Hanks admits to mixed emotions
January 23, 2011
Richard Haughton stretches the Toulouse defence © Getty Images
Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks admitted that Sunday's dramatic late victory over Toulouse was followed by a frustrating sense of what might have been.
David Lemi's last-gasp try sealed a 21-16 win against the defending European champions - but Wasps knew before kick-off their Heineken Cup challenge was over. Wasps had left themselves only the faintest chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals after losing at Glasgow last weekend.
The Scarlets' defeat at Perpignan earlier in the day confirmed Wasps will have to be content with an Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final against Harlequins.
"There are mixed emotions in the changing room," he said. "The guys can look at themselves in the mirror and be very proud of their performance. Everyone was really hurting this week. The first couple of days were horrible but we fronted up well.
"But there will be plenty of times in the next few months, especially when we are watching the Heineken Cup quarter-finals, when we will think about what could have been. We have to move on. We are in the Amlin Challenge Cup and we play our local rivals."
Toulouse played the last 32 minutes with 14 men after centre Florian Fritz was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Tom Varndell. If it was a debatable decision from referee Alain Rolland, Fritz's gesture as he left the field is sure to be investigated by the authorities.
Wasps led 13-7 at half-time after Richard Haughton cancelled out Yannick Jauzion's brilliant opening try. Toulouse were already assured of a quarter-final place but needed a victory to progress as top seeds and they fought back to draw level at 16-16 with three penalties from David Skrela.
But with less than a minute remaining, Lemi raced to clear and beat Nicolas Vergallo to the touch-down as Wasps snatched the victory.
"Today we showed the true Wasps fighting spirit," coach Shaun Edwards said. "We made a big thing before the game of the fact that Toulouse had never beaten Wasps in England and that was a real point of pride going into the game."
Toulouse knew a victory with two tries would ensure they progressed to the Heineken Cup quarter-finals as top seeds. Instead they will now face an away tie at Biarritz followed by the prospect of a semi-final at either Leinster or Leicester.
"It was a disappointing finish today," No.8 Shaun Sowerby said. "We now have a tough game away to Biarritz and probably an even tougher one if we make it to the semi-final."
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