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Wasps snatch a draw at Toulouse after late Nathan Hughes try

Published 23/10/2016

Wasps' Jimmy Gopperth converted Nathan Hughes' late try to secure a 20-20 draw
Wasps' Jimmy Gopperth converted Nathan Hughes' late try to secure a 20-20 draw

Nathan Hughes scored a dramatic last-gasp try with less than two minutes remaining as Wasps picked up a deserved 20-20 draw at European Champions Cup Pool Two opponents Toulouse.

The Premiership side have never won a European match at Stade Ernest Wallon and Jimmy Gopperth held his nerve to convert number eight Hughes' score and ensure Wasps came away with something this time round.

Wasps had to fight their way back into a game most of the watching crowd were convinced was long over and after their pack had survived the sternest of examinations to keep the scores level at half-time.

An early maul seemed destined for the tryline after scrum-half Sebastian Bezy scragged opposite number Dan Robson at the back of a Wasps' scrum deep inside visitor territory. The scrum was brought down illegally, but the French side's scrum-half missed the penalty.

As the pitch shredded under their feet, Toulouse's forwards posed problem after problem for the visitors, but were unable to make their firepower count.

Despite barely putting a hand on the ball in the opening exchanges, it was Wasps who opened the scoring in the 19th minute - Gopperth landing a penalty after their forwards had somehow stolen the ball from another mighty Toulouse maul.

Toulouse may not be the European force they once were, but the four-time champions responded instantly. Another maul rumbled towards the line, Wasps were penalised and this time Bezy made no mistake.

After the kickers had exchanged two more penalties and, as the clock ticked past 40 minutes, Wasps were penalised at scrum after scrum, five metres from their own line.

Toulouse chose to pack down again and again. But the visitors held firm, just, thanks to a combination of guts, bloody-mindedness and referee George Clancy. Boos rang out as he called a halt to first-half proceedings after Toulouse had won another scrum deep into added time.

Census Johnston came on as a replacement in a bid to ram home Toulouse's power advantage at the start of the second half.

The prop made his presence felt almost instantly, scoring the opening try after wave after wave of Toulouse pressure wore down Wasps' defence over the opening 10 minutes of the second period.

The score was 13-6, tight enough to make for a nervous final 25 minutes - but Toulouse fans were convinced the match was won. A Mexican wave, known as the Ola in France, started doing the rounds.

But Wasps had other ideas. Suddenly, their backs started to put width on the ball, as Connacht had done against Toulouse a week earlier, and the gaps started opening.

Gopperth thought he had sent replacement Guy Thompson through, but the latter knocked on with the tryline beckoning.

The visitors would not be denied. Their backs again stretched the tiring Toulouse defence, and Josh Bassett raced to the corner. Gopperth slotted the conversion to level the scores after 63 minutes.

Seven minutes later, however, it looked all over as Gael Fickou ghosted through a gap in the Wasps defence at the end of another determined Toulouse move. Bezy converted to make the score 20-13, and the hosts' defence looked solid as the minutes ticked down.

But Hughes rampaged down the wing in the dying moments, and Gopperth coolly landed a second conversion from out wide to level the scores.

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