Saturday, 21st December 2019 @ 15:00
Harlequins came from 17-0 down to overcome Wasps 22-28 in the Gallagher Premiership.
Wasps took the lead, in front of a busy Ricoh Arena, through the boot of Jacob Umaga from the penalty after six minutes to give the home side a 3-0 lead.
On the 12th minute, they capitalised on a spell of pressure to drive over the line, with flanker Jack Willis managing to ground the ball despite the Quins resistance. Umaga added the two from the conversion and Wasps took an early 10-0 lead.
A few minutes later, Wasps thought they had added to their lead, but Umaga’s missed penalty kept the difference to 10 points.
Just before the 20-minute mark, reduced to 14 men through an injury to James Lang, Wasps took advantage and winger Zach Kibirige crossed the line in open space. Umaga’s conversion took Wasps to 17-0.
Tom Lawday produced a thundering, try-saving tackle almost immediately from the restart, knocking the Wasps wide man out of touch. However, the play was brought back for a Wasps forward pass, and giving Quins some much needed attacking momentum with the scrum just inside the Wasps half.
A beautiful inside offload from Marcus Smith, set off Cadan Murley, who was clipped by a defender but managed to get the ball to former Wasps centre Michele Campagnaro, who gained ground and gave the ball to James Chisholm who stormed over the line for Quins’ opening score of the match. Marcus Smith’s conversion brought the score to 17-7 with 17 minutes remaining of the first half.
With only four minutes left on the clock before the break, a pacey Quins attack saw Kyle Sinckler find a gap in the Wasps back line as the prop scored his first try of the season. Smith’s conversion saw Quins reduce the deficit to only three points, 17-14 going into half time.
The first 10 minutes of the second half were largely played in the middle of the park, with both sides defending well, before Quins took the lead for the first time in the game. From the scrum, Quins broke through with Stephan Lewies setting up Marcus Smith down the far side, with the fly half setting up his own successful conversion to give Quins a 17-21 lead.
Quins had the advantage following the try, winning successive penalties and putting Wasps on the back foot, despite the heavens opening and the rain falling. And the visitors capitalised on the pressure, with hooker Elia Elia continuing his try scoring form and extending the lead. Marcus Smith added the two and Quins had a 17-28 lead after 60 minutes.
The next 10 minutes saw Wasps trying to get back into the game, with Quins on the receiving end of some relentless attacking pressure from the hosts. And on the 70th minute, the score was brought closer after Wasps crossed the line from a driving maul and flanker Thomas Young touched down. Umaga’s missed kick kept Quins six points ahead with less than 10 minutes to go and the score 22-28.
Wasps held the momentum in the final five minutes, with Quins reduced to 14 men after Joe Marler was sent to the bin and an attacking lineout five metres from the Quins line, for the home side. A few phases later, Wasps crossed the line and referee Wayne Barnes consulted his assistants, calling for help from the TMO Geoff Warren. However, no try was awarded and with three minutes remaining, Wasps had the lineout deep in Quins’ half.
Elia Elia magically came away from the maul with the ball, relieving the pressure before Danny Care’s box kick took the ball into the Wasps half. A handling error, due to the wet weather gave Quins the ball again who held on to see out the 22-28 victory.
Next up for Harlequins is a Gallagher Premiership clash against Leicester Tigers at Twickenham Stadium as part of Big Game 12, which will also see Harlequins Women face Leinster Women. Tickets are available at tickets.quins.co.uk