Willie le Roux’s heroics in vain as victorious Wasps miss out on Champions Cup

Wasps, inspired by former Springbok fullback Willie le Roux, got the bonus point win against Ulster but it wasn’t enough to make the Champions Cup last eight. Defending champions Saracens, through a thumping win against the Northampton Saints and several other results favouring their cause, qualified as one of the best runners up.

Toulon lost at the weekend but also qualified as one of the better losers. The three-time champions of Europe will travel to Ireland to play Munster.

Leinster, unbeaten in the Group Stages, qualified as top seed and will host Saracens in Dublin.

France, with four Top 14 teams, dominate the final eight composition, with Ireland (2), England (1) and Wales (1) completing quarter-finalists.

The French are also guaranteed at least one semi-finalist because Clermont host Racing 92. La Rochelle and Toulon would have to win away from home to make the semi-finals.

Wasps needed to beat Ulster with a try-scoring bonus point and hope Harlequins beat La Rochelle. Le Roux and Nizaam Carr were excellent for Wasps and Le Roux scored a try and created another as Wasps beat the rain, the difficult conditions and the fiery Irish outfit to win 26-7.

Harlequins couldn’t do their neighbours the biggest of favours and lost 16-7, which meant Wasps also lost out.

Saracens looked unlikely to qualify a month ago but produced an inspired last fortnight in the Group stages to keep alive their aspirations of matching Toulon’s three successive Champions Cup titles.

Sunday’s Champions Cup results

Leicester Tigers 20 Racing 23

La Rochelle 16 Harlequins 7

Wasps 26 Ulster Rugby 7

Munster 48 Castres 13

QF 1: Leinster Rugby v Saracens

QF 2: Scarlets v La Rochelle

QF 3: Munster Rugby v RC Toulon

QF 4: ASM Clermont Auvergne v Racing 92

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