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Joe Launchbury excited about Leinster challenge

Captain Joe Launchbury says Wasps will relish the challenge of facing Leinster when the two sides meet in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.

Dai Young's side were 41-27 winners over Zebre on Sunday, a result which saw them finish top of Pool 2 and set up a trip to Dublin.

Two tries from Ashley Johnson and further scores from Danny Cipriani, Elliot Daly, Christian Wade and Nathan Hughes sealed the win in Parma and sent Wasps through to the last eight.

"We are obviously delighted to get through to the knockout stages," said England lock Launchbury. "It's the third year in a row for us now so we're ecstatic to get through. Some parts today weren't good enough, but we're delighted with the five points and the win.

"When you get through to this stage of Europe there are no easy games and we understand the challenge ahead. We went to Leinster in the group stages last year so we're really excited about that."

Wasps had started slowly against Zebre and went 13-0 down after a try from Mattia Bellini had given the Italians a surprise lead.

But with the home side losing Oliviero Fabiani and Derick Minnie to yellow cards in either half, Young's team came roaring back.

Johnson's first, plus efforts from Cipriani and man of the match Daly, put them back ahead by half-time and allowed Wasps to stamp their mark on the game in the second half.

Johnson added his second and Wade's scintillating finish, plus a late score from Hughes, completed the job.

Zebre more than played their part, with fly-half Carlo Canna impressing, but second-half tries from Kurt Baker and Federico Ruzza could not change the final outcome.

"We did what we said we wouldn't do in terms of exiting well. We didn't get out of our half and try and play territory," Launchbury said of his team's slow start.

"We did the opposite and lost a few line-outs but it was pleasing that we steadied ourselves. We had a rough 10 to 15 minutes, but we got our way back into the game. We knew if we got some ball we'd cause them problems and thankfully we did that.

"We always want to get better. We're on a journey, but it's one we haven't been on for very long.

"We're a newly formed side in terms of where we're trying to get to but this is another step towards where we want to be."


From Belfast Telegraph