Harlequins Defeat Old Rivals Wasps at Big Game 11

Saturday, 29th December 2018 @ 19:00



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The men in quartered shirts go to fourth in the Gallagher Premiership table following a dramatic victory against Wasps in front of a sell-out crowd at Twickenham Stadium.

A man of the match, try-scoring performance from Alex Dombrandt and a further score from centre Joe Marchant gave the hosts a decisive victory in front of 82,000 supporters at the Home of English Rugby.

The contest got off to an unbelievable start with back-rower Dombrandt going over for the first try of the match from an attacking lineout inside the Wasps 22 after just 49 seconds, the quickest try scored in the Premiership this season. With the extras added by Smith, the home side had amassed a fantastic early lead, 7 points to 0.

Wasps were keen to respond, and at the seven-minute mark fly-half Lima Sopoaga had the opportunity to get his side on the scoresheet with a kick from the Quins 10-metre line. Thankfully for Quins, the former All Black’s kick was wayward, ensuring that the score remained the same.

Two minutes later, following some fantastic defence from the home team, Dombrandt seemed to cross for his second, however after a review from the TMO the try was denied. The score therefore remained 7-0 to Harlequins.

At 11 minutes, referee Craig Maxwell-Keys again referred to the video officials, this time however for alledged foul play. Following a tussle between Quins hooker Dave Ward and Wasps Flanker Tom Young, Ward was sent to the sin bin, temporarily leaving his side with 14 players on the field.

Despite the player deficit, Quins looked dangerous with ball-in-hand and following some incisive running from centre Francis Saili, Winger Cadan Murley and Fullback Mike Brown, the home side found themselves in the Wasps 22. After some dominant rucking, Quins forced a penalty allowing Smith to extend his side’s lead to 10 points at the 16-minute mark.

Despite being 10 points down, Wasps looked to be gaining momentum, especially in the backfield with Josh Bassett and Willie Le Roux making customarily dangerous runs. Their attacking play was soon rewarded with a penalty on the 32-minute mark just inside the Quins half. Elliot Daly stepped up to slot the kick from over 40-metres out making the score 10-3.

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Five minutes later, however, Smith added a penalty kick of his own to quickly re-assert his team’s ten-point lead as they went in for half time, 13-3.

Quins started the second half as they had done the first; keeping ball in hand and looking to score smash their way over the tryline. Francis Saili was looking especially dangerous in the middle of the park, almost successfully offloading the ball to Brown inside the Wasps 22 for a sure-fire score.

Wasps, however, were the first to get on the scoresheet at 59-minutes thanks to a well-choreographed set-piece move from their forwards inside the Quins 22. Following a powerful drive, replacement prop Will Stuart rumbled over to bring his side back into the match. With the conversion slotted by Sopoaga, Wasps were only three points behind.

The men in quartered shirts were quick to respond, and following some more powerful rucking inside the Wasps half, the home team won a penalty which Smith daringly kicked to the corner for a lineout at the away side’s five-metre. After a well-executed catch and drive, Danny Care put in a delicious grubber kick into the Wasps deadball area allowing Marchant to dive over a try. With the conversion added by Smith, Quins lead by 20 points to 10 with 15 minutes left to be played.

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Wasps went on the offensive straight from the kick-off, and after another penalty from Quins in open play, Sopoaga stepped up to reduce the gap to seven points at the 68-minute mark.

Despite repeated barrages from Wasps, however, the home side managed to hold out to secure a well-earned victory by 20 points to 13.

Paul Gustard’s men return to action in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday 5th January when they face Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park (kick-off, 15:00).

Team line Ups

Gallagher Premiership

League Table 2018-19

Team PLD W D L F A TF TA TB LB PTS
22 17 0 5 630 438 89 51 14 4 86
22 16 0 6 644 440 77 44 10 4 78
22 13 1 8 587 515 75 60 10 4 68
22 11 0 11 590 521 73 62 8 4 56
22 10 0 12 544 528 63 56 7 9 56
22 10 2 10 481 480 52 54 6 6 56
22 11 2 9 462 504 52 62 3 4 55
22 10 0 12 483 552 56 62 7 4 51
22 9 1 12 503 580 55 74 6 7 51
22 9 0 13 491 557 56 66 6 4 46
22 7 0 15 478 632 47 81 5 8 41
22 6 0 16 395 541 43 66 1 6 31