RUGBY: Ulster join also rans in Europe after disappointing show against Wasps

Ulster captain Rory Best and his team mates looking dejected after Wasps score a second try
Ulster captain Rory Best and his team mates looking dejected after Wasps score a second try


This defeat at Ricoh Arena saw Ulster go from potential European Champions Cup quarter-finalists to also rans as they surrendered top spot in Pool One and second place to the Aviva Premiership side.

Sean Reidy goes over for Ulster's try against Wasps

Sean Reidy goes over for Ulster's try against Wasps

Wasps controlled the game for the most, Ulster unable to exert any threat with possession as the Premiership side delivered on their part of the deal and collected a try scoring bonus point to give them a slender hope of make the knockout stages. They failed to - not having enough points to displace rivals Saracens as one of the best runners-up across the five pools.

Ulster had shown some early encouraging sides going forward with the ball and putting some pressue on the hosts.

But on 11 minutes Wasps took the lead. From a lineout and driving maul and openside Guy Thompson got over for the try. Outhalf Danny Cipriani converted for a 7-0 lead.

Ulster suffered a further setback on 17 minutes when international winger, Jacob Stockdale, was forced out of the action with a dead leg. He was replaced by Rob Lyttle, who got hinmself into the fray from the off.

Lyttle had put pressure on Willie Le Roux, whose forced pass to Christian Wade saw him throw the ball to Ulster/s Louis Ludik. The winger made some ground before giving to Darren Cave and he popped it up to openside Sean Reidy and he slid in for the try.

Ulster scrumhalf John Cooney levelled the scores with the conversion on 23 minutes.

Wasps took control of the game after that and went in front on 30 minutes when Le Roux's lovely chip over the defence bounced kindly for hooker, Tom Cruise to gather and touchdown. Cipriani converted and it was 14-7 - Ulster now staring exit from the competition.

Tto compound things further, the influential Louis Ludik, in defence particularly, was taken off for an HIA, and John McPhillips' replacement was later confirmed as permanent.

Wasps continued on top in the second half, the underfoot conditions deteriorating rapidly, and a third try for the Aviva Premiership side came on 46 minutes. They turned ball over and a miss pass from Kyle Eastmond to Le Roux saw the fullback go in at the corner for an unconverted try and a lead of 19-7.

A fourth and bonus point securing try on 55 minutes saw Wasps go above Ulster in Pool One, Jake Cooper-Woolley going over from close range after the home side had worked themselves into a decent position under the Ulster posts. Cipriani's third conversion from four made it 26-7.

There was to be no dream finale for departing outhalf Chritian Leali'ifano - he returns to the Brumbies after his loan deal for the first half of the season - had to exit eight minutes from time, Dave Shanahan coming on at scrumhalf with Cooney moving to outhalf.

Ulster finished with a flurry pressing the home line, but a knock-on from replacement Chris Henry took the steam out of it. The referee had played advantage, and Ulster turned ball over again, to start another flurry - only for Henry to knock-on again - summing up the afternoon for the squad.

Wasps: Willie Le Roux; Christian Wade, Juan De Jongh, Kyle Eastmond, Marcus Watson; Danny Cipriani, Dan Robson; Simon McIntyre, Tom Cruse, Jake Cooper-Woolley, Joe Launchbury (c), James Gaskell, Jack Willis, Guy Thompson, Nizaam Carr
Replacements: Ashley Johnson, Ben Harris, Marty Moore, Kearnan Myall (, Thomas Young (Willis 54(, Joe Simpson, Rob Miller (Watson 57), Brendan Macken (Eastmond 66).

Ulster Rugby: Charles Piutau; Louis Ludik, Darren Cave, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale; Christian Lealiifano, John Cooney; Kyle McCall, Rory Best (c), Rodney Ah You, Alan O'Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Iain Henderson, Sean Reidy, Nick Timoney
Replacements: Rob Herring (Best 57), Andy Warwick (McCall 54), Wiehahn Herbst (Ah You 48), Matt Rea, Chris Henry (Timoney 65), David Shanahan (Leali'ifano 72), Johnny McPhillips (Ludik 32), Rob Lyttle (Stockdale 17)