Hard-working Wasps hijack The Stoop

Date published: January 17 2015

Despite being on the wrong end of the possession and territory stats, Wasps beat Harlequins 23-3 in Saturday’s European Champions Cup clash at the Twickenham Stoop.

The results means Wasps will host Leinster next week in a battle for top spot in Pool 2 and a place in the quarter-finals.

With a tackle count of over 180 and only around 30 percent of the territory and possession, Wasps proved the value of hard work as they outsmarted their misfiring hosts.

The first half was a smash and grab from Wasps, as they took a 17-0 lead into the break after spending most of their time on the back foot.

Christian Wade and Joe Simpson both went through in the first half, despite Harlequins pinning Wasps inside their own half for lengthy periods.

Andy Goode struck 10 points through in a successful night for him, whilst Elliot Daly added three more in a wonderful night for the visiting side.

Goode’s early penalty gave the visitors a platform, and they grabbed the first try in fortuitous circumstances. A quick Quins penalty was snatched away by Wade, who paced almost the length of the pitch to score.

Goode’s conversion brought the lead upto 10, and that was stretched with their next meaningful attack. Simpson was the man who beat Harlequins backline, as they failed to wake up to his burst, allowing him to sneak under the posts.

Goode again made no mistake from the conversion, and Wasps must have been barely able to believe their start in this crunch European tie.

Despite the lead, it was Harlequins who spent much of the half on top. They were held up twice on the try line, though both did result in penalties. However, instead of going for the three points, they opted for a scrum looking for full points.

But both times, they were met by a Wasps side who had set their stall out perfectly. Half an hour in they lost Nathan Hughes after a series of infrigements, but Quins couldn’t take advantage of the 10 minutes he was gone, and he was able to return after the break with the score unmoved.

Three minutes into the second 40 and the ever reliable Goode increased his points tally for the night to 10 with a penalty from distance, though Quins did finally get themselves on the board courtesy of a Ben Botica penalty.

The second half saw Wasps put on more of an attacking show than there first-half performance contained, and Alapati Leiua was on his way to getting a third try, only for the referee to bring it back for an offside.

Quins hopes for a second-half comeback never truly got started, and both Marland Yarde and Tom Williams were forced off after being cut open as the night went from bad to worse in front of an expectant home crowd.

But for Wasps, the night just kept getting better, as proven by a mammoth penalty from Elliot.

Though the hosts did keep pushing forward, they failed to break down Wasps on a night where nothing seemed to go right.

Dai Young’s side even went in search of a third try as the half wore on, though they settled with what they had as they gave their hopes of European progression a big hope.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Pen: Botica

For Wasps:
Tries: Wade, Simpson
Cons: Goode 2
Pens: Goode 2, Daly
Yellow card: Hughes

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 George Lowe, 11 Tom Williams, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Jack Clifford, 5 George Robson, 4 Charlie Matthews, 3 Will Collier, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler (c).
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Nick
Evans, 23 Charlie Walker.

Wasps: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Alapati Leiua, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Nathan Hughes , 7 James Haskell (C), 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 Kearnan Myall, 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Edd Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Simon McIntyre , 18 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 19 James Gaskell, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Ben Jacobs, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Andrea Masi

Venue: The Twickenham Stoop
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Sean Brickell (Wales); Jonathan Mason (Wales)