Quins put Gustard saga behind them
PREMIERSHIP SUNDAY WRAP: Wasps’ impressive run of five consecutive wins came to an abrupt halt as they were blown away by Harlequins, losing 17-49.
Quins surprisingly parted company with Head of Rugby Paul Gustard less than a fortnight ago but newly-appointed interim boss Billy Millard saw a rejuvenated side produce an impressive performance in his first game in charge.
Wasps missed the chance to rise to third in the Gallagher Premiership table as they were second best in almost every area in a rare lacklustre effort.
Will Evans, Danny Care, Alex Dombrandt, Louis Lynagh and James Lang scored Harlequins’ tries. A penalty try was also awarded, while man of the match Marcus Smith kicked three penalties and four conversions.
Zach Kibirige and Tom Willis scored tries for Wasps and Jimmy Gopperth converted both, with Lima Sopoaga adding a penalty.
Quins took a sixth-minute lead through a try from Evans.
Skilful play from Mike Brown and Aaron Morris took the visitors into the opposition 22 from where they exerted a period of pressure before the flanker forced his way over from close range.
Smith converted before kicking a penalty to reward his side’s early dominance as Wasps – without key men Joe Launchbury, Jack Willis and Dan Robson – struggled to gain a foothold in the match.
It therefore came as no surprise when rampant Quins extended their lead with an excellent try.
A well-timed pass sent Lynagh away down the right flank and the wing ran strongly to evade some weak tackling for the supporting Care to score.
Wasps’ nightmare start continued when prop Simon McIntyre was forced to leave the field with an injury before Smith extended the visitors’ lead to 20 points with a second penalty.
Despite increasing their share of possession, the home side’s attacks appeared pedestrian with only wing Kibirige troubling the Quins’ defence, so Wasps, who had averaged 34 points per game in their last five matches, finished the first half with just a 40th-minute penalty from Sopoaga to their name.
Forty seconds after the restart, Wasps’ woes continued when their captain Thomas Young was led off after receiving lengthy treatment following a collision with Brown.
Within minutes of Young’s departure, their opponents built up an unassailable lead when Dombrandt finished off a driving line-out.
Wasps’ backs continued to be clueless in attack and it took until the 59th minute for them to score their first try when a series of forward rumbles sucked in the defence to provide Kibirige with a walk-in.
Gopperth converted from the touchline but Smith kicked a long-range penalty before Lynagh intercepted a telegraphed pass from Jacob Umaga to race away for the bonus point try.
The game was up for Wasps but they gained some respectability with a close-range try from Tom Willis.
However, replacement Lang raced 45 metres to score before a late penalty try award for collapsing a maul further emphasised Quins’ superiority.
* In the other Sunday match late call-up James Stokes was among the try scorers as London Irish withstood a late comeback from Newcastle to record a 31-22 victory.
The Exiles dominated for large spells of the entertaining clash as they recorded their second league win of the season.
Sunday scores and scorers
London Irish 31-22 Newcastle Falcons
For London Irish
Tries: Creevy, Stokes, Rona, Matu’u
Cons: Jackson 4
For Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Stevenson, Stuart, G Graham
Cons: Hodgson 2
London Irish: 15 Tom Parton, 14 Ben Loader, 13 Curtis Rona, 12 Billy Meakes, 11 Ollie Hassell-Collins, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Albert Tuisue, 7 Seàn O’Brien, 6 Matt Rogerson (captain), 5 Rob Simmons, 4 Steve Mafi, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Lovejoy Chawatama, 19 Adam Coleman, 20 Ben Donnell, 21 Blair Cowan, 22 Ben Meehan, 23 Terrence Hepetema.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Toby Flood (co-captain), 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Gary Graham, 7 Philip van der Walt, 6 Sean Robinson (co-captain), 5 Marco Fuser, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Trevor Davison.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Will Montgomery, 20 John Hardie, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Brett Connon, 23 George Wacokecoke.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Christophe Ridley and Roy Maybank
TMO: Karl Dickson
Wasps 17-49 Harlequins
Tries: Kibirige, Willis
Cons: Gopperth 2
Tries: Evans, Care, Dombrandt, Lynagh, Lang, Penalty try
Cons: Smith 4, penalty try does not require a conversion
Pens: Smith 3
Wasps: 15 Lima Sopoaga, 14 Zach Kibirige, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Matteo Minozzi, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Will Porter, 8 Tom Willis, 7 Thomas Young (captain), 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Tim Cardall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Sam Wolstenholme, 22 Michael Le Bourgeois, 23 Rob Miller.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aaron Morris, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt, 7 Will Evans, 6 Archie White, 5 Stephan Lewies (captain), 4 Matt Symons, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Jordan Els, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 Glen Young, 20 Richard de Carpentier, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 James Lang, 23 Tyrone Green.
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant referees: Adam Leal and Sara Cox
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Sources: PA & RugbyPass