Montpellier have one of the biggest packs in European club rugby, but their combined power was nothing compared to 20-year-old No.8 Alfie Barbeary, who six months after joining the senior Wasps squad scored two trials and played a central role in two others. .
The Wasps, who were under strength, struggled to contain Montpellier who played 74 minutes of the Champions Cup draw with 14 men, but with Will Porter proving a crafty assistant for Dan Robson, they had wit enough to exploit their best moments with the power and touching skill of Barbeary, who was called up to the England squad last month, proving the difference.
Only a few years ago England coach Eddie Jones was wondering when the next wave of rear rowers would arrive and now he has such reserves in the position where he is overwhelmed with options.
Barbeary had a doubt before the match with a calf strain but it was Montpellier who felt the tension.
“I was looking forward to playing with the international boys while resting and we can be proud of this bonus points victory,” he said. “It was huge for us with the start of the Premiership next week and we have to follow up on Sale and keep the performances going.
It was the only game of the evening to be played after Toulon earlier refused to take the pitch from Llanelli after a Scarlets player tested positive for Covid-19 and two others had to isolate themselves.
Organizers are trying to revamp the game, but three canceled over the weekend saw Toulouse, La Rochelle and Lyon take bonus points over Exeter, Bath and Glasgow respectively, while stressing that no blame was attached.
The Wasps opted to play the Dragons last weekend after the home side were forced to take six players off after testing and returned home with five points. They faced more formidable opposition in Montpellier from Philippe Saint-André, who included Saracens center Alex Lozowski, who started his career at Wasps but took the lead after six minutes when full-back Henry Immelman was kicked out for leading a challenge on Will. Carry with his shoulder and make contact with the head after the scrum half catches a kick.
The Wasps initially struggled with their power play. They became too loose and conceded penalties, which Benoît Paillaugue closely missed. They lacked focus until Barbeary took a revealing break halfway through, selling two models as he rushed into the 22. Moments later he was tackled a yard from the Montpellier line and was knocked down. picked up after the next tackle to enter and make their way.
Five minutes later, Barbeary sent off his 22 and the ball was picked up on the left by Josh Bassett. He slipped into the field and went 50 yards before Tom Cruse made his way to the midfield and delayed his pass to James Gaskell long enough to create a hole for the second row to gallop.
Montpellier was down but far from being out and tries either side of the interval by Lozowski, who grabbed the knock-on from Paolo Odogwu at the halfway point, and the replacement half-fly Yvan Reilhac after that Wasps was caught in narrow defense, put them in the lead.
Barbeary immediately dispelled any doubts on his side, preparing Odogwu with a one-handed pass after appearing in midfield after a lineout, then getting the bonus point after making three tackles.
He was sent to the sin-bin 15 minutes after playing the ball after a tackle, but Montpellier failed to take advantage of a series of penalties and Charlie Atkinson finished the game with Wasps’ fifth try as they were moving on top of the hen. .