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Wasps sign off in style


Tom Varndell, right, scores his second try of the game for Wasps against Castres

Tom Varndell, right, scores his second try of the game for Wasps against Castres

Tom Varndell, right, scores his second try of the game for Wasps against Castres

Wasps brought down the curtain on their 12-year tenancy at Adams Park with a bonus-point 44-17 victory over Castres that preserves their hopes of qualifying for the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

The Coventry-bound club, who play their first match at the Ricoh Arena against London Irish next Sunday, had all five points sown up by half-time following tries from Jake Cooper-Woolley, Nathan Hughes, Tom Varndell and Ben Jacobs.

Castres, last season's Top 14 runners-up but now propping up the league, conceded further touch downs to Varndell, Guy Thompson and Jacobs after the interval.

Wasps remain third in Pool Two but are only one point adrift of leaders Harlequins with matches against their Aviva Premiership rivals and second-place Leinster to come next month.

Victory was a fitting farewell to Adams Park, home throughout the most successful period in the club's history with eight trophies - including four Premiership and two European titles - lifted while at High Wycombe.

It was an afternoon to forget for Andy Goode, however, after the fly-half landed only two of his seven shots at goal to leave 11 points out on the pitch.

Goode's goalkicking was wayward from the start, but on this day it made little difference as Wasps breached the whitewash with ease.

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The first try came just four minutes in after wing Sailosi Tagicakibau had cleverly left the ball in play as he was bundled into touch.

Tighthead Cooper-Woolley arrived to take the pass from scrum-half Charlie Davies and he crashed over with the TMO confirming the try.

Feeble tackling waved Wasps in for their second in the 24th minute with a marginally forward pass from James Haskell to man of the match Hughes starting the move 25 metres out from the line.

There was still plenty of work for Hughes to do, but he was assisted by weak resistance from Castres and his power did the rest.

Hooker Marc-Antoine Rallier drove over from close range to nudge the French visitors off the mark, but Wasps reclaimed the initiative by running in their third try through Varndell shortly after.

Haskell made yards through the middle before Kearnan Myall and Rob Miller combined in midfield with the lock running a clever line to offer Varndell a simple finish.

The all-important fourth try was delivered a minute before the interval, Wasps winning a scrum against the head and Jacobs pouncing on the ball when it came loose to glide home under the posts.

Castres dominated the start of the second half and were rewarded when the strength of Max Evans enabled them to cross for a second time.

But the fightback was short-lived as Andrea Masi punched a hole in midfield and offloaded to Jacobs who sent Varndell racing over for his second.

A chasm between the teams opened when Thompson finished off a line-out catch and drive with Alex Lozowski converting, before Florian Houerie and Jacobs exchanged late tries.