Wasps suffer last-gasp defeat at Harlequins

Wasps’ hopes of a fourth consecutive Champions Cup quarter-final were all but extinguished by James Chisholm’s last-minute try, which enabled Harlequins to snatch a dramatic 33-28 victory.

33 - 28
Harlequins Wasps

Sat 13th January 2018
5:30 pm

Twickenham Stoop Stadium European Rugby Champions Cup As it happened

This came after Wasps had led 21-nil after 31 minutes, and 28-12 with 23 minutes remaining, thanks to tries from Kyle Eastmond, Nizaam Carr, Ashley Johnson and Brendan Macken.

However, Quins refused to go away, and when Danny Care and Elia Elia added to Ross Chisholm and James Lang’s pre-interval efforts, then James Haskell received a late red card for a dangerous tackle, the stage was set for home No.6 to clinch the pool one spoils with his late score.

The two bonus points gained leave Wasps five points behind pool leaders Ulster, and four in arrears of La Rochelle ahead of next week’s round six visit from the Northern Irelanders.

With a scoreless 15 minutes gone, home prop Lewis Boyce was sent to the sin bin for a late tackle and Wasps took immediate advantage. Willie Le Roux joined the line to send Eastmond over for the opening score, which Danny Cipriani converted.

A second try came two minutes later, after Le Roux started a counter-attack from inside his own half, lightning-quick passing created space on the right, and Carr produced a blistering turn of speed to race in from nearly 60 metres.

Cipriani converted, after which Marcus Watson’s tackle on Mike Brown prevented Ross Chisholm getting the hosts on the board.

The visitors soon added a third try following a breakaway from their own 22. A penalty was sent to the corner, and an unstoppable driving lineout ended with Johnson touching down.

Cipriani’s conversion stretched the lead to 21-0, with eight minutes of the half to play, but during this spell the hosts hit back with 12 unanswered points.

Their opening score followed a hectic passage of play which saw Wasps counter-attack, before Brown gathered and kicked downfield into acres of space where replacement winger Ross Chisholm won the race to stretch over for an unconverted try.

The hosts then piled on the pressure and were rewarded when Lang went between the posts following a five-metre scrum. The fly-half added the conversion, to make the halftime score 21-12. 

Cipriani began the second half with a beautifully delayed pass to send Wade away on the right, but Brown was able to gather his chip ahead and clear.

A bullocking  run by Jake Cooper-Woolley then put the visitors back on the attack, but a promising build-up came to nothing a few metres from the line.

Wasps secured a bonus point when Thomas Young picked off a long lineout throw and after he made several metres, Brendan Macken went over on the right for a try which Cipriani upgraded.

Any thoughts that the game was effectively over were quickly dismissed when a furious Harlequins attack required a superb Wade tackle to prevent what seemed a certain try for Tim Visser.

However, the away defence was then breached when  Danny Care squeezed over following a series of close-range thrusts for a try which replacement Marcus Smith improved.

And four minutes later, the black-and-gold lead was down to just  two points, when Quins claimed their try bonus point through replacement hooker Elia Elia, who went over in the left corner before Smith again converted.

Wasps created a golden opportunity to make the game safe, after Carr, Marty Moore and Kearnan Myall combined well only for the cover to scramble across. This frantic defence cost the hosts an offside penalty, but Cipriani's kick went narrowly wide.

Haskell’s mistimed tackle on Jamie Roberts then resulted in a red card after TMO review, after which Quins clinched all five points through James Chisholm's late score.

The hosts piled on the pressure in the dying seconds, before their back-rower, who was subsequently named as man-of-the-match, delivered the inevitable knockout blow, and Smith converted.

Harlequins Line ups

  1. Lewis Boyce
  2. Dave Ward
  3. Kyle Sinckler
  4. George Merrick
  5. Ben Glynn
  6. James Chisholm
  7. Archie White
  8. Renaldo Bothma
  9. Danny Care
  10. James Lang
  11. Tim Visser
  12. Jamie Roberts
  13. Alofa Alofa
  14. Charlie Walker
  15. Mike Brown
  16. Elia Elia
  17. Mark Lambert
  18. Phil Swainston
  19. Charlie Matthews
  20. Matt Luamanu
  21. Dave Lewis
  22. Marcus Smith
  23. Ross Chisholm

Wasps Line ups

  1. Simon McIntyre
  2. Ashley Johnson
  3. Jake Cooper-Woolley
  4. Joe Launchbury
  5. James Gaskell
  6. James Haskell
  7. Thomas Young
  8. Nizaam Carr
  9. Dan Robson
  10. Danny Cipriani
  11. Marcus Watson
  12. Kyle Eastmond
  13. Brendan Macken
  14. Christian Wade
  15. Willie Le Roux
  16. Tom Cruse
  17. Ben Harris
  18. Martin Moore
  19. Kearnan Myall
  20. Guy Thompson
  21. Joe Simpson
  22. Rob Miller
  23. Guy Armitage