ERCC: Wasps v La Rochelle Preview

The London Wasps will be looking to make home ground advantage count when they take on La Rochelle on Sunday the 17th of December.

Following their fantastic 49 – 29 home win against the same opposition on the weekend, Pool 1-leaders La Rochelle will look for a similar display when they again lock horns with the London Wasps this Sunday. The latter, sitting two-points adrift of Ulster in third, will seriously need to start stringing together some reasonable results if they are to make it to the knockouts; starting this week at the Ricoh Arena.

London Wasps v La Rochelle | Sunday 17 December | Ricoh Arena | 15:00

To Win (80 Mins)
Wasps 72/100 | Draw 20/1 | La Rochelle 23/20

London Wasps

Despite managing to take a four-try bonus-point away from the Stade Marcel Deflandre on the weekend, Dai Young’s Wasps face an enormous task if they are still to qualify for this season’s last eight. Their latest loss means they now find themselves a whopping nine-points behind this weekend’s opponents, and go into Round-4 with everything on the line. Another loss, coupled with an Ulster win, would just about put pay to their European campaign before it even got off the ground.

As ever, their attacking intent was clear for all to see last weekend, and this self-same strategy may just get them over the line this Sunday, despite the rainy conditions expected. Young will need his flyhalf lieutenant, Danny Cipriani, to deliver a much-improved showing if they are to get maximum points out of this one. The former England international was guilty of putting his side under unnecessary pressure when a rather silly kick of his was charged down immediately after the Wasps had scored the opener. Cipriani owes it to his teammates to produce the goods this weekend; he has the talent after all.

La Rochelle

Allister Coetzee could take a lesson or two from Les Corsaires; not least in the way the club from the West of France vary their attacking play. Theirs seems to be one of the most well-rounded arsenals in European rugby, exhibiting everything from sweet passing and deft cross-kicks in the backs, to raw brutish power up front. You name it, La Rochelle have it.

The French side, who currently also sit top of the pile in the Top 14, are all but guaranteed a place in the quarter-finals and it remains to be seen whether dual coaches Patrice Collazo and Xavier Garbajosa will name their strongest available team for their trip to London; especially with some tricky domestic fixtures on the horizon. The players that are given the nod this week will have a huge bearing on the standard La Rochelle produce, but they may come unstuck either way against a hurting Wasps outfit playing at home.

Verdict: Wasps 72/100
The Wasps have their backs against the wall and desperately need a win here to improve their chances of progressing beyond the group stage. Their desperation will see them claim victory over the phenomenal La Rochelle… but it’s going to be tight.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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