Match Reports

Harlequins leave it late to sting Wasps

Saturday, 13th January 2018 @ 20:00

A last minute try from Man of the Match James Chisholm handed Harlequins a bonus point win over rivals Wasps in Round 5 of the European Rugby Champions Cup.

The hosts trailed Wasps 12-21 at half-time - which extended to as far as 12-28 - before tries from Danny Care, Elia Elia and back rower Chisholm snatched the victory and eliminated Wasps from qualification into the tournament's knockout stages.

The match wasn't without talking points however, as James Haskell was shown a red card five minutes from time for a high hit on Jamie Roberts; at the time Wasps led by two points before the winner.

Earlier, Harlequins arrived at The Stoop still sore from the one point defeat at the hands of Sale last weekend. Following four defeats in the competition, Harlequins' chances of qualification were out of sight but were also in need of positive performances ahead of their return to the Anglo-Welsh Cup and Aviva Premiership in the coming weeks.

In their third meeting of the season already, both Harlequins and Wasps enjoyed plenty of ball in the opening stages but the hosts were put at an early disadvantage after Lewis Boyce tackled the man without the ball from a clever Wasps decoy run and the loosehead was given ten minutes in the sin bin.

Harlequins also lost one of their players of the season so far after Charlie Walker had to leave the field with an early injury. He wouldn't be the last to leave in the quartered shirt.

With Boyce in the bin, Harlequins were made to pay almost instantly. As Wasps ripped forward with pace, they had men over on the right hand side and Kyle Eastmond pierced through to score.

Within a blink of an eye the lead had doubled following Cipriani's conversion. Nizaam Carr has made quite the impression in his stint with Wasps and he would have done his reputation no harm as he received the ball on halfway, accelerated, dummied and managed to get over the line.

0-14 soon became 0-21, even when Harlequins returned to 15 men. With 32 minutes on the clock, Wasps kicked to the corner following a Quins infringement and Ashley Johnson would be the one to get down first from the resulting rolling maul.

With their backs against the wall, Harlequins' eventual comeback began to take shape.

In a crazy spell of rugby (more resembling a game of basketball), Care burst through the gap and with Harlequins looking for the offload Cipriani intercepted and kicked away. His opposite number, Lang, gathered to run back and kick through for Ross Chisholm who secured the ball and popped through under the tackle.

There was no conversion but there was plenty of momentum for Harlequins.

Dominating possession as the first half ticked down, Harlequins had a scrum five metres out. Danny Care found James Lang at first receiver and on his European debut the fly-half managed to step through the defence to go in under the sticks.

Into the second half and with Wasps needing a win to keep their qualification chances alive, Dai Young's side put their foot on the gas.

The visitors pinched Harlequins' ball at the line out and went across to the other side of the field for Brendan Macken to get over and take the scores to 12-28.

Harlequins looked to have replied within minutes put after referee Poite took an age to review at the TMO, there was no obvious grounding for the hosts and it appeared wind was beginning to be removed from quartered sails.

However, the hosts hit back within minutes as Quins went through the forwards in Wasps' 22. Great work from Mat Luamanu at the breakdown allowed for Care to pick from the base of the ruck to snipe and get down to score.

Hope turned to belief five minutes later as the comeback really seemed on as Harlequins went from either side of the field to find Elia Elia on the left wing. The replacement deftly stepped inside to round the defender and get over.

Replacement Marcus Smith had a huge part to play in the closing stages and his conversion tight on the left touchline reduced the deficit to just two points with nine minutes left on the clock.

Wasps were handed the chance to move five points infront following an excellent break from Marty Moore. Quins were caught offside at the breakdown but Cipriani's penalty went wide.

Five minutes out and a huge turning point.

Jamie Roberts received the ball deep inside the Harlequins half but was sent flying when James Haskell collided with him. Following a TMO review Haskell was shown red for a high hit.

Roberts headed down the tunnel and joined an injury list populated by Mike Brown, Renaldo Bothma and the aforementioned Walker.

With Wasps down to 14 men, Harlequins pounced and after enjoying a huge amount of possession and momentum, Harlequins eventually got over the line through the outstretched arm of James Chisholm.

The win extends Harlequins' impressive record at home over Wasps ahead of a trip to La Rochelle next weekend to wrap up this season's European commitments.

Harlequins return to The Stoop on Saturday 27th January to host Scarlets in Round 3 of the Anglo-Welsh Cup. Tickets are available online or by calling the Ticket Office on 020 8410 6010