Harlequins got their Aviva Premiership title defence off to a winning start after coming from behind to beat Wasps 42-40 at Twickenham.
Harlequins got their Aviva Premiership title defence off to a winning start after coming from behind to beat London Wasps 42-40 at Twickenham.
Trailing by 27 points (40-13) in the second half, Quins launched a stirring fightback to cut the deficit to just one point before fly-half Nick Evans slotted over the match-winning penalty in the 77th minute.
The match began at a frantic pace and the defending champions found themselves 20 points down inside the first 15 minutes. A try with barely a minute on the clock from Christian Wade gave Wasps the lead, and he added his second just ten minutes later to boost his side's advantage.
Nick Robinson was on target with both conversions and added two penalties to make it a dream start for last season's strugglers.
Tom Williams responded with a try for Harlequins, converted by Nick Evans, but a further penalty from Robinson and a hat-trick try from Wade on 25 minutes re-established the 20-point barrier.
Two more penalties from Evans in the final ten minutes of the half reduced the deficit but Wasps retained a commanding lead. And it looked as though a shock defeat for Quins was on the cards early in the second half, as Wasps added further tries through Marco Wentzel and Tim Payne, with the latter converted by Robinson.
But Harlequins roared back in triumphant fashion and ate into their opponents' lead at a thrilling pace with 26 points in just ten minutes.
Tom Guest got the comeback moving with a try just before the hour, and that was followed by further scores from Mike Brown, who crossed for a quickfire brace, and Nick Evans, who would finish the game with 22 points to his name.
Evans was wide with his conversion to Brown's first try, though, meaning Quins remained two behind as the game reached the closing stages. But he was on target with a penalty with barely two minutes left on the clock to snatch a thrilling victory from the jaws of defeat.
For London Wasps:
Tries: Wade 2, Varndell, Wentzel, Payne
Cons: Robinson 3
Pens: Robinson 3
Tries: Williams, Guest, Brown 2, Evans
Cons: Evans 4
Pens: Evans 3
London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell (c), 14 Christian Wade, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Andrea Masi, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Jonathan Poff, 6 James Haskell, 5 Joe Launchbury, 4 Marco Wentzel, 3 Fabio Staibano, 2 Tom Lindsay, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 T Rhys Thomas, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Zak Taulafo, 19 Tom Palmer, 20 Ashley Johnson, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Tommy Bell, 23 Chris Mayor.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 George Lowe, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ross Chisholm.
Referee: Greg Garner