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Wasps dominated the first half, leading 10-3 at the break after playing with a strong wind at their backs. The second half was a much more even affair, but it took a ferocious late assault by the Quins to set up the winning score, when Sam Smith just managed to touch down in the right corner, two minutes from time.
With a strong wind at their backs, Wasps opened in lively fashion, with Elliot Daly counterattacking well, after fielding a long clearance kick. Joe Carlisle found touch near the right corner, and Karl Dickson’s clearance from the lineout, was held up by the strong wind, only finding touch on the 22. Quins were penalised at the ensuing lineout, and Carlisle landed the penalty, to give his side an early lead.
Quins responded immediately, after Wasps conceded a turnover, almost from the restart. Nick Evans had a simple kick to level things at 3-3, with barely five minutes gone.
Wasps came close to the opening score, after a half-break by Carlisle sent Matt Mullan through a gap. He fed Sam Jones, just outside. The flanker charged for the line and was stopped a few yards short, by an ankle tap by Karl Dickson. He got back to his feet, but was penalised for not releasing, after the follow-up tackle.
Wasps kept up the pressure, and it took a fine piece of defence by Ugo Monye to prevent a try, when he came off his wing to smother Carlisle, who had a clear overlap outside him. James Haskell and Carlo Festuccia both went close, before possession was lost, inches from the line.
With 19 minutes played, and Wasps still dominating territory, the pressure finally produced a penalty, just under 40 metres out, but Carlisle was unable to find the target, his kick passing to the right of the posts.
Four minutes later, from a scrum on the Quins 10-metre line, Carlisle’s long pass sent James Short, making his Wasps debut, racing away down the left wing. He made 30 metres, to power his way into the 22. Quick possession was won, but James Haskell’s attempted offload was intercepted. Elliot Daly then fielded a clearance and sent a kick out towards the unmarked Will Helu, but it was just out of the winger’s reach.
Wasps then had a series of attacking lineouts, near the corner. Two well-controlled drives almost saw Ashley Johnson go over.
The defence finally cracked when a powerful scrum was brought down and referee Luke Pearce had no hesitation in awarding a penalty try. Carlisle’s conversion made the score 10-3, with eleven minutes of the half to play.
Straight from the restart, Elliot Daly’s overambitious offload was knocked on by Andrea Masi, giving Quins an attacking scrum inside the Wasps 22. An excellent position came to nothing, as the home pack conceded a free-kick.
Five minutes before halftime, Wasps turned down a kickable penalty to again go for the corner. Quins knocked on at the lineout, giving Wasps another excellent attacking position. Despite an early drive, the ball was slow to emerge, and James Haskell’s blindside thrust was stopped a few metres short.
In the final minute of the half, Quins put together their first threatening attack, which produced a penalty 35 metres out. They went for the corner, but excellent defence at the lineout forced the home pack in to touch, leaving Wasps 10-3 ahead at the break, after a dominant 40 minutes in which Quins had barely left their own half, not helped by the strong wind.
With just over a minute of the second half gone, Quins’ flyhalf Nick Evans limped off, to be replaced by Ben Botica.
Almost immediately, the replacement was well off target with a 40-metre penalty, following a Wasps offence at the breakdown.
When Wasps opted to send another penalty to the corner, the initial drive was forced infield, but the home defence held out. At the other end, Andrea Masi did well to smother an attempted pass, with Quins looking dangerous, deep inside the Wasps 22. A minute later, Botica landed a simple penalty, to narrow the gap to four points.
Quins were then gifted an excellent attacking position, when Carlisle’s 22 dropout sailed into touch on the full. All the momentum was now with the home side, but they wasted a superb position with a wild throw at a lineout, near the right corner.
Another wild throw then gave Wasps the chance to counterattack, through a powerful midfield charge by James Haskell. When the ball was moved out to the right, Elliot Daly beat three men before sending a kick downfield, but it had too much power and went out on the full.
Wasps then had an excellent opportunity, from a lineout in the Quins corner. Sam Jones leapt high to win ball at the tail, but an accidental offside gave Quins the put-in at a scrum, five metres out. They won possession, but Botica was forced into a hasty clearance. Another threatening Wasps attack broke down, when the ball was turned over, inside the Quins 22.
With time ticking away, both sides turned to a kicking game, to gain territory, and James Short did well to gather one towering kick from Botica in a dangerous position just outside the Wasps 22.
In the last five minutes, Quins mounted a ferocious assault on the Wasps line. Heroic defence kept them out, until right winger Sam Smith ended a sustained attack by stretching out to score in the right corner.
Botica missed the conversion, but Quins held out during a frantic final minute, in which possession changed hands several times until they won the decisive turnover, and the game ended.
Wasps will be back on home ground next Saturday, when London Irish are the visitors to Adams Park. To get tickets for the game click here.