A League Match Report: Wasps lose close contest to Harlequins
Wasps lost their first A League game of the season 28-38 to Harlequins, but took home a try bonus point. Two tries in the last 10 minutes, saw Harlequins come from behind to take the victory.
Harlequins started the game on the front foot and put the early pressure on Wasps deep in their 22, but good Wasps defence held them out.
Wasps' first attack of the game was crisp and sharp and Rob Miller managed to make a break up field. Alex Lozowski followed this up, by pinning the visitors back, with a good kick to the corner.
Wasps were slowly building themselves into the game, but their progress was stymied by a series of penalties. Harlequins kicked one of those penalties deep into the 22 and from the lineout they got the first score of the game. Tim Swiel made the most of an overlap and crashed over in the corner, to make it 5-0.
Wasps then enjoyed a period of possession, but just as the hosts moved themselves into attacking range, they spilt the ball. Harlequins made the most of Wasps' mistake and mounted another siege deep in Wasps' territory.
The pressure was building and Wasps conceded a string of penalties close to their own line. Brendan Macken was the last player to give away a penalty, and the former Leinster center, duly received a yellow card on 20 minutes. Harlequins utilised the man advantage and got their second try, when Owen Evans dived over the line, off the back of a driving maul, to make it 10-0.
Seven minutes later, Wasps got off the mark, with a try by former Rotherham Titan Alex Rieder. The back-rower showed good footwork to beat his man one-on-one and he dotted down under the posts. Lozowski added the conversion to make it 7-10.
Wasps were on a roll and three minutes later they scored again. After winning a penalty and kicking to the corner, they secured the line-out and went over from a driving maul. Lozowski once again added the conversion and Wasps went into the lead for the first time, 14-10.
With some confidence flowing through the Wasps team, Lozowski put in a neat chip and it was gathered by the freshly back on Brendan Macken. It looked as if Wasps were going to score again, but the move broke down a few phases later.
Harlequins were soon back on the attack. A great run down the touchline by Charlie Walker, nearly saw the winger go over in the corner, had it not been for some good last ditch tackling by Wasps.
Then right on halftime, a mazy run by Rob Miller set up a chance for Thomas Young, who bounced off a tackle before going over underneath the posts. Lozowski once again added the conversion to make the score 21-10 at halftime.
Wasps made a couple of replacements at the break, with U18 players Caleb Shepherd and Connor Eastgate coming on for Miller and Josh Bassett.
With one of the first attacks of the second half, Wasps created an overlap in the Harlequins 22, but a knock on, prevented them from getting the try. Two minutes later Wasps were not to be denied. Alex Rieder went over for his second try of the game and secured the try bonus point, as he strolled straight through the Quins defence, to make it 28-10.
Wasps then took starting front-rowers Tom Bristow and Phil Swainston off. They were replaced by Tom West and former Harlequin James Johnston, who came on for his first game in a Wasps shirt.
On 51 minutes, Harlequins got themselves back into the game, with a try through former England Sevens player, Ollie Lindsay-Hague. The conversion was added by Tim Swiel and it was game on again, with the score at 28-17.
Harlequins now had the momentum and just seven minutes later they scored again, from close range, for their bonus point try. The conversion was added by Swiel to make it 28-24.
The game then went through an ill-disciplined phase, as first Harlequins scrum half Tito Tebaldi and then six minutes later Wasps' James Johnston, were yellow carded for indiscretions.
With both teams missing players, Wasps were put under heavy pressure by a long-lasting Harlequins attack. The pressure eventually told, when on 72 minutes Harlequins were awarded a penalty try. Wasps' forwards had brought down a maul right on the try line illegally and Swiel added the conversion to put Quins back in the lead 28-31.
Harlequins had the bit between their teeth and they were soon on the attack again. They sealed the game and denied Wasps a second bonus point, when Seb Adeniran-Olule bumped off a would-be-tackler to score next to the posts. Swiel added the conversion to make the final score 28-38.
After the game A League coach Matt Davies said: "Tonight was a very frustrating result, given the number of positive aspects in the game. Overall, our ill-discipline let Quins back into the game, when we had fought incredibly hard to take control. They are a good side who took the opportunities we presented to them well.
We have a few weeks break now from the A League and we will be looking to bounce back against London Irish in December."