European Champions Cup: First-half blitz gives Wasps victory over Harlequins
Last Updated: 18/01/15 4:57pm
A first-half brace of tries against the run of play helped Wasps to a stunning 23-3 European Champions Cup upset win over Harlequins at the Stoop on Saturday.
Tries from Christian Wade and Joe Simpson inside the first quarter and ten points from the boot of Andy Goode ensured that Wasps stayed in the hunt for a quarter-final place.
Wasps now have their fate in their own hands as they face Leinster in a Pool 2 winner-takes-all clash at the Ricoh Arena in Round 6 next weekend.
Wasps opened the scoring with a penalty after Tom Williams caught Alapati Leiua high and late and Goode stepped up to convert.
It was then a period of dominance for Harlequins as they camped in the Wasps half courtesy of a Nick Easter break and chip ahead but Marland Yarde was unable to get to the ball as it bounced out and Wasps cleared from the line-out.
Quins were shortly back in the opposition half and were given a penalty which Danny Care took quickly and threw a big pass to his supporting team-mate George Lowe but the pass did not land and Christian Wade was on hand to pounce on the ball and ran 85 metres to give his team a 10-0 lead after Goode added the extras.
As the first quarter came to an end Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson caught the Quins defence napping and sniped over for a try from a scrum to give his team a dream start to a heated encounter.
Over the course of the next ten minutes Harlequins gained even more possession but were unable to register a point. Wasps were defending intelligently but eventually found themselves on the wrong side of Nigel Owens' whistle as he sent Nathan Hughes to the sin bin for repeated team infringements.
At that stage Harlequins had enjoyed 80 per cent of the territory and 74 per cent possession which meant their frustration was furthered when they still hadn't scored in the period with an extra man as the half ended at 17-0 to the visitors.
Wasps were also the first team to score in the second half as they extended their lead through Goode, but Ben Botica hit back for the hosts to make it 20-3 with Quins’ first points of the match.
The woes of the hosts were then increased as Elliot Daly stepped up to convert a penalty from his own half in the 54th minute, which appeared to rob Harlequins of any further momentum as the game drew towards the final quarter.
With the job done for Wasps and Harlequins seemingly unable to get into the game the score remained unchanged as Wasps claimed a vital win in the penultimate round of pool phase.