Planet Rugby

Quins take the spoils in Abu Dhabi

30th January 2011 17:28

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harlequins v london wasps

Harlequins eased to a comfortable LV= Cup victory over their local rivals Wasps in their historic encounter in Abu Dhabi.

The match was the first domestic fixture to be staged overseas and was played in perfect conditions in the luxurious grounds of the Emirates Palace Hotel.

Designated home side Wasps agreed to move the fixture between the two Aviva Premiership sides from Adams Park, but perhaps quickly came to regret that decision as they found themselves on the back foot under the floodlights of the temporary 5,000-seat stadium.

Karl Dickson crossed twice for the victors, with further efforts by George Lowe, Ceri Jones and Sam Smith ensuring a bonus-point win.

Tom Varndell and Joe Launchbury weighed in with the tries for Wasps.

The win sees Quins climb to the summit of Pool Four, ahead of Exeter and Bath, while Wasps stay second in Pool One with only one round of games remaining.

Quins, unbeaten in eight games coming into the match, welcomed back prop Jones back from injury but were without their international contingent, with Danny Care and Nick Easter on England duty. Mike Brown, Joe Marler, Chris Robshaw, Ugo Monye and George Robson are in the Saxons camp.

Wasps handed debuts to fly-half Mark Atkinson and back-rowers Billy Vunipola and Sam Jones. Varndell, Richard Haughton and Dominic Waldouck were also included in the absence of England stars Joe Simpson, Simon Shaw, Joe Worsley, Riki Flutey and Tim Payne.

Wasps eased into an early 3-0 lead inside two minutes, Atkinson wasting no time to register his first points for the club with an accurate penalty kick.

There was then a lengthy stoppage in play when Quins' Mark Lambert required treatment after taking a heavy hit, and left the field on the stretcher to be replaced by John Andress.

Quins quickly regrouped from the loss of Lambert and after seven minutes hit the front.

Dickson picked up the loose ball after a good surge by Gonzalo Camacho, and the number nine showed nimble footwork to cut inside and cross for a try which Nick Evans duly converted.

Wasps might have reduced the deficit to a point in the 14th minute when Atkinson narrowly missed with another penalty kick, the video referee having the final say and ruling the ball had just strayed the wrong side of the upright.

Instead Quins extended their advantage after 19 minutes, working the ball well from left to right from a scrum and creating the space for Lowe to cross.

Evans added the extras to move Quins 14-3 ahead, but Wasps bit back straight from the restart as Varndell bundled over for an unconverted try in the corner after good work in the build-up by Charlie Beech.

Evans added a penalty for Quins as the lead stretched to 17-8 by the half-hour mark.

And the gulf further increased two minutes before the interval, Quins winning the lineout close to the Wasps line and Jones bulldozing over for a score which Evans converted for a 24-8 half-time lead.

A fourth try arrived six minutes after the restart, Dickson adding his second of the match to secure a bonus point after reaching out to get the ball down having been tackled just short of the line.

Academy prospect Launchbury restored some pride for Wasps as he touched down inside the final 10 minutes, but it was Quins who fittingly completed the scoring, Smith chasing Tom Williams' long kick down field to cross for a fifth try.

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