Harlequins sting Wasps in Stoop thriller

Saturday, 20th September 2014 @ 19:41



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Harlequins closed out yet another narrow match against Wasps in an impressive performance to bounce back from the disappointment of Saracens.

Two tries in the early stages of the second half swung the momentum in favour of Harlequins who came back from a 9-13 half time deficit.

As is becoming a regular occurrence when these two sides meet, it went down to the wire. Tries from Tom Varndell and Thomas Young in the closing stages of the match brought the score to within three points, but Harlequins held on for the 26-23 victory.

Wasps, who fielded an impressively strong side buoyed by the victory against Northampton Saints, took the first points during a niggly period of play where both sides weighed each other up.

Varndell went on an arching run dodging a number of tackles. The winger offloaded to Elliot Daly who danced with the touchline to break the defence.  The assistant referee ruled that he had remained in play and his offload to Guy Thompson allowed the back row to score.

Harlequins responded with two Ben Botica penalties in quick succession. The first occurred as a result of a Danny Care snipe and the second, from a thunderous run down the left touchline from debutant Aseli Tikoirotuma.

Botica, who had kicked magnificently throughout the match was unlucky when the same referee assistant ruled that his kick had bounced on the line and straight into touch. From Wasps’ gifted possession, Goode extended the lead with an impressive long range penalty on the half hour.

In the final ten minutes, Goode and Botica exchanged kicks giving Wasps a narrow 9-13 lead at the break.


An energised Harlequins emerged for the second half and a break from George Robson and Marland Yarde down the left wing allowed Harlequins to work possession inside the Wasps 22. 


With a penalty advantage in favour of Harlequins, Care put in a neat chip over the Wasps defence five metres out. Christian Wade fumbled the ball over the line and Robshaw pounced to score; Botica’s conversion gave Harlequins a 16-13 lead.


The lead was further extended again with Botica at the heart of the build-up. Harlequins worked play in the Wasps half. Botica spotted space behind the Wasps defence and chipped over the line.

Breaking clear through the line, he was tripped by Kearnan Myall. Referee JP Doyle consulted the TMO and despite the second-row hiding behind the post protector, he was sent to the sin bin for ten minutes and awarded Harlequins a penalty try. Botica’s conversion extended the lead to  23-13.

Harlequins were in total control at this point. Robshaw was unlucky that a grubber kick of his went dead, but after gathering the resulting 22 drop out, and with a penalty advantage Care stole a drop goal to complete the Harlequins scoring.

As is always the way fixtures against Wasps, it had its late drama. Varndell scored a fortuitous try for the visitors when Botica fumbled posession in his 22. Joe Simpson spotted a miss match on the left hand side and offloading to Varndell, the winger scored. Goode missed the conversion just before the hour.

With the match closing, Charlie Matthews was shown yellow for a deliberate knock-on in the Wasps 22. Kicking to touch, the Wasps rolling maul was too strong and Young put the ball down with three minutes remaining. Goode’s conversion missed and Harlequins had a three point lead.

Robshaw stole possession in a Wasps lineout with 30 seconds left. This allowed Harlequins to run down the clock and hold on for the win.

Harlequins return to The Stoop to play Premiership newcomers London Welsh in two weeks’ time after a trip to Exeter next Sunday.

Team line Ups

League Table 2014-15

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