IT was late and it was close but Edinburgh came from behind with two penalties from Jaco van der Walt in the final minutes to snatch a win that puts them in a strong position to qualify for the Heineken Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

They sit a point behind Bordeaux, where they travel for their next game in the tournament, but with three wins and a draw from four games are pretty much guaranteed to finish in the top two in their pool. With whipping boys Agen at home in the final match even second place would almost certainly see them getting knockout rugby.

They had gambled on this game, resting players ahead of next week’s 1872 Cup derby, and just about got away with it, as assistant coach Duncan Hodge accepted.

“We made a lot of changes and they are big physical side so we knew it would probably go deep,” he said. “We just didn’t have any ball in the first half so we couldn’t actually impose ourselves on them. We ended up defending and defending.

“In the second half we got some ball and managed to create some pressure. We had chances but didn’t quite manage to score a try – [but] we managed to get there in the end so we’re delighted.

“We had a quality bench; we knew we would need that in the last 20 minutes to half-an-hour. I thought they made a real good impact, all of them, that was great to see; it’s great for the squad as well. We’ve played a lot of players over the last two weeks, so from that point of view it’s great.”

It was a complete contrast to the previous game at BT Murrayfield, a 31-20 win for Edinburgh, with mistakes dominating and neither side able to get any fluency. Perhaps that accounted for the nervy, edgy first half, which saw Edinburgh doing a lot more defending than attacking, mainly because they struggled to hold on to the ball for long enough to mount any sustained pressure on the Wasps line.

It meant that though James Johnstone and Darcy Graham produced the only breaks of the period, the only score of the first half-hour was a penalty for Edinburgh fly-half Simon Hickey, who had mis-hit his first shot at goal after his non-kicking foot slipped.

The Scots defence, though, looked up to the job with Wasps trying to spread the ball wide but finding little joy until half time was in sight.

Suddenly, after looking so secure for so long, the Edinburgh players spread too wide at a ruck, allowing Wasps scrum-half Will Porter to slip round the side of a ruck and find Nizaam Carr on his shoulder to take the off-load and

amble in from 20 metres out.

With Lima Sopoaga adding the conversion, that was enough to make sure the English side went into the break with their noses in front.

They were happy it stayed that way when Jamie Farndale made a spectacular dive for the line to ground the ball one-handed only to be called back for a foot in touch seconds after the restart.

That turned out to be the tale of the second half, despite the injection of Edinburgh replacements, with a number of Scotland internationals, including World Cup skipper Stuart McInally, among the cavalry.

They brought extra pace and intensity but though they started to get the breaks, they could not complete the try-scoring job against a dogged home defence that scrambled brilliantly.

In the end, they had to change tactics so after kicking a number of penalties to the corner in search of tries, they started to harvest the points with Van der Walt, who had come on for Hickey, bringing his side in range eight minutes from time and then completing the comeback two minutes from the end.

“That 15 minutes before that, we’d been on their goal-line but couldn’t quite score,” Hodge said. “We were thinking bonus points might be important, so wanted to come away with something. We got the penalty

and backed ourselves to get back up and score again.”

Scorers, Wasps - Try: Carr. Con: Sopoaga

Edinburgh - Pens: Hickey, van der Walt 2.

Wasps: M Minozzi; M Watson, M Fekitoa, J Gopperth, J Bassett (sin bin: 68-78); L Sopoaga, W Porter (S Wolstenholme, 68); B Harris (T West, 55), T Taylor (G Oghre, 59), J Toomaga-Allen (B Alo, 59), T Cardall (T Vukasinovic, 68), C Matthews, A Johnson, T Young (C) (B Morris, 64), N Carr.

Edinburgh: D Hoyland: D Graham, J Johnstone, G Taylor (M Bennett, 56), J Farndale; S Hickey (J van der Walt, 61), N Groom (C); R Sutherland (J Bhatti, 53), M Willemse (S McInally, 53), WP Nel (S Berghan, 41), S Thomson (B Toolis, 53), L Carmichael, J Ritchie, H Watson (M Bradbury, 63), V Mata.

Referee: M Raynal (France)

Attendance: 7,146