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Ulster Rugby will aim to wrap up Pool 1 and secure a quarter-final berth in the European Rugby Champions Cup on Sunday as they travel to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena for a crunch clash with Wasps, live on BT Sport.
- Ulster Rugby come into Round 6 with a one-point lead over La Rochelle at the Pool 1 summit, while hosts Wasps are only five points off the pace themselves, but a bonus-point win for the Irish province would ensure a spot in the last eight draw.
- Wasps’ slender hopes of reaching the knockout stages rely upon victory over Ulster Rugby, although form does not appear to be on their side after surrendering a lead to be defeated by Aviva Premiership rivals Harlequins last weekend, as well as losing the reverse fixture against Ulster Rugby in Round 1.
- The last clash between these two clubs came in the opening game of the 2017/18 European Rugby Champions Cup back in October, when tries from winger Jacob Stockdale and centre Stuart McCloskey sealed a 19-9 victory.
- Ulster Rugby will be with out winger Craig Gilroy, who has been ruled out with a fractured cheekbone, but they do have the services of flying full-back Charles Piutau, who has made the most metres (502) in the Champions Cup to date; meanwhile Wasps are without the suspended James Haskell, but have defensive stalwart Joe Launchbury, who has been the third best tackler in Europe, with 77 to his name.
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Wasps ended Ulster Rugby’s hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the European Rugby Champions Cup in the pouring rain at the Ricoh Arena on Sunday with a bonus-point win.
- The English side were left ruing their late Round 5 collapse at Harlequins last week as they finished second in Pool 1 behind La Rochelle, but with only 17 points, the same as Ulster.
- Wasps had never lost at home to Irish opposition in the European Cup in nine games and they showed from the off that they had no intention of surrendering that record despite the dismal conditions.
- First-half tries from flanker Guy Thompson and hooker Tom Cruse – both converted by Danny Cipriani on his 50th European appearance – earned them a 14-7 interval lead, after Ulster flanker Sean Reidy had capitalised on a wayward Christian Wade pass to level matters at 7-7.
- Wasps then rammed home their superiority in the second half with further tries from full-back Willie Le Roux and prop Jake Cooper-Woolley, plus a further Cipriani conversion to run out comfortable winners.
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