Wasps see off 14-man Montpellier to top Champions Cup pool

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Alfie Barbeary in action for Wasps.
Alfie Barbeary in action for Wasps.
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wasps moved top of European Champions Cup Pool A on Friday after a hard-fought 33-14 win over Montpellier put the English side in a strong position to qualify for next year's quarter-finals.

Two tries from Alfie Barbeary helped Wasps to their bonus point victory at the Ricoh Arena, which came against a Montpellier side who were on the back foot from the seventh minute when Henry Immelman was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Wasps' scrum-half Will Porter.

Wasps have 10 points from their first two games, while Top 14 side Montpellier are bottom of the 12-team pool after their second straight loss and can kiss goodbye their chances of making the last eight draw.

A point behind Wasps are La Rochelle, who were one of three French sides - alongside Pool B teams Lyon and Toulouse - to be handed a 28-0 win for their matches this weekend after they were cancelled because of Covid-19 cases in their opponents' squads.

Leinster can join Wasps on 10 points when they host Northampton on Saturday.

After both sides missed early penalty attempts Wasps took the lead in the 23rd minute when Barbeary crashed over the line following fine play on the left flank from Tom Cruse which took the hosts close to the line.

They then went 12-0 ahead when Montpellier fluffed possession near the Wasps' line and the ball eventually found James Gaskell, who ran through unopposed for a try which was converted by Jimmy Gopperth.

With the British side looking like they were going to run away with the match, Montpellier's Alex Lozowski scored against his old team when he intercepted a pass and raced through for a try.

That try was converted to take the two sides to 12-7 at the break.

Montpellier took a shock lead shortly after the break when Yvan Reilhac's try was converted to make it 14-12, but in the 50th minute Paolo Odogwu's converted try restored Wasps' five-point lead.

Barbeary gave Wasps breathing space and a bonus point with his second try of the game just after the hour mark, when he powered over under the stick to allow Gopperth to easily convert.

Charlie Atkinson added a fifth try with seconds remaining and then converted it himself to make the win a heavier one than a spirited Montpellier side deserved.

Wasps' win was the only match of the night after Toulon pulled out of their match against Scarlets, scheduled for Friday, because coronavirus "sanitary conditions were not met".

The French club made the decision despite organisers being "satisfied" it was safe to play the game, and the match was postponed by organisers EPCR.

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