alapati Leiua, Tom Varndell; Andy Goode, Charlie Davies; Matt Mullan, Edd Shervington, Lorenzo Cittadini, Bradley Davies, Kearnan Myall, Ashley Johnson, James Haskell (c), Nathan Hughes

Replacements: Tom Lindsay, Simon McIntyre, Jake Cooper-Woolley, James Gaskell, Guy Thompson, Tom Bliss, Alex Lozowski, Andrea Masi

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