Premiership: Wasps 17-49 Harlequins – Quins earn third bonus-point away win


Fans are still not allowed during lockdown at the 32,000 seater Ricoh Arena, the biggest regular home of the 12 Premiership clubs
Wasps (3) 17
Tries: Kibirige, T Willis Cons: Gopperth 2 Pen: Sopoaga
Harlequins (20) 49
Tries: Evans, Care, Dombrandt, Lynagh, Lang, Penalty try Cons: Smith 4 Pens: Smith 3

Harlequins kept up their stunning away record in the Premiership this season as they swept Wasps aside for a third bonus-point triumph on their travels.

Quins have not won at home yet in three attempts, but scored six tries to earn their biggest win of the campaign.

Will Evans and Danny Care helped them to a 20-3 half-time lead bolstered by Alex Dombrandt and Louis Lynagh tries.

Zach Kibirige and Tom Willis replied before James Lang scored for Quins, followed by an added-time penalty try.

The game ended in the red zone just when it seemed the final action was done as Edinburgh-bound Lang cashed in a dropped pass from Jimmy Gopperth to enjoy a 50-metre run to the line.

Marcus Smith landed the conversion, his seventh successful kick for an individual 17-point haul, but referee Luke Pearce was not done, allowing play to continue – and his late penalty try award for collapsing a maul brought a sixth try for Quins.

That matched the six from their first away win of the season at Northampton – as Quins interim boss Billy Millard enjoyed victory in his first game in charge following the surprise departure of head of rugby Paul Gustard during the Covid-cancelled European break.

Gopperth landed both his conversions for Wasps , to add to Lima Sopoaga’s first-half penalty – but it was a poor showing by a side badly missing their four players on England Six Nations squad duty, Paolo Odogwu, Dan Robson, Jack Willis and Joe Launchbury.

Head coach Lee Blackett made nine changes to the side which beat Bath last time out – and the only consolation was winger Kibirige, last season’s top scorer, going in for his first try of the season as Wasps’; five-match winning run in all competitions came to an end.

Harlequins’ third win of the season – their other away game at Worcester was cancelled because of Covid-19 – lifts them level on points with Coventry-based Wasps, their old London rivals.

Although Quins have a superior points difference, Wasps remain fifth in the table, by virtue of more games won, four to three.

Wasps head coach Lee Blackett:

“It was a really bad day at the office. I wasn’t expecting that. I thought, after a sluggish start to the season, we had been on the way up, but we were off the pace and second best in every area. Quins were outstanding.

“I sincerely hope that we will get a reaction next week. We don’t become a bad team overnight but we will have to have a keen look at why we performed like that.

“We always want players to reach their full potential by playing international rugby and that’s always been our philosophy and whilst they are away we focus on the progress of the next group.”

Harlequins and England scrum-half Danny Care:

“A good man lost his job last week and since then there has been a lot written about the club, so we needed to bounce back.

“We needed a reaction and we decided to put an emphasis on ball in hand. It was important that our big boys Alex Dombrandt, Andre Esterhuizen and Joe Marler got us over the gain line and they succeeded in doing so, which made it a lot easier for us to keep the ball alive.

“We’ve let ourselves down over the past few years and we are all responsible for our failings. This was a good start. But one swallow doesn’t make us a top team.”

Wasps: Sopoaga; Kibirige, Fekitoa, Gopperth, Minozzi; Umaga, Porter; McIntyre, Cruse, Toomaga-Allen, Rowlands, Gaskell, Shields, Young (capt), T Willis.

Replacements: Taylor, Harris, Brookes, Cardall, Morris, Wolstenholme, Le Bourgeois, Miller.

Harlequins: Brown; Lynagh, Marchant, Esterhuizen, Morris; Smith, Care; Marler, Baldwin, Louw, Symons, Lewies (capt), White, Evans, Dombrandt.

Replacements: Elia, Els, Kerrod, Young, De Carpentier, Landajo, Lang, Green.

Referee: Luke Pearce.

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