WASPS defied the odds to shock reigning European champions Toulouse with a 30-22 victory despite losing Jacob Umaga to a first half red card at the CBS Arena.
The Coventry club overcame their huge injury list and Umaga’s dismissal with tries from Biyi Alo, Brad Shields and Alfie Barbeary and 15 points from Jimmy Gopperth.
And despite Umaga being shown his second red card in as many matches on 33 minutes for a high tackle, Wasps showed terrific spirit to come away with a crucial victory.
The result means Wasps are now eighth in in the European Rugby Champions Cup Pool B as they try and cling on to the final qualifying spot for the round of 16.
However, Toulouse made a blistering start and scored the game’s opening try in the first minute through Francois Cros from the back of the maul with Thomas Ramos converting from the touchline.
Wasps drew level with a try of their own on 18 minutes when Alo bundled over from close range as Gopperth’s kick brought the game all square.
And the home side then took the lead with a second converted try on 22 minutes when captain Shields dotted down following a powerful driving maul.
Lee Blackett’s side were dealt a huge blow when leading 14-7 after Umaga was dismissed for a high shot on Martin Page-Relo with referee Chris Busby finding no mitigation.
A Ramos penalty reduced Wasps’ lead to four points at the interval only for a pair of Gopperth penalties after the break to put the home side 10 points ahead at the 50-minute mark.
That came after Anthony Jelonch had been sin binned for the visitors for a high tackle on Barbeary before Toulouse’s Peter Mauvaka crashed over on the hour mark to make it a five-point game.
But Wasps found another gear as Barbeary forced his way over on the short side on 67 minutes with Gopperth’s conversion extending Wasps lead to 12 points.
Veteran back Gopperth added one final penalty at the death before Toulouse scored a converted try with the final play of the match through Paulo Tafili.
That score proved merely a consolation as Wasps claimed a much-deserved win to keep their European campaign alive.
Wasps are next in action away at Munster on Sunday, January 23 with kick-off at 3.15pm at Thomond Park.
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