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Match Report

07 Sep 2013: Wasps v Harlequins

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Match Report
Quins's Badge Wasps 15
Wasps's Badge Wasps 16
Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership Venue: Twickenham
Match Date: Sat 07 Sep 2013, Kick Off: 16:30
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth Assistant Referee: Roy Maybank
TV Match Official: Sean Davey Assistant Referee: Andrew Pearce

Quins take spoils at the opener

Wasps season got off to a heart-breaking start, as Andy Goode’s conversion attempt of Tom Palmer’s last-minute try hit the post, and Quins scraped home 16-15.

Quins had dominated the second half, and took the lead inside the final ten minutes. Wasps brave fightback came agonisingly close to clinching a dramatic win.

Wasps got off to a superb start, with a try inside the first minute. They won possession from Andy Goode’s kickoff and moved the ball out to the right. Play came back infield, and Guy Thompson put in a powerful burst. The ball was recycled quickly and Joe Simpson’s flat pass sent Sam Jones through a gap. He was stopped just short, but offloaded to the supporting Joe Launchbury, who went over between the posts. Goode added the extra points.

Wasps then set their supporters’ nerves jangling, as Andrea Masi gathered a kick ahead, near the right corner. Rather than running into touch, he tried to flick the ball back infield and Joe Simpson was forced to back-track towards the dead ball line, and touch down for a Quins scrum.

Christian Wade then exploded into the game as he came into the line and kicked ahead, deep into the Quins 22. It took a great piece of covering by Ugo Monye and a fortunate bounce to deny Wasps a try. Moments later, Wade again set the crowd roaring, as he intercepted a long pass out on the Quins left. He was in the clear, but the referee called play back for a Quins penalty.

With 12 minutes gone, Wasps appeared to have won a penalty at a lineout near their right corner – only for the assistant referee to step in and point out a Wasps offence. Nick Evans landed the kick, to make it 7-3.

Directly from the restart, Quins were penalised for blocking just inside their 22, and Goode slotted over a close-range penalty to restore Wasps’ seven-point advantage, at 10-3. As the clock approached 20 minutes, Quins produced their best piece of sustained play of the game. After initially being forced back by the Wasps midfield, they eventually found space out on the left, and won a penalty, a few metres in from touch, 35 metres out. Evans’s kick was well off target.

Quins stayed camped inside the Wasps half, and again took the ball through a series of phases, before defensive pressure forced a knock-on, on the 22. Wasps finally broke out of their half, as Andrea Masi joined the line and made ground down the left. A series of phases followed before Masi appeared on the right, and Christian Wade was sent away. He had no space to work in, and the defence was able to smother him, ten metres from the line.

Several minutes of scrappy play followed, before Wasps conceded a penalty, a few metres inside their own half, in the middle of the field. Once again, Evans pushed his kick to the left of the posts.

Five minutes before halftime, Goode sent a long-range penalty just wide. Quins then launched a dangerous attack, but they lost possession in midfield. Wasps pounced on the loose ball and spun the ball out to the left, where Tom Varndell was in space on halfway. He raced away and seemed certain to score, until a desperate ankle tap by George Lowe made him lose his footing, and his left foot just clipped the touchline.

In the final play of the half, Wasps broke away down the right, and Christian Wade sent a long kick towards the corner, Crucially, he collided with a defender just as he set off in pursuit, and stumbled before getting into his stride. It fell to Charlie Hayter to lead the chase, but the Quins defence managed to get back and secure the ball, before the halftime whistle went.

A minute after the restart, the dangerous Danny Care broke down the blindside from a lineout but there was no support, and possession was turned over. Five minutes into the half, Wasps were penalised for wheeling a scrum, 11 metres inside their own half. This time, Evans found the target, to narrow the gap to 10-6.

Three minutes later, with the Quins pack beginning to look ominous, Joe Launchbury was caught offside six metres inside his own half and Evans again landed the kick, bringing Quins to within a single point.

Wasps responded with an excellent move down, featuring an impressive burst by Sam Jones. They moved out wide to the left, before coming back inside. They appeared to have opportunities out on the right, but Andy Goode chose to chip ahead, and Mike Brown was able to make a comfortable mark, in the shadow of his posts.

The alarm bells then rang for Wasps, when Nick Evans sent a high kick towards the left corner. Andrea Masi had to turn for the ball, and failed to gather. Christian Wade, covering from the opposite wing, did well to gather, but Wasps were forced into touch at the corner. Quins were awarded a scrum from which they won quick ball, Tom Guest made a surge for the line, but aggressive Wasps defence forced another knock on.

Quins kept up the pressure, and Wasps remained pinned down in their own 22. The Quins scrum now well on top, and a Wasps scrum was pushed back ten metres, almost over their own line.
Wasps were now being stretched to the limit, but the defence held out until the 70th minutes, when replacement scrumhalf Karl Dickson broke to the left and threw a dummy to create a gap and cross for a try near the posts. Evans converted, to put Quins six points ahead.

With six minutes left, Wasps produced a bold attack from a scrum near halfway. They took play deep into the Quins 22, and won a penalty in front of the posts. Rather than taking the three points, they kicked for the corner, but were then penalised at the lineout.

With time ticking away, Wasps threw everything at Quins, and came close to a try when Charlie Hayter was only just beaten to Andy Goode’s chip over the line. Quins were conceding a series of penalties, and Wasps had no option but to keep the ball alive.

With the clock at zero, a sustained attack ended with Ashley Johnson sending Tom Palmer over in the left corner. All now rested on Goode’s conversion, but his kick struck the left-hand post, and Wasps’ brave performance ended in heartbreak.

Next Saturday, Wasps travel to the West Country, to face Exeter Chiefs in their second game of the new Aviva Premiership season.

Wasps team: 15 Andrea Masi 14 Christian Wade 13 Ben Jacobs 12 Charlie Hayter 11 Tom Varndell 10 Andy Goode 9 Joe Simpson 1 Matt Mullan 2 Tom Lindsay 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley 4 Joe Launchbury 5 Tom Palmer 6 Sam Jones (capt.) 7 Guy Thompson 8 Ed Jackson

Replacements: 16 Neil Cochrane, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James Cannon, 20 Ashley Johnson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Joe Carlisle, 23 Tommy Bell

Harlequins: 15. Mike Brown 14. Paul Sackey 13. George Lowe 12. Jordan Turner-Hall 11. Ugo Monye 10. Nick Evans 9. Danny Care 1. Joe Marler 2. Joe Gray 3. Will Collier 4. George Merrick 5. George Robson 6. Luke Wallace 7. Chris Robshaw (C) 8. Nick Easter

Replacements: 16. Rob Buchanan 17. Mark Lambert 18. Paul Doran-Jones 19. Maurie Fa'asavalu 20. Tom Guest 21. Karl Dickson 22. Ben Botica 23. Charlie Walker