Match Page - Scoreboard
Match Page - Fixed Scoreboard
Match Centre - Preview - Current Standing A v B
Match Centre - Preview - H2H
Match Centre - Preview - Form Guide
Match Centre - Preview - Last Three Meetings
Season so far
Match Centre - Preview - Season So Far A v B
Match Centre - Preview - Tournament Record (Team A)
Match Centre - Preview - Tournament Record (Team B)
Wasps flanker Ashley Johnson says his team is in for a difficult test against winless Zebre in the European Rugby Champions Cup.
The two-time Champions Cup winners trail Pool 2 leaders Connacht by one point.
But the Irish province face a tricky trip to Toulouse and Wasps will aim to bag a bonus-point victory over the Italians, who have lost all five of their European ties.
Wasps might be overwhelming favourites, but Johnson wants them to focus on their final game at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Sunday and not Connacht’s result in France.
“We’re second in the pool so it’s out of our hands now,” he said.
“We just need to go there focused and knowing what we need to do. We’re under no illusions, we know it’s going to be tough.
“It’s their home ground so we need to go there and just worry about ourselves and the rest will take care of itself.
“It’s a massive game. There’s a lot of stuff we did well against Toulouse and also a lot of stuff we still need to work on to put in a good performance in Italy.
“Our defence in the last few weeks as a whole has taken a massive step up. We can take loads of positives out of that. Hopefully we can keep working on it.”
Dai Young’s men will be buoyed by their last-minute win against Toulouse last weekend.
And the Wasps’ director of rugby hopes the momentum from that dramatic victory will continue in Italy at the weekend.
“We need to go to Zebre and finish the job and then we’ll see where we are,” the Welshman said.
“We may have smiles on our faces if we manage to get those five points, but we'll need to see how all the other results go.
“The key is we have to do everything we can to put us in the best possible position.”
Match Centre - Preview - Lineups
This was supposed to be another easy run around for high-flying Wasps, but it turned out to be anything other than that before they finally secured their trip to Dublin to face Leinster in the quarter-finals.
Zebre gave their best performance of the season and led 13-3 midway through the first-half. It was a far cry from the 82-14 massacre they suffered in Round 1 when Wasps ran in 12 tries.
Three months on and the losing margin was reduced to 14 points and they cut the number of Wasps tries in half – and scored three themselves. Had they not lost two players to the sin-bin who knows how much closer they might have got to winning.
Italian outside half Carlo Canna kicked his side into an eighth minute lead and then converted a try four minutes later from international centre Mattia Bellini, who left Kurtley Beale for dead in the Wasps 22. Dany Cipriani got Wasps on the board with a penalty, but then Marcello Violi stepped up to kick a simple home penalty while his half-back partner, Canna, was changing his boots.
Then came the crucial moment for the visitors as Zebre hooker Oliviera Fabiani was sent to the bin for a no-arms tackle. Off the back of the scrum 15 metres out of the home posts, England No 8 picked up and his back row colleague Ashley Johnson bashed his way over for the first of his two tries.
Cipriani then ghosted his way over for a try which he also converted before England centre Elliot Daly raced to the left corner on the stroke of half-time. Cipriani converted off the touchline and at the break Wasps were leading 22-13.
No sooner had Zebre No 8 Derick Minnie picked up his yellow card in the 51st minute for swimming down the side of a ruck than Johnson grabbed the bonus-point try and there was clear daylight. Wasps went on to grab two more tries, a electrifying 30 sprint fro Christian Wade and short range crash over from Hughes, but Zebre hit back with two more of their own.
Canna and Bellini set-up full back Kurt Baker for a run-in to the posts and then replacement lock Federico Ruzza made it three tries in two games against Wasps this season with a close range lunge in the last move of the match.
LIVE - TEST - Commentary