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Monday, 12 February 2018

14-man Wasps sting Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop

The sun was shining down on a rather vibrant Twickenham Stoop. Kyle Sinckler was back in the starting line-up for Harlequins having recovered earlier than anticipated following injury at the England training camp.

This was the fourth meeting between Quins and Wasps this season, meeting in the European Champions Cup as well as the Premiership.

The visitors kicked off proceedings. The hosts opted to return the ball, box-kicking from the ruck. Play changed hands in the opening couple of minutes as both teams found their feet.

A long cross-field kick by Quins failed to find touch but forced Wasps to play from their own half. They broke through the defence at the half-way line before kicking into touch for a Quins’ defensive line-out on the 22.

A scramble for the ball saw the hosts come away with it and box-kick out for a competitive high ball. Wasps claimed possession and quick work meant Ross Chisholm was unable to gather a loose ball allowing Juan de Jongh to cross for a try; Cipriani converted: Harlequins 0 – 7 Wasps in the opening 5 minutes.

The restart failed to go 10 metres handing Wasps a scrum on the halfway line.

Wasps again broke through the Quins’ defence but a desperate tackle and stolen ball gave the hosts possession. They quickly pushed up to the visiting 22 and were awarded advantage. Visser and Marchant worked well on the near wing but were unable to reach the try-line.

Play returned to the scene of the penalty. Smith lined up his shot and opened the points tally for Harlequins: Harlequins 3 – 7 Wasps after 10 minutes.

No sooner had the game resumed than Wasps gathered their own re-start and Thomas Young slipped through the defenders to score an easy try: Harlequins 3 – 12 Wasps after 11 minutes.

The re-start was sent long and Wasps easily gathered the ball. Quins defended high and pinned Wasps in their own 22. A strong box-kick, however, forced Quins to back-track into their own half.

Joe Marchant passed to James Chisholm who himself dragged in defenders before releasing Visser on the wing. The Scotland international stepped back inside and was brought down short of the line. He stretched out but the Television Match Official (TMO) deemed it ‘No Try’.

5 metre scrum for Wasps. They fed and retrieved the ball, kicking out but failing to find touch. Quins ran it back and Ross Chisholm dropped to the floor. Wasps’ Wade alerted the medics to the injured player, despite his own coaches telling him to play on.

The referee Wayne Barnes allowed play to continue as medics attended to a flat-out Chisholm. The whistle was eventually blown but this was for a very different reason. Wasps’ Kyle Eastmond placed a very high and dangerous tackle on Marcus Smith. Several replays later, each looking worse than the last, and Eastmond was shown red. Wasps down to 14 men after 18 minutes.

Ross Chisholm, meanwhile, left the field for a Head Injury Assessment bringing Aaron Morris into play. This replacement became permanent for the rest of the game.

Quins kicked for a line-out inside the visiting half and from there the hosts pushed through. Wade briefly stole possession but it was soon re-gathered and Quins pressed for the line. Ben Glynn came the closest but then a scrum was awarded to Wasps just 5 metres from the line.

The visitors attempted to run from deep but Quins kept them pinned down, forcing a box-kick into touch just outside their 22. Wasps re-gathered following another poor line-out. Penalty awarded to the visitors who pushed play into the hosts’ half. The forwards attacked the defensive line before the outsides forced the pace.

They pushed up to the 22 before a superb turnover was passed out to Mat Luamanu then onto Marcus Smith. The little rocket broke through and sped up the field, passing to Dave Lewis who was tackled before reaching the try-line.

Wasps themselves turned over possession and play was taken out of the visiting 22. Scrum to the hosts. James Chisholm was seen limping on his left ankle but the magic of the medics allowed him to stay on the field.

Scrum-half Lewis released the ball and fly-half Smith needed no invitation to run. He passed on to Visser who this time was successful in adding his name to the score sheet. Conversion added by Smith: Harlequins 10 – 12 Wasps after 26 minutes.

The re-start was kicked deep and Quins successfully gathered. They attempted to run from deep but Wasps stole possession in the 22. More misery for the hosts as an offside ruling handed the visitors an easy penalty. Cipriani once again extended the Wasps’ lead: Harlequins 10 – 15 Wasps.

