Tuesday 26 September 2017

Rugby briefs: Wasps sting Stade to grab Champions spot

Andrea Masi of Wasps attacks during the European Rugby Champions Cup Play-off match between Stade Francais Paris and London Wasps at Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris, France
Andrea Masi of Wasps attacks during the European Rugby Champions Cup Play-off match between Stade Francais Paris and London Wasps at Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris, France
James Haskell of Wasps looks to attack during the European Rugby Champions Cup Play-off match between Stade Francais Paris and London Wasps at Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris, France
Jules Plisson of Stade Francais kicks a penalty during the European Rugby Champions Cup Play-off match between Stade Francais Paris and London Wasps at Stade Jean-Bouin in Paris, France

Wasps have taken the 20th and final place among Europe's elite next season after seeing off Stade Français with a stirring 20-6 second leg win in Paris.

The Premiership side edged last week's first leg at Adams Park 30-29, but arrived at the Stade Jean-Bouin as underdogs to complete the line-up for next season's European Champions Cup.

However, Wasps did not lie down and let their intentions be known from the outset as Tom Varndell went over in the corner after six minutes.

James Haskell and Alexandre Flanquart were sent to the sin bin after Josh Simpson saw a try chalked off, but Andy Goode's kicking meant Wasps boasted a five point aggregate lead at the break.

Dai Young's side had another try scratched off in the second half after a knock-on in the build-up to Varndell crossing, but, with the hosts a man light after Antoine Burban saw yellow, Wasps soon stretched their lead as Guy Thompson completed a fine move.

Goode duly converted and hit a 40-metre penalty after replacement Michael Van Vuuren became the latest to go to the sin bin as Stade were impressively overcome.

Wasps started Thompson at No 8 in the French capital after Nathan Hughes returned to Fiji for his wedding, which was booked before he joined the London club last year.

JAPAN RAMPANT IN HONG KONG VICTORY

Japan qualified for the 2015 Rugby World Cup by thrashing Hong Kong 49-8 in Tokyo, claiming a seventh Asian Five Nations title in the process with their 28th consecutive bonus point win.

Japan's victory means they continue a proud record of appearing in every World Cup to date.

They will join South Africa, Samoa, Scotland and the United States in Pool B of the 20-team tournament that will be hosted by England next year.

Hong Kong can still join them despite the loss at the National Olympic Stadium after they finished second in the standings, providing they come through the four-team repechage. They will face Uruguay in the semi-finals and, if they win that, either Russia or an African team in the final for the last place in Pool A alongside the hosts, Wales, Australia and either Fiji or the Cook Islands.

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