Wasps, Munster nick top spots off rivals

SARugbymag.co.za looks back at the English Premiership, French Top 14 and Celtic Pro12 matches played this weekend.

Wasps were second on the log coming into the final round of the regular season, but sealed a 35-15 bonus-point win against Saracens to pip the Exeter Chiefs at the top of the Premiership table.

The hosts dominated from the outset with their lethal backline, which includes the likes of Elliot Daly, Christian Wade, Willie le Roux and Kurtley Beale, causing Sarries’ defence all sorts of trouble. Saracens scored the first try of the game, but a double by Thomas Young, son of coach Dai Young, put Wasps 16-10 up at the interval.

With Saracens wing Sean Maitland serving 10 minutes in the sin-bin for obstruction, Wade scored Wasps’ third try and in the process equaled the record for most Premiership tries in the season, which sits at 17. The speedster now has a real chance to break the record with a try in the playoffs.

Sarries would get their second try, but Daly’s try secured the bonus point for Wasps before Young completed his hat-trick to round off the victory.

In other Premiership results, the Exeter Chiefs downed Gloucester 34-20 to seal second position and thus a home semi-final berth. The Leicester Tigers edged the Worcester Warriors 28-23 to sneak into the top four and complete the semi-final lineup.

Meanwhile, the Newcastle Falcons beat Bristol 39-27, the Northampton Saints pipped Harlequins 22-20 and the Sale Sharks defeated Bath 27-24.

In the French Top 14, Racing beat Bordeaux 22-20, courtesy of a late try by Dan Carter, to snatch the last available top-six playoff spot. But their fate is not yet secured, because of the controversy surrounding the game between Montpellier and Stade Français, which the former won 27-26. Montpellier fielded an ineligible player, prompting Stade to lodge a complaint. If successful, Stade will receive five log points, which will put them ahead of Racing on the log.

Elsewhere, Brive beat Castres 33-27, table-toppers La Rochelle slumped to a 30-26 defeat against their nearest rivals Clermont, Toulon ousted Pau 32-12, Toulouse thrashed Bayonne 40-12 and Grenoble demolished Lyon 53-21.

In the Celtic Pro12, Rassie Erasmus’ Munster secured top spot with a seven-try 50-14 win against Connacht at Thomond Park. Ulster denied Leinster a top-of-the-table finish with a 17-13 victory in their clash. The result served as an emotional, but fitting, send-off for Ulster legend Ruan Pienaar, who played his last game at Kingspan Stadium.

The Scarlets overpowered the Ospreys 40-17, but the result had no impact on the log as both sides complete the top four, earning them away semi-final fixtures against Leinster and Munster.

In the only other two games, Edinburgh dispatched the Glasgow Warriors 29-18 and Treviso downed their Italian rivals Zebre 19-3.


Wasps vs Leicester Tigers
Exeter Chiefs vs Saracens


Qualifier play-offs:
Montpellier vs Racing 92
Toulon vs Castres

La Rochelle vs TBC
Clermont vs TBC


Munster vs Ospreys
Leinster vs Scarlets

Photo: Wasps

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