The first half of Saturday’s European Champions Cup quarter-final at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium saw Wasps caught like rabbits in the headlights of Leinster’s express locomotive, before being struck 32-17.
It is relatively inexplicable how a location can do so much to favour or work against a team, but credence must be given to the role that Ireland’s home ground played only a fortnight after England’s Grand Slam aspirations were extinguished on the same pitch.
Leinster’s Ireland contingent would have drawn confidence from their recent experience while the likes of Joe Launchbury, Elliot Daly, James Haskell and Nathan Hughes returned to the scene of severe disappointment.
With Wasps finding themselves on the receiving end of an unrelenting opening barrage, the men from Leinster ensured that any hopes of an English club creating a memory worthy of scrap-book inclusion were snuffed out.
There was a sense that it was not going to be Wasps’ day, a sense that the men in black and gold unfortunately seemed to have bought into relatively early in proceedings.
A number of champagne players including Danny Cipriani resembled a sickly prosecco, justifying their non-inclusion in the national squad and similarly their likely omission from a tour with the British and Irish Lions this summer.
Wasps’ best performers were those with no meaningful negative associations between place and past performance.
Kurtley Beale was phenomenal, and for all of the Wallabies’ trips to Ireland, Australian Beale has only been involved once, and in only a bench-warming capacity at that.
Hooker Tommy Taylor, who travelled as a reserve with England, tackled admirably and toiled with vigour while Jimmy Gopperth, who himself used to wear the colours of Leinster, executed a fine individual try, reaching behind his head to dot down from the unorthodox inverted turtle position.
The arena will face a stern test later this month when Saracens take on Munster in the Champions Cup semi-final.
For now, Dublin’s Aviva continues to commendably serve its purpose for both province and country in being the bogiest of grounds for its Anglo-Saxon visitors.