Connacht lost the first game of their Champions Cup campaign at the hands of Premiership high fliers Wasps in the Ricoh Arena this afternoon.

It was a fast-paced game of rugby played in front of a lively crowd in Coventry. On his Champions Cup debut, Kurtley Beale crossed for the home side with Jimmy Gopperth converting. But the Australian centre was sin binned for a high tackle after 17 minutes. Pat Lam’s men made the most of the one-man advantage with Kieran Marmion sniping off the back of an attacking scrum to dive over the line. Having kicked an earlier conversion, Jack Carty converted to level the score 10 – 10.

Gopperth nudged his side into the a 13 just before the break.

Wasps came out flying in the second half and registered a quick score three minutes in with number 8 Nathan Hughes crashing over. But just a minute later, replacement centre Rory Parata, on his Champions Cup debut, intercepted a Wasps pass to run in a score of his own. Carty tapped over the conversion to bring it back to a three-point game.

Connacht were hit with a raft of back line injuries with scrum half Caolin Blade forced to fill in at fullback. Wasps piled on the pressure and got their rewards after 62 minutes with their captain Joe Launchbury crashing over and Gopperth converting. The win was wrapped up after 72 minutes with the fourth and bonus point try scored in the corner by wing Josh Bassett.

With just six days to the return fixture in Galway, Lam’s men will be determined to build on today’s good work and register a home win to keep qualification hopes alive.

Half Time 13-10

Full time: 32 – 17

Man of the Match: Kurtley Beale

Referee Alexandre Ruiz (France)
Touch Judge 1 Cedric Marchat (France)
Touch Judge 2 Cedric Clave (France)
TMO Philippe Bonhoure (France)
Citing Commissioner John Montgomery (Scotland)

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