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09 Mar 2008: Wasps v Harlequins

Click on the tabs below to see a full range of info on this match, including the match report, live minute by minute in game commentary, scores as they happened in the time line, a full picture gallery plus all the news prior to the match and head to head stats over the years..

Match Report
Wasps's Badge Wasps 29
Quins's Badge Harlequins 25
Fixture Type: Guinness Premiership Venue: Adams Park
Match Date: Sun 09 Mar 2008, Kick Off: 15:00
Referee: Andrew Small Touch Judge: Andrew Pearce
Timekeeper: John Burtenshaw Touch Judge: Paul Dickens

Wasps edge another tight finish

London Wasps hold on to beat Harlequins 29-25 at Adams Park this afternoon.

Mark McMillan battles his opposite number Danny Care

Mark McMillan battles his opposite number Danny Care

Supporters were treated to another 80 minutes of roller coaster entertainment at Adams Park as Wasps squeezed past Harlequins 29-25 to claw another place up the Guinness Premiership table.

Wasps moved up to 7th, whilst Quins slid to 6th, on 38 and 41 points respectively, but with 14 games under their belts compared to the 15or 16 of the six other clubs above them, Wasps are still in a strong position to come up on the rails as the Premiership season builds to an exciting climax over the next two months.

Local derby win not withstanding, this was an important win for Wasps over a Harlequins side who had the momentum of three wins on the bounce behind them, and also have their eyes firmly fixed on a top four place at the end of the season.

As is the Wasps way however, the boys in black and gold did not make it easy for themselves despite having built a healthy 23-10 lead by half time. An aggressive start from the pack led to an early score from Raphael Ibanez, who was driven over from close range following some patient and well organised work on the line from his fellow forwards.

A similar close range result nearly resulted in a second try after 12 minutes, though referee Andrew Small adjudged the ball was held up over the line. This is not to say that this was a forwards dominated game however. Both teams were out to play rugby, and Dave Walder had the game of his Wasps career to date at fly half, a mixture of fizzing long flat passes and delayed short passes employing the services of both Wasps forwards and backs.

Try scorer Dominic Waldouck

Try scorer Dominic Waldouck

Walders kicking game was not bad either. Six place kicks from six plus a drop goal took his 100% return for the day to 19 points and his performance earned him the Wasps Man of the Match Award at full time. And though Wasps had Danny Cipriani on the bench, it was the likes of Walder, Tom French, George Skivington and John Hart who all turned in strong performances to ensure that Wasps secured the win despite being without the services of their international contingent.

Outside Walder, Riki Flutey was making his first appearance since hobbling off with a hamstring injury against Leeds at the start of January, and in his first game back he proved he has lost none of his creativity and flair. Outside him, Dominic Waldouck was turning in another reputation building performance, and it was his running line off Walder that allowed the youngster to score Wasps second try just before half time.

Prior to that however, Quins had got their own side of the score board ticking over. First, a straightforward penalty from Adrian Jarvis following Quins first period of attack got them off the mark. Then came a try built on Wasps errors. First Tom Williams pounced on a loose ball to set off up the right flank on a promising break then, as the defence covered across, fly half Jarvis kicked cross field. Mark van Gisbergen was always stretching to get to the kick, but when he failed to secure the ball Hal Luscombe was the beneficiary, strolling over to allow Jarvis to draw Quins level with the conversion, 10-10.

Man of the Match Dave Walder

Man of the Match Dave Walder

Uncowed, Wasps continued to look potent in attack, Flutey, Waldouck and Josh Lewsey all making good breaks. Quins conceded a penalty to allow Walder to nudge Wasps ahead before a well constructed Wasps attack, with charges from Ibanez and Worsley, set up the platform for Waldouck to charge over for Wasps second try.

Walder knocked over a drop goal with the last kick of the half following an exciting period of attack and counter attack that was sparked by a huge hit from Joe Worsley on Quins centre Tosh Masson, and though there was some confusion over the half time score, as a touch judge report on an incident leading up to the drop goal caused the players to have to re-emerge from the tunnel until the consequent ticking off had been completed, the three points stood and Wasps had a healthy lead at the half way mark.

There was plenty more rugby to come in the second half, and the open nature of the game meant that the crowd enjoyed much counter attack but suffered much turnover ball with it. Quins second try came before the hour when Wasps coughed up the ball in the Quins 22 following a promising attack. That allowed big wing Ugo Monye to bounce and roll out of the grasp of Van Gisbergen and motor 70 metres to the line and score with only the isolated Josh Lewsey at full back able to get anywhere near him.

Malone missed the conversion and Walder was on target with his next penalty opportunity, taking Wasps out to 29-18 ahead, but Quins were enjoying more than their fair share of possession as Wasps continued to offer up turnover ball. With ten minutes remaining. Wasps again offered Quins a lifeline when a mistake at a line out in their 22 handed back possession, and subsequently a penalty, to the visitors. Scrum half Danny Care tapped quickly, and Tom Guest was on hand to be driven over for Quins third try of the day. Malones conversion put them within touching distance at 29-25 and Wasps supporters has to endure a tense final ten minutes before celebrating an important victory.

John Hart

John Hart

Ian McGeechan summed things up after the game saying:
Quins have been enjoying some good form and been playing well, and compared to them weve played only two games in the last five weeks. That was a concern for us, we were worried about being a bit ring rusty, but I thought we started well and in the end it was a good win for us.

Its a difficult time of the season for us, as we are starting with a different line up each week at the moment. That made this a massive club win for us today, and I thought some of the rugby we played today, particularly in the first half, was outstanding

We were disappointed to give away a soft try but when we had the discipline and the accuracy we looked good side. We got our points at the right time and the players responded tremendously well today, every one of them.

Club captain Lawrence Dallaglio added: The league is concertinaing, and its very tight now, so we just have to pick off the results as we go. It was a big win for us - as Geech said we were a bit rusty today and two of Quins three tries came when we were on the attack, so I think a bit more accuracy from us and would probably have avoided those fraught ten minutes at the end.