Wasps sting 14-man Harlequins
PREMIERSHIP REPORT: Wasps ruined Chris Robshaw’s final Harlequins game at The Stoop with a 32-23 win on Monday.
It was a red card to Harlequins hooker Elia Elia which changed the course of the match and saw Wasps come away with a bonus-point win, having trailed much of the match.
Wasps would be the first of the two sides this evening to open their scoresheet, with a powerful scrum from the visitors awarding No.8 Tom Willis with a try in the 13th minute. An unsuccessful conversion for inside centre Jimmy Gopperth would see the visitors take a 5-0 lead, with the men from Coventry making the most of a dominant scrum.
With the set-piece struggling and No.8 James Chisholm limping towards the side-lines on the 20th-minute mark, early signs were not promising for Harlequins.
However, Chisholm’s back row replacement Alex Dombrandt would defy that narrative with two striking scores in 12 minutes for the 23-year-old. Sumptuous support lines from Dombrandt, one conversion and a penalty from the boot of Quins ten Marcus Smith would see Quins race into the lead, with a Gopperth penalty seeing the two sides head into the changing rooms 15-8.
A half-time break would not halt Quins’ momentum, with Smith scoring a sensational individual score from inside Harlequins’ half, first chipping over the top of the Wasps defence before regathering his own kick one handed and turning opposite number Jacob Umaga inside out with nifty footwork to touch down in the right-hand corner.
The conversion may have been missed, but Smith may have scored one of the tries of the season here.
Harlequins lead would face a stern challenge in the 55th minute, with hooker Elia Elia receiving a red card from referee Luke Pearce for a tip tackle on Wasps scrumhalf Dan Robson. Immediately making the most of their one-man advantage, Wasps claimed their second try of the day from short-range through substitute hooker Gabriel Oghre. Gopperth converts and Wasps take themselves within five points of their hosts.
Not done yet and determined to send off captain Chris Robshaw with a bang, Harlequins rapidly reply with a Smith penalty after Wasps were penalised at the breakdown. With the added three, Harlequins’ lead is brought back to eight.
Fierce Quins defence would deny Wasps a try for openside Jack Willis as we play through into the final quarter, with a battling 14-man Harlequins team repelling waves of Wasps attack.
Thomas Young brought Wasps their thirdtry of the day after an excellent break from Alfie Barbeary, with Gopperth converting the extra two to bring Wasps within just a point with seven minutes remaining as the drizzle set in.
Just moments later after a kick into the deep, Brown’s clearance kick was knocked down by Jack Willis who had chased in from distance to score a seemingly crucial late try, which was converted from near the right touchline by Gopperth.
Gopperth closed out the match with a final penalty after the clock passed 80 minutes to see Wasps come away with a bonus point win as Harlequins captain Robshaw looks ahead to his final time leading out the famous Quarters at Welford Road on Sunday.
Tries: Smith, Dombrandt 2
Pens: Smith 2
Tries: T Willis, Oghre, Young, J Willis
Cons: Gopperth 3
Pen: Gopperth 2
Red card: Elia Elia (Harlequins, 13)
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aaron Morris, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Scott Steele, 8 James Chisholm, 7 Will Evans, 6 Chris Robshaw (captain), 5 Glen Young, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Elia Elia, 1 Marc Thomas
Replacements: 16 George Head, 17 Jordan Els, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Alex Dombrandt, 21 Danny Care, 22 Brett Herron, 23 James Lang.
Wasps: 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson (captain), 8 Tom Willis, 7 Jack Willis, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Ben Harris.
Replacements: 16 Gabriel Oghre, 17 Tom West, 18 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Alfie Barbeary, 21 Thomas Young, 22 Ben Vellacott, 23 Michael Le Bourgeois.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Simon Harding & Rob Warburton
TMO: Matthew Carley