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Wasps will be hoping to carry on their Heineken Champions Cup form in the Round of 16 as they take on TOP 14 side ASM Clermont Auvergne at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday afternoon.
A two-time winner of Europe’s premier club competition, Wasps enjoyed victories over Welsh region Dragons and French outfit Montpellier in the pool stage of the competition, finishing second in Pool A behind Leinster Rugby.
Clermont have showcased unrivalled attacking prowess so far in the 2020/21 competition. The three-time Heineken Champions Cup runners-up have notched 82 points in two pool stage fixtures – 51 in a victory over Gallagher Premiership leaders Bristol Bears and a 39-31 reverse at the hands of Munster Rugby.
The pair have shared a win apiece when the sides have met in European action, but those games took place during the 2007/08 season. The action begins at 12:30 local time on Saturday and is live on BT Sport, Channel 4 and Virgin Media in the United Kingdom, and beIN SPORTS in France.
Wasps: 2nd in Heineken Champions Cup Pool A (10 points)
ASM Clermont Auvergne: 5th Heineken Champions Cup Pool B (6 points)
Wasps wins: 1
ASM Clermont Auvergne wins: 1
Leading 2020/21 points-scorers
Wasps: Alfie Barbeary (10)
ASM Clermont Auvergne: Camille Lopez (25)
Less than two days to go 🤩
We've got eight exhilarating clashes across the #HeinekenChampionsCup Round of 16 this weekend 🔥
Which one will you be tuning into? pic.twitter.com/CIeJ9pXQc3
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) March 31, 2021
Franck Azéma (ASM Clermont Auvergne): “Wasps have a very British inspiration with a lot of challenges, physical intensity and big ball carriers that they rely on to destabilise opposing defences. Their position in the standings does not really reveal their level. They were not finalists in the Premiership for nothing.”
- Wasps and Clermont have met just twice before in the Heineken Champions Cup, a pair of pool stage matches in 2007/08 which were both won by the home side on the day.
- Wasps were one of five sides to claim a maximum 10 match points from their two pool stage matches in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, beating both Montpellier and Dragons with try-scoring bonus points.
- At home, Wasps have lost just one of their last 14 home games against TOP 14 opposition (W12, D1).
- Clermont lost to Munster back in Round 2 in December, they have not lost back-to-back matches in the Heineken Champions Cup since January 2016.
- Clermont have scored the most points (82) and joint most tries (11) in the Heineken Champions Cup this season.
- Wasps have won 15/15 scrums on their own feed in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, no side left in the competition has won as many whilst maintaining a 100% success rate.
- Clermont have missed the most tackles (47) and have the lowest tackle success rate (82%) of any side in the Heineken Champions Cup this season.
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Kotaro Matsushima was the ASM Clermont Auvergne hero as he scored an 82nd minute try to send the French side into the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals and deny Wasps in dramatic fashion.
In a match that look set to go the way of Wasps for most of the second half, scrum-half Camille Lopez kicked the winning conversion to send the three-time finalists into the last eight.
Paolo Odogwu grabbed the opening try for the hosts despite Clermont winning a scrum and clearing away but from the line-out, Michael Le Bourgeois ran over Fritz Lee before releasing Odogwu to sprint clear and down at the posts.
Matteo Minozzi then nearly had another for Wasps as he collected the high ball before beating one, two and three Clermont defenders, chipping over two more and grabbing possession again.
But as he looked sure to score, Kotaro Matsushima just nudged his arm and did enough to force Minozzi to knock on.
Shout out to whoever is charge of the line-out moves at @WaspsRugby 👏
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 3, 2021
Sebastien Bezy then levelled for Clermont after Damian Penaud worked the overlap, before taking the lead when George Moala beat two players and found Peni Ravai who had enough speed to get over and swivelled to dot down.
Wasps ended the first half with a flourish, with the set-piece coming good as Tommy Taylor broke off and linked with Dan Robson who popped inside to Josh Bassett to dive over.
Jacob Umaga then nudged Wasps six ahead with two penalties before the break, before Lopez hit back with one of his own just after the interval.
Heartbreak for Wasps as Clermont win it with the clock three minutes into the red!
Kotaro Matsushima with the cold-blooded finish, Camille Lopez nails the extras ❄️
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) April 3, 2021
Lopez grabbed another two penalties either side of a powerful Ben Harris try that looked to send Wasps into the last eight.
But in a dramatic late twist, Heineken Star of the Match Matsushima bounced off defenders, picked a gap and dived over to level the scores.
The nerveless Camille Lopez made no mistake from the kicking tee, splitting the uprights and sending Clermont into the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.