Sunday, 17th September 2017 @ 15:00
Kick off 13:00
Kick off 15:00
Kick off 15:00
Kick off 15:00
Kick off 13:00
Harlequins produced a gritty performance on the road as they beat Wasps 21-24 at the Ricoh Arena.
An action packed first half saw Harlequins take the lead thanks to a Marland Yarde try, but the hosts struck back to go into the break ahead 13-11.
The second spell was a back and forth affair as both sides spent time in the lead but a Charlie Walker try, and 14 points from the boot of man of the match Marcus Smith, was enough for Harlequins to pick up a stunning victory on the road.
Harlequins arrived at the Ricoh Arena knowing Wasps had won their last 20 Premiership Rugby matches at the Ricoh Arena, comfortably their best home winning sequence ever in the competition. But Quins shocked them at The Stoop in their last meeting, in what was Nick Evans' final home match for the Club.
They got off to a good start in Coventry as 18-year old fly-half Marcus Smith kicked a penalty in the opening minutes to give them a 0-3 advantage.
The free-scoring Wasps side struck back quickly however, firstly through a Danny Cipriani penalty followed by a Christian Wade try in the 15th minute. The black and gold backline making good use of width in the early exchanges.
It was a intensely physical encounter throughout and before the opening quarter was up Referee Andrew Jackson reached to his pocket for the first of three yellow cards over the afternoon. Back row James Haskell given ten minutes in the sin bin after appearing to wrap his hands around Joe Marler’s throat in an off the ball incident.
Harlequins quickly capitalised on the man advantage. Firstly, through a second Smith penalty before Yarde’s try minutes later. The wing was in exceptional form throughout the encounter as his defence saved two certain scores either side of his own try.
Both sides continued to battle over the next 15 minutes as Wasps worked their way back in the match with a penalty before the break. While John Kingston’s side were down 11-13 they knew they were well and truly in the match as their grit and determination was on full display at the Ricoh Arena.
In the second half they again got off to a quick start and with four minutes played in the second spell Charlie Walker dashed over the line following some excellent build up play from Joe Marchant. His try meant that both he and Yarde had each scored in the opening three matches of this young season. It also gave them back the lead, 13-18.
Wasps began to pile on the phases, as well as the penalties, and it was only a matter of time before Quins’ exceptional defence was breached. With Kyle Sinckler shown a yellow card for a professional foul near the line, hooker Tom Cruse barged over. Cipriani missed the kick and the scored remained level.
The visitors kept their heads high, and as the match entered the final quarter they began to build some pressure but nothing that resulted in points. A chance one end was called back for a knock-on before Wasps retook their lead at the other end of the pitch with 65 minutes played.
It was Walker who would produce some magic to put Quins back on top. Navigating some tight space on the wing he chipped his defender and won his side a scrum five metres out. Some desperate defence led to Cipriani being shown a yellow card for an intentional knock down from the resulting phase, and Smith kept his composure to level the scores at 21-21.
A draw was not enough for this Quins side who wanted to come away with all four points and a Jack Clifford break in midfield led to the winning penalty right in front of the sticks. Again Smith stepped up and drilled the kick right down the middle as Quins took the lead 21-24.
With eight minutes to play Wasps threw everything at the Londoners but Quins held on and forced a knock-on with two minutes to play. Deep in their own half they played out the final minutes with calmness and control and sealed the stunning 21-24 victory over their rivals.
The win moved them up to fifth on the table level on points with Saracens (3rd) and Newcastle Falcons (4th). They now have a six day break to prepare for an exciting showdown against Leicester Tigers at The Stoop next Saturday 23rd September (kick-off 15:00), tickets for that match are available now and can be purchased by clicking here.