Quins kicked the re-start ball short enough to be challenged by their own team however Wasps were alert and claimed the ball. They box-kicked on and the high-ball was gathered well by the hosts who were then bundled into touch. This allowed Wasps a line-out just inside their half.

A maul formed and crossed into Quins’ territory before the ball was released to the centres. The ball was passed back to the wing but the visitors were not gaining ground.

Wasps’ Dan Robson was forced to kick and Quins returned the favour but with too much weight allowing the visitors a simple touch down behind their own try-line. They cleared their lines and Quins decided to bluff a kick and run with ball in hand.

Luamanu and Sinckler used their presence to gain ground although Wasps were doing their best to slow down play. Marcus Smith again used his pace to dance through the defensive line however it came to nothing. Wasps were awarded a penalty and dissent from Quins saw them moved back an extra 10 metres.

Wasps placed the ball into touch for a line-out on the halfway line.

Another penalty to the visitors who pushed play into the 22 but a forward pass handed a scrum to Quins. They released the ball to the wing and Morris with Visser again attempted to speed away; Morris being tackled into touch.

Quins, however, stole possession and continued their attack. In two long passes the ball reached the far wing but desperate defence saw turnover just metres from the line. Wasps kicked into touch handing Quins an attacking platform.

They again took the opportunity to send the ball to the near wing. Up to the try-line once again but penalty awarded to Wasps, ending the first half.

Frustration for Harlequins in the first 40 minutes - a team that had not been able to maximise the one-man advantage.

Half Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 10 – 15 Wasps

In a bizarre twist to the day, the brilliant sunshine was replaced by rain, wind and hail. The temperature dropped.

While supporters ran for cover, Aaron Morris sprinted along the wing and crossed for a try for the hosts within the opening minutes of the second half.

The conversion was missed but Quins had drawn level: Harlequins 15 – 15 Wasps.

Wasps kicked long and the ball was gathered well by the hosts. They replied by box-kicking from the ruck, forcing the visitors back into their own half.

This play did not seem to bother Wasps who took the opportunity to run with ball in hand and swiftly returned to the hosts’ half of the pitch.

Replacement for Quins as Ben Glynn came off in place of Stan South. Meanwhile the opposition Hooker Tom Cruse received treatment ahead of a scrum.

The power of the visiting pack earned them a penalty. Cipriani lined up the sticks and added three more points to the scoreboard: Harlequins 15 – 18 Wasps after 46 minutes.

The re-start was kicked long and as the hail and rain subsided, the visitors placed another penalty into touch albeit still within their own territory.

They kept possession and box-kicked long; Quins gathered the ball well.

Unfortunately the pace of the hosts at their own ruck slowed considerably allowing Wasps to turnover possession and they continued to turn the screws, passing with confidence.

Quins put in the hard tackles and Ward stole the ball. He broke through the defence but the hosts seemed destined to hand any advantage back to the visitors and kicked for territory, only for Wasps to easily gather the ball.

They took this gift and ran it back up the field, with Young crossing for his second try with just 29 minutes remaining: Harlequins 15 – 25 Wasps.

Quins took this opportunity to switch the scrum-half with Jonno Kitto replacing Dave Lewis.

Roberts supplied Alofa Alofa who danced through the first line of defence before being taken down. Again Wasps stole possession and passed with ease. They were relaxed on the ball unlike Quins who had to force play.

With exceptional handling, Willie Le Roux crossed for a try. Cipriani extended the lead further with 27 minutes remaining: Harlequins 15 – 31 Wasps.

The home fans, usually so supportive of their team, turned against a ‘disgraceful’ performance.

Quins chased the re-start but Wasps still gathered ahead of them. The visitors box-kicked as far as Marcus Smith who simply ran it back. Quins were desperate to retain possession but were penalised for holding on just as they pushed for the try-line.

With 25 minutes remaining, Kyle Sinckler and Mat Luamanu were replaced by Will Collier and Archie White.

Wasps secured line-out ball and chipped through into touch just shy of the 22. Quins finally retained possession but the ball was not deemed to have been thrown straight. Scrum to Wasps in an attacking position.

The visitors gathered the ball and again chipped through gaining more ground and finding touch. Their confidence high and once again they stole possession. The maul moved into the 22 where Quins achieved turnover ball but instead of kicking to clear their lines they passed in hand, only to knock-on following a poor pass from Roberts. Lewis Boyce off, replaced by Mark Lambert for Quins (21 minutes left).

