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Match Report
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08 Jan 2011: London Wasps v Harlequins

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Match Report
Quins's Badge Harlequins 17
London Wasps's Badge London Wasps 10
Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Match Date: Sat 08 Jan 2011, Kick Off: 14:45
Referee: Wayne Barnes Assistant Referee: Robin Goodliffe
TV Match Official: Geoff Warren Assistant Referee: Kevin Stewart

Hard fought battle but Quins take victory at The Stoop

After trailing by ten points at half time, Wasps dominated the second half at The Stoop but they were unable to breach the tenacious home defence for the score which could have earned them a draw.

After spending the first five minutes of the game in their own half, Wasps posed the first serious threat of the afternoon, with a searing break by Nic Berry, from a scrum on the ten-metre line. He made nearly 40 metres but was unable to find support, but Wasps spent the next few minutes in the Quins 22, before possession was spilt in a tackle and the ball was cleared. Wasps were soon back on the attack and monopolised possession for several minutes, with Andy Powell and Tom Lindsay both producing some powerful running.

After 13 minutes, Joe Simpson came on as a blood replacement for Berry, with Wasps still in the ascendancy. Quins finally lifted the siege when Tom Williams intercepted a lobbed pass, following a fine run by Tom Varndell. Williams kicked deep ahead into the Wasps 22 and went close himself, following a Nic Evans kick to the corner, before the pressure created an overlap on the left and Joe Marler powered through his tackle for a fine try. Evans missed his conversion attempt.

Wasps replied five minutes later with a superb try in the corner by Richard Haughton, following a sustained attack begun by a characteristic jinking run by Mark Van Gisbergen, who rejoined the move to deliver the scoring pass to the winger, who came on to the ball before cutting inside the final defender to deliver a fine finish . Van Gisbergen then put his side ahead, with a magnificent conversion from the touchline.

In the 26th minute, Wasps were penalised at a scrum on their 22, five metres in from touch, but Evans pushed his kick just to the right of the posts. Six minutes later Quins were back in front, after they had first appeared to waste a scoring chance, when George Lowe ignored a two-man overlap to go for the line himself. He was stopped just short but the ball was recycled quickly and fullback Mike Brown went over in the corner. Evans made no mistake with a superb conversion.

Wasps responded positively with a powerful Powell run taking play into the 22 but a turnover gave Quins the chance to counterattack strongly. Brown came close to his second try of the game, before Nick Easter forced his way over near the left corner, with the score only being confirmed by the TMO. Evans could not land the conversion and 40 minutes of entertaining rugby ended with the home side leading by 17 points to 7.

After 8 minutes of constant possession at the start of the second half, in which they were kept at bay by determined Quins defence, Wasps made four substitutions with Dave Walder, Joe Simpson, Charlie Beech and Ben Broster replacing Riki Flutey, Nic Berry, Tim Payne and Zak Taulafo. They were immediately awarded a penalty from a scrum on the Quins ten metre line, but Walder’s kick went well wide of the posts.

16 minutes into the half David Lemi came on for Richard Haughton. Within seconds Walder had another long-range kick at goal, this time from wide out on the left, but he was unable to find the target. Lemi immediately showed his attacking threat, darting 30 metres through the middle of the Quins defence, before Wasps were awarded another penalty inside the 22. This time, Walder made no mistake with his kick, to make it 17-10 with 20 minutes to play. Steve Kefu then limped off and Wasps brought Sam Jones on. Charlie Beech then produced a remarkable turn of speed to race 30 metres, deep into Quins territory as Wasps remained camped in the home half.

With the game approaching the final ten minutes, Wasps chose to kick a penalty to the corner rather than go for the posts. Lineout possession was won and the forwards inched their way towards the line but a crucial penalty was conceded. Tom Lindsay then showed his athleticism as he gathered a chip ahead before racing 30 metres towards the Quins 22. It was then the turn of Sam Jones, playing out of position in the centre, to slice through the home defence with a blistering run deep into the 22 but there was nobody in close enough support for him to attempt an offload.

Wasps were now throwing everything at Quins and looking dangerous with every attack, but still they couldn’t find the final pass, or the crucial hole in the defence, and the final whistle was greeted with a huge roar by the relieved Quins support.

Wasps’ attentions will now focus on the Heineken Cup for the next two weeks. Next Sunday, they travel to Glasgow Warriors and the following weekend sees reigning champions Toulouse visit Adams Park in the final game of the pool stages.