Alfie Barbeary completed a famous Wasps victory over European champions Toulouse by scoring the decisive second-half try and sending a timely reminder of his budding talent to Eddie Jones. Wasps played over half the game with 14 men after Jacob Umaga’s red card in the 34th minute, but produced a remarkably resilient performance.
If Wasps felt aggrieved by Umaga’s red card, they channeled their anger to hugely impressive effect with Barbeary again on the song. He’s suffered a series of torrid injuries since arriving on the scene, but Jones names his Six Nations squad on Tuesday and on that evidence it would be surprising if the 21-year-old wasn’t included.
Barbeary was not the only one to shine for Wasps, however. Jimmy Gopperth delivered another performance of quiet authority and supreme kicking, James Gaskell, Charlie Atkinson and Biyi Alo all showed up well. Perhaps the biggest shame of this decision was that during his time on the pitch, Umaga was inspired. Joining the line from the back, his kicking variety kept defenders guessing and he was defensively tough to boot.
There seemed to be a mitigation as Martin Page Relo was tackled by Atkinson and went down, but ultimately referee Chris Busby ruled Umaga deserved a second red card in successive matches.
Ramos kicked Toulouse within four points but Wasps weathered the storm until the interval and produced a second-half performance for the ages.
It was an inauspicious start for Wasps, who entered the game with gusto after ending Leicester’s winning run last Sunday, but found themselves a try after 70 seconds when Francois Cros collapsed at the end. wearing. But the procession of champions never materialized.
Instead, the Wasps established a foot and then the ascendant. They were tied when Alo passed from close range, then in front when Brad Shields got the try after a driving maul.
Wasps lost Tom Wills to injury in the 25th minute but continued to lead the fight to Toulouse before Umaga’s red card.
A penalty from Gopperth, after Toulouse breached the scrum, however, cut Wasps’ lead to seven early in the second half – with the home side refusing to be intimidated by their numerical disadvantage.
Barbeary had been, by his standards, silent, but one of his trademark pushes through the middle brought three more points for Gopperth and a yellow card for Toulouse No.8 Anthony Jelonch. There were certainly parallels to Umaga’s tackle – Jelonch got high on Barbeary after Page Relo initially tackled Wasps’ back rower.
Toulouse fought back to within five points with hooker, Peato Mauvaka, finishing off the back of a maul, but when they threatened again Barbeary was on hand for a crucial turnaround and a familiar celebration for to start up.
Shortly after, he worked his way into the right corner after Atkinson squandered a golden opportunity with Ali Crossdale outside of him, and moments later Barbeary’s interception and the ensuing forward kick nearly knocked Bassett down.
A late penalty from Gopperth sealed the victory and ensured that even though Toulouse struck with a last-minute try by Emmanuel Meafou, they missed a losing bonus point.