Harlequins back to winning ways in Wasps victory
By Rory Poulter
24th Feb 2022 | Local Sport
As the remaining impact of Storm Eunice passed by Twickenham, Harlequins hosted top four Gallagher Premiership rivals Wasps in the Club's third annual LGBTQ+ Pride match.
The visitors suffered an early blow in South West London, with starting hooker Tom Cruse forced from the field due to injury within the first minute of play.
Looking to make the most of Wasps' disruption, Quins raced into an early lead after veteran scrum-half Danny Care took a shrewd quick tap penalty within Wasps' half, quickly distributing the ball left to see Harlequins Academy man Oscar Beard wrestle his way over by the corner flag for the first score of the day. A tough conversion was missed by fly-half Will Edwards.
Returning fire just three minutes later, Wasps were offered their first shot at points for the day, with fullback Jacob Umaga slotting a penalty directly in front of Quins' posts after the home side were pulled up by referee Craig Maxwell-Keys.
With Quins' lead reduced to two points, the men in the Famous Quarters were lucky that a second Umaga penalty 18 minutes later failed to hit the mark.
After some impressive defensive displays from both teams, each repelling the opposing on the try line, Quins were the side to break the deadlock as Scotland international Huw Jones benefitted from a deft pop pass from centre partner Andre Esterhuizen two metres from the line.
A successful conversion from Edwards allowed Quins to extend their lead to nine. The Premiership champions had looked to head into the changing rooms with a more comfortable advantage but were repelled by a determined Wasps defence to leave the half-time score 12-9 to Quins.
Determined to add that third score, Quins struck shortly into the second-half, with hulking second row Matt Symons running a hard to the line five metres out before sending a basketball-style pass inside to the supporting Cadan Murley who was allowed run in untouched. The conversion from Edwards was good, seeing Quins head into a 19-3 lead.
The fourth and bonus-point securing score came immediately after. Momentum was first gained as Edwards collected his own kick and spun his way through Wasps defenders down the middle of the field, leaving the opposition's defence backtracking at a rate of knots.
The ball was spread wide, with Beard making serious inroads down the left touchline before giant centre Esterhuizen crashed his way over for the score. No conversion for Edwards this time, but Quins held a 21-point lead with just over half an hour to play.
Wasps rallied as the hour mark approached. Once again fighting their way to the try line the men from Coventry made no mistakes in scoring this time as number eight Tom Willis stretched to dot down for a first try of the day. Umaga added the conversion, reducing Quins' lead to 14.
Despite striking their return blow via Willis, Wasps struggled to control the game, with Quins scoring their fifth through wing Louis Lynagh as the England squad member sliced clean through the Wasps defence after claiming an offload from returning fly-half Tommy Allan. No conversion for Allan as the ball drifted wide, returning the side to their 19-point buffer with a quarter of an hour to play.
Wasps went down fighting at The Stoop, claiming two tries in the final five minutes via centre Sam Spink and reserve prop Jeff Toomaga-Allen to secure a losing bonus point and a 29-24 final score.
Next up for Quins, Worcester Warriors away under the Friday night lights.
Final score: Harlequins 29-24 Wasps