Thursday 27 June 2019

'Leinster are going to take some beating in this competition again' - Young lavishes praise on champions

Gary Ringrose scores Leinster's first try against Wasps
Gary Ringrose scores Leinster's first try against Wasps

Andrew Baldock

Wasps rugby director Dai Young says Leinster will "take some beating again" as Leo Cullen's men saw off the English side to confirm a home quarter final against Ulster.

Title holders Leinster marched on to a home quarter-final against Ulster as Pool One winners, leaving Wasps reflecting on a fifth European loss this term as the Irish heavyweights toppled them 37-19.

Leinster progressed as third seeds behind Saracens and Racing 92, with the quarter-finals being completed by England's sole survivors Saracens hosting Glasgow, Edinburgh tackling Munster at Murrayfield and Racing 92 meeting Toulouse.

The ties take place across March 29-31.

First-half tries from centre Garry Ringrose and hooker Sean Cronin rewarded a dominant opening half by Leinster at the Ricoh Arena, and Wasps could find no way back from being 20-0 adrift.

"We never gave up, but in saying that, we want to be competitive in this competition," said Wasps rugby director Young.

"This season, we haven't been good enough - we can't hide from that fact.

"It was always going to be a tough group when you have got Toulouse, with the form they've been in this season, and Leinster.

"I don't think there was much between us and Bath, but it has been a tough season for us.

"We have got to take it on the chin and dust ourselves off. We have got to come back after a break next week energised for a big block of games.

"The spirit was there today and we started playing some quality stuff, but the game is about 80 minutes, not 40 minutes.

"We need to be better for 80 minutes. We can't give away silly penalties, but we gave some needless penalties away today.

"It is still hurting at the minute, but you have got to give Leinster credit. They are a fantastic team, and they are going to take some beating in this competition again."

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Fly-half Ross Byrne added two conversions and two penalties to effectively end the contest after 40 minutes, but Leinster, who beat Wasps 52-3 three months ago, were not finished.

Cronin claimed a second touchdown, then Noel Reid pounded for a bonus point-clinching try 10 minutes from time, with Byrne completing a hat-trick of conversions and Reid adding the extras to his score before booting a late penalty.

Wasps rallied from 20 points adrift to score second-half tries through number eight Nathan Hughes, who overcame an early ankle knock, scrum-half Dan Robson and replacement wing Marcus Watson, with Lima Sopoaga kicking two conversions, but the damage had long been done.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said: "We will look forward to the quarter-final. It is nice to be at home as well.

"It is a lot of reward for the work that has gone in from a lot of people.

"We played the game in the right areas today. We managed the game well.

"We were able to build some pressure, and we were able to turn some of that pressure into points. It's a reasonably simple formula.

"To have that 20-point lead at half-time was very pleasing."

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