Aviva Premiership: Harlequins battle past London Wasps
Last Updated: 20/09/14 5:44pm
Harlequins rebounded from last week's 39-0 hammering by Saracens with a battling 26-23 victory over Wasps at Twickenham Stoop.
England internationals Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown ran in second-half tries after a 13-9 interval deficit was transformed into a 26-13 lead.
Robshaw's try and committed performance ended a week notable for speculation over his future as England captain and openside after being outfought by Saracens' Will Fraser.
Fly-half Ben Botica, deputising for the injured Nick Evans, landed three penalties and two conversions and scrum-half Danny Care weighed in with a drop goal.
Wasps were resurgent in the final quarter with tries from Tom Varndell and Thomas Young reeling in their opponents, but their fightback ran out of time.
The result was the reaction Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea was seeking after admitting his players were "shot to pieces" after the Saracens rout.
It is hard to see them challenging for the Premiership title, but it was a creditable win against opponents armed with a confidence boosting defeat of champions Northampton six days earlier.
Quins were criticised for their lack of intensity against Saracens and they clearly wanted to restore their reputation at the expense of Wasps.
A fiery opening saw locks Charlie Matthews and Joe Launchbury grapple on the floor in the second flashpoint between the packs in as many minutes.
But Wasps succeeded in absorbing the pressure and snatched a crucial turnover close to their goalline after a smart pass from Joe Marler sent George Robson rampaging forwards.
And when they were offered sight of the whitewash themselves in the 15th minute they took their chance with Guy Thompson touching down.
Varndell, try-scorer against Northampton on Sunday, opened up Quins' defence before the blindside was skillfully exploited with Elliot Daly sending Thompson over.
Successive Botica penalties narrowed the gap in an absorbing contest between well-matched teams, but Andy Goode replied with six points to make amends for his poor kicking out of hand.
Botica had the final say of the first half by steering the ball between the posts and six minutes into the second Quins exploded into life.
Waves of runners were launched at a backpeddling defence that was beginning to splinter until Care varied the tactics by chipping over the top.
Christian Wade should have touched the ball down over his own line - and replays suggest he may have applied downward pressure - before it squirted out to Robshaw who scored the simplest of tries.
Four minutes later and Quins surged further ahead with Brown collecting Botica's chip via a rebound off the uprights and spinning over.
Botica, who had slotted both conversions, was tripped by Kearnan Myall after his kick so the Wasps lock was dispatched to the sin-bin.
Quins were now in full stride, playing with tempo and intent, and kept the scoreboard moving with a well-taken drop-goal from Care.
The 2012 champions lost concentration in the 59th minute, however, allowing scrum-half Joe Simpson to turn a three-on-one overlap into a try for Varndell.
A grandstand finish was set up when Wasps brought their forward power to bare at a line-out catch and drive that ended when Thomas Young barged over in the 77th minute, but Quins clung on to their lead.