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Match Report

14 Apr 2012: Wasps v Harlequins

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Match Report
Quins's Badge Harlequins 33
Wasps's Badge Wasps 17
Fixture Type: Aviva Premiership Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Match Date: Sat 14 Apr 2012, Kick Off: 16:30
Referee: JP Doyle Assistant Referee: Andrew Pearce
TV Match Official: Graham Hughes Assistant Referee: Peter Huckle

Wasps leave the Stoop empty-handed

Harlequins were too strong for Wasps on their own patch with the Aviva Premiership leaders winning 33-17.

The home side dominated from the start, and were good value for their convincing victory. The result leaves Wasps just four points ahead of Newcastle, surprise winners at Gloucester, with two games to play.

Wasps were once again forced to make a late change to their line-up, after Richard Haughton was injured in the warm-up. Jack Wallace replaced him at full-back, with Tom Prydie coming on to the bench.

After early Wasps pressure, it was the home side who took the lead, when Rory Clegg landed a long-range penalty with five minutes gone. Wasps were level within three minutes, when Nick Robinson was on target with a penalty from just outside the Quins 22 after good Wasps harrying had turned over possession.

Almost from the restart, Ryan Davis went down with an injury to his right ankle. While he was being treated, Mike Brown ran through the middle of the Wasps defence to take play deep into the 22. They had an overlap on the right, but the pass to Ugo Monye went astray and a great chance was missed.

With his ankle heavily strapped, Davis attempted to return to the field but he was clearly in trouble and was replaced by Chris Mayor. Quins again went close out wide on the right but good Wasps defence forced Monye into touch near the corner.

Incessant pressure kept Wasps pinned down in their own 22, for ten minutes and the inevitable score came after 19 minutes when Clegg landed a simple penalty to put Quins back in front.

The lead was stretched to eight points after Quins won a lineout, just outside the Wasps 22. A powerful drive took play up towards the line, before the ball was spun wide and Monye went over in the corner. Clegg’s conversion attempt was off target, leaving the score at 11-3, with Quins in complete control.

12 minutes before the break, things got worse for Wasps, when George Robson went over in the left corner, for Quins’ second try - the result of another patient and controlled build-up which saw Monye go close. He was stopped just short and Robson picked up the loose ball to stroll over on the unmanned blind side. Clegg was again unable to add the extra points but Quins were looking ominously strong at 16-3.

Completely against the run of play, Wasps came back into the game with a superb try, six minutes before the break. After good work by Charlie Davies down the left, play came back infield. With the backs lined up outside him, Nick Robinson delivered an inside pass to Christian Wade, who went racing through a gap to run 30 metres for his eighth Premiership try of the season, Robinson converted, from in front of the posts.

Despite further Quins pressure, Wasps held out until halftime, when the 16-10 scoreline hardly reflected 40 minutes of almost total dominance by the Premiership leaders.
The second half began with a rare piece of good fortune for Wasps, when Clegg’s kickoff failed to go ten metres. Wasps won the scrum, and the ball was fed out to the left, but Elliot Daly was unable to hang on to a sharp pass. From the resultant scrum, Clegg hoisted a high kick towards the left wing. Jack Wallace did well to gather, under extreme pressure, but Wasps were penalised, 40 metres out.

Clegg went for the posts, but his kick went wide. It was only a brief respite for Wasps, as Quins again turned on the pressure, and another relentless build-up ended with Chris Robshaw going over a try near the posts. Clegg’s conversion made the score 23-10, seven minutes into the second period.

Four minutes later, Wasps made a triple substitution with Tom Prydie, Ross Filipo and Billy Vunipola replacing Elliot Daly, James Cannon and Joe Launchbury. Vladislav Korshunov then came on for Tom Lindsay, but the changes made little difference, as Quins immediately secured their bonus point, with a try by Jordan Turner-Hall, in the left corner – again the result of ruthless build-up and clinical execution. Clegg converted from the touchline, to stretch the lead to 30-10, with 25 minutes still left to play.

Wasps then suffered another blow, when Billy Vunipola was shown a yellow card, for an offence at the breakdown, just inside the Wasps 22. Clegg was on target with the penalty, making the score 33-10. Wasps then made two more replacements, with Zak Taulafo and Simon McIntyre replacing Tim Payne and Ben Broster.

Wasps then produced a superb try of their own, after Christian Wade gathered a kick near his line, and beat a series of attackers, to take play to halfway. The move was continued down the left, before Charlie Davies was sent clear, 30 metres out, with two defenders closing in on him. He was brought down just short, but the ball was moved out to the left, and Tom Varndell sent Ross Filipo over for a fine score, which Robinson converted, to make the score 33-17, with fifteen minutes left.

Wasps came close to a third try, after Varndell had shown his speed to race away down the left. He made 40 metres, before the ball was moved back infield, and Charlie Davies was stopped a few metres short. A score still looked possible but Wasps were then penalised for going off their feet.

With the bonus point and the playoff place in the bag, Quins eased off in the closing minutes and Wasps threw caution to the wind producing some thrilling rugby in an attempt to get within bonus point range. Despite some powerful running by Vunipola and McIntyre, they were unable to breach the home defence, and supporters now face a nail-biting climax to the season.

Next Saturday, Wasps are away to Bath, in the Aviva Premiership. The final game of the season, on May the 5th, will be at Adams Park, against Newcastle Falcons.

Wasps team:
15. Richard Haughton 14. Christian Wade 13. Elliot Daly 12. Ryan Davis 11. Tom Varndell 10. Nick Robinson
9. Charlie Davies 1. Tim Payne 2. Tom Lindsay 3. Ben Broster 4. James Cannon 5. Richard Birkett ( c) 6. Joe Launchbury 7. Jonathan Poff 8. Sam Jones

16. Vladislav Korshunov 17. Zac Taulafo 18. Simon McIntyre 19. Ross Filipo 20. Billy Vunipola 21. Lee Robinson 22. Chris Mayor 23. Jack Wallace
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown 14 Ugo Monye 13 George Lowe 12 Jordan Turner-Hall 11 Sam Smith
10 Rory Clegg 9 Danny Care 1 Joe Marler 2 Rob Buchanan 3 James Johnston 4 Olly Kohn 5 George Robson
6 Maurie Fa’asavalu 7 Chris Robshaw (C) 8 Nick Easter

Replacements: 16 Aston Croall 17 Mark Lambert 18 Will Collier 19 Tomas Vallejos 20 Tom Guest 21 Karl Dickson 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta 23 Ross Chisholm