Wasps now had a very strong attacking platform 10 metres from the line. The scrum-half Robson passed quickly. Quins were strecthed and gave away another penalty, this time for a high tackle.

Cipriani kicked for a line-out and the Wasps gathered. Advantage was being played as the maul collapsed.

Play was sent to the centre then out to the wing. Very little forward movement was achieved and so the referee blew for the penalty. Meanwhile Quins’ no. 14 Alofa Alofa was given a reprieve for a potentially dangerous tackle. The TMO was consulted and play continued with the original penalty.

Wasps kicked for another line-out, secured possession, and earned another penalty. Barnes warned Ward of the consequences should another infringement occur.

Cipriani again found touch; the line-out secured. The scrum-half attempted to cross the whitewash himself but was tackled. Despite the earlier warning, another penalty was given away by Quins’ Archie White who was shown yellow.

Repeating the play, Wasps kicked to the corner, secured line-out ball, formed a maul and powered over the line. Tom Cruse with the try; Cipriani curling in the conversion: Harlequins 15 – 39 Wasps with just 14 minutes remaining.

An aerial battle ensued to settle nerves on both sides. Quins attempted to run from deep but lost possession in a knock-on. Both teams were again content to kick for territory; Wasps winning this battle finding touch just outside the Quins’ 22.

Ward found Matthews in the line. Roberts made some progress before the ball was passed to the far wing. Quick hands allowed Quins to break through the defence and a penalty was awarded.

They kicked for a line-out but failed to find touch. Wasps sent the ball back and this time Quins ran it up the field. Hard work and graft paid off with Charlie Matthews crossing for a try. Smith added the conversion. Harlequins 22 – 39 Wasps after 71 minutes.

The rain and hail returned as Alofa Alofa cleanly gathered the re-start high ball. Ward then spilled it forward under tackle having just crossed the half-way line.

The hosts were now back up to full strength with the sin-bin period for White over.

Wasps made quick work of the scrum and kicked long, chased, and earned turnover ball. A penalty soon followed.

Quins’ fans started to leave in their droves and this was not simply because of the now freezing conditions.

Cipriani put boot to ball and beautifully chipped through the defence for Josh Bassett to gather and place for a try. The fly-half failed to convert. Despite this, Wasps had double the number of points on the scoreboard than their hosts: Harlequins 22 – 44 Wasps.

With just two minutes remaining Joe Gray came on in place of James Chisholm for Harlequins.

Another penalty went the way of the visitors and they once again placed the ball perfectly into touch on the half-way line. They formed a maul from the line-out however Quins won the turnover. A high tackle from the visitors handed the hosts a penalty.

They kicked for touch and Matthews secured line-out ball. Roberts pushed through. They made it up to the 5 metre line; Luamanu creeping closer. Roberts then attempted to dash over the line but was tackled just short. The Wasps’ defence was superb. On and on Quins pushed but they could not get over the line.

The hosts passed long to the wing but it was a loose pass, forcing Quins to backtrack and gather.

Another offside penalty went against Wasps however the advantage came to nothing. Quins, despite playing with a man advantage for the majority of the game, were unable to get the important fourth try and came away from the game with a disappointed fan base and no points for the Premiership table.

Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 22 – 44 Wasps

Attendance: 9, 890

15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Dave Lewis, 1 Lewis Boyce, 2 Dave Ward ©, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 Ben Glynn, 5 Charlie Matthews, 6 James Chisholm, 7 Luke Wallace, 8 Mat Luamanu

16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Stan South, 20 Archie White, 21 Jonno Kitto, 22 Ian Prior, 23 Aaron Morris

15 Willie Le Roux, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 1 Simon McIntyre, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 4 James Gaskell ©, 5 Kearnan Myall, 6 Jack Willis, 7 Thomas Young, 8 Guy Thompson

16 Ashley Johnson, 17 Matt Mullen, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Marcus Garratt, 20 Nathan Hughes, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Jimmy Gopperth, 23 Gaby Lovobalavu

Match Report: Natalie Osborne Photography: Chris Spring
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 12:54 am  

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