Match Reports

Vintage display from Evans hands Harlequins win over table toppers

Friday, 28th April 2017 @ 22:30

22 points from Nick Evans on his Stoop swansong inspired Harlequins to a 32-13 victory over top of the table Wasps.

In an inspired effort at both ends of the pitch, Tim Visser and Joe Marchant raced over the tryline to secure the win over the league leaders.

Evans, who will retire at the end of the season, led out the teams at an electric Twickenham Stoop and opened the scoring in the eleventh minute following an end-to-end opening and a string of Wasps infringements.

Fellow countryman and fly-half Jimmy Gopperth was handed the chance to level but his kick would shade just wide.

That disappointment for Wasps would be short lived as Gopperth received the high ball from Mike Brown's kick, would break through the midfield and play in fellow half back Dan Robson.

Despite a tap tackle from Visser to slow his momentum, Robson had enough to dot down.

Karl Dickson - who like Evans made his final Harlequins appearance at The Stoop - was called into action just 26 minutes in to the match when club captain Danny Care came off with an injury.

Playing the exciting brand of rugby that echoed the opening half of the match against Exeter Chiefs a fortnight ago, Harlequins continued to look for a try of their own and had Wasps on the back foot.

The Londoners would respond shortly after as Evans sent over another penalty following a high tackle.

In a tight but exciting opening 40 Gopperth would have the last say as his penalty made the scores 6-10 at the half.

Following the interval, the match kicked in to life after Chris Robshaw darted through the midfield following a loose spell of possession. The back rower played in Visser down the left wing to race over.

Evans added the extras and the Londoners moved back in front. They weren't to be pegged back for the remainder of the match.

Ill discipline crept in for the away side in the second half as Evans further extended the lead after a high tackle on Jamie Roberts from Marland Yarde's break.

The fly-half would get on the move himself shortly after but would be hauled down to spoil what would have been a try for the highlight reel.

Wasps would go down to 14 after as Willie Le Roux took out Marchant in the air with the centre heading in to the 22. Evans sent over the kick to open the gap to 19-10.

With the gap opening Wasps wouldn't give up the chase as Gopperth shortened the deficit to six points from the tee.

As the match ticked over with 70 minutes on the horizon, John Kingston's men began to exude an air of dominance especially when Evans again nailed a kick to make the score 22-13.

Despite his try even later in the match, Marchant could have had a try earlier on when he capitalised on Dickson's quick chip but the young centre was held up on the line. Joe Launchbury this time was shown the yellow.

The infringement once again handed Evans the opportunity to score and he knocked over his 20th point of the night - the same haul as his stint in the 2012 Aviva Premiership final - however that wouldn't be his last of the night.

Down to 14, Wasps went in search of the losing bonus point but a huge defensive effort from Harlequins would see the away side held up and the perfect platform for the final score of the night.

Replacement Dave Ward picked a loose ball at the base of Wasps' ruck before popping inside to Marchant who raced over the line. Evans once again saw the assistant referees' flags go up as he scored his final points of the night.

In a brilliant team effort, the night quite rightly belonged to Evans who received a standing ovation when Tim Swiel would swap places with the former All Black. 

Following the opening night of Round 21, Harlequins stand three points ahead of Northampton Saints with a journey to Franklin's Garden the final chapter in the 2016/17 Aviva Premiership season.