Friday, 5th November 2021 @ 19:25
Comeback Kings Quins were back to their usual tricks this weekend as the men from London claimed a dramatic win away to Wasps.
Harlequins travelled north to the Coventry Building Society Arena looking to set the record straight after a home loss against local rivals Saracens.
Despite the end result, Quins looked set for a heavy defeat in the Midlands, with Wasps punishing Harlequins for inaccuracy and ill discipline in the opening 40 minutes.
A Jacob Umaga penalty, a Gabriel Oghre try and two more Umaga penalties painted a sorry tale for Harlequins in the first half. With the scoreboard reading 16-0 and a lack of cohesion on the pitch, it seemed a steep hill to climb.
However, Harlequins were soon back to their old tricks in the second half. Scrum-half and the day’s captain Danny Care was the man to spot a gap in the outskirts of the Wasps defence in just the second minute of the second half.
The half-back sliced clean through before drawing the final defender and feeding full-back Tyrone Green for Harlequins’ first points of the day. While centre Andre Esterhuizen’s conversion – kicking in the absences of both Marcus Smith and Tommy Allan - was wide, Quins were on the scoreboard for the first time of the day.
The Mighty Quins were forced to fight long and hard as they clawed back the points deficit. After a handful of attacking opportunities came to nothing, a set-piece move from a lineout in Wasps territory saw Springbok Esterhuizen make a classic hard carry and offload across the noses of the Wasps defence to send midfield partner Luke Northmore sprinting through open territory to score Quins’ second try.
Esterhuizen added the conversion this time, dragging Quins to within four points of their hosts with 18 minutes left to play.
Comeback Kings Quins did what they do best as the match entered its final ten minutes. Pressurising Wasps across the set-piece, the home side were forced into conceding consecutive penalties.
Ground eventually gave way at the Coventry Building Society Arena, with replacement scrum-half Scott Steele - the latest in a number of short-range efforts - diving over the line to claim Quins’ third, and with it the lead. Esterhuizen added the extras to claim a three-point lead, ahead for the first time of the day.
A dramatic final few minutes saw Wasps launch multiple attacks on the Quins defence deep in the visitors’ territory. With Harlequins coaches and fans alike on the edge of their seats, centre Northmore came up with a sensational jackling turnover penalty to hand Quins possession and relieve significant pressure.
The free-flowing Quins took the game back to their hosts, with debutant wing Nick David bursting past the Wasps defence and sending the final pass to Northmore that would award the centre his second, and Quins the four-try bonus-point win.
Esterhuizen’s successful conversion marked the final act of the day, as Quins displayed their uncanny ability to spark a comeback against tall odds.
A mighty day for the Mighty Quins, conceding zero points and scoring four tries in the second 40. A third of the way into the season, Quins sit third in the Gallagher Premiership - equal on points with second-place Saracens - Harlequins look ahead to the start of the Premiership Cup next weekend with a trip to Saracens.
Final score: Wasps 16 – 26 Harlequins
Harlequins: Tyrone Green, Nick David, Luke Northmore, Andre Esterhuizen, Cadan Murley, Will Edwards, Danny Care (C), Tom Lawday, Jack Kenningham, James Chisholm, Dino Lamb, Matt Symons, Will Collier, Jack Walker, Santiago Garcia Botta
Jack Musk, Simon Kerrod, Wilco Louw, Hugh Tizard, Stephan Lewies, Scott Steele, Lennox Anyanwu, Oscar Beard
Wasps: Ali Crossdale, Zach Kibirige, Alex McHenry, Michael Le Bourgeois, Josh Bassett, Jacob Umaga, Will Porter, Tom Willis, Nizaam Carr, Brad Shields (C), Elliott Stooke, Vaea Fifita, Jeff Toomaga-Allen, Gabriel Oghre, Robin Hislop
Michael van Vuuren, Zac Mearchou, Elliot Millar-Mills, Tim Cardall, Thomas Young, Francois Hougaard, Tommy Matthews, Marcus Watson