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Wasps eyeing European lift

Wasps will aim to put dire domestic form on the back-burner when they resume European business on Saturday.

The Londoners head to Italy for an Amlin Challenge Cup Pool Three encounter against Rovigo knowing they remain in control of their destiny.

Bonus-point victories over Rovigo and against Adam Park visitors Bordeaux-Begles next weekend would guarantee quarter-final status for a club currently lying 11th in the Aviva Premiership with only relegation favourites Newcastle below them, and wing Tom Varndell said: "It is in our own hands - we are in the driving seat."

He added: "It means we need to try to get maximum points in both our matches. We cannot worry about what (second-placed) Bayonne are doing, we have to focus on what we have to do and simply concentrate on that job.

"We are in with two really good French sides, but we have got ourselves in a good position to push on.

"The incentive is certainly there for us to qualify for the quarter-finals and give our confidence a real boost in the process."

Sale Sharks will go into their Challenge Cup Pool Five encounter away to Spanish minnows La Vila on Saturday with the club's executive director of sport Steve Diamond preparing for a disciplinary hearing.

Diamond has been charged by the Rugby Football Union with two counts of verbally abusing match officials, and he will appear before RFU disciplinary chiefs in Stafford next Tuesday.

Diamond is alleged to have verbally abused referee Wayne Barnes and assistant referees Rhys Davies and Gareth Copsey at the end of last Sunday's Premiership game between Sale and London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.

Sale lost the match 21-19 after Barnes awarded the Exiles a late penalty for a Sale scrum offence that was kicked by Adrian Jarvis and edged the home side to victory.


From Belfast Telegraph