European Champions Cup: Harlequins 3-23 Wasps

Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson scored a fine solo try for the visitors
Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson scored a fine solo try for the visitors
Harlequins (0) 3
Pen: Botica
Wasps (17) 23
Tries: Wade, Simpson Cons: Goode 2 Pens: Goode 2, Daly

Wasps continued their European Cup revival as they humbled hosts Harlequins to set up a Pool Two decider against Leinster next Saturday.

Quins started well until a poor pass gave speedy winger Christian Wade the chance to race clear for Wasps.

Scrum-half Joe Simpson then scored a fine solo try before Andy Goode's boot made it 17-0 at half-time.

Ben Botica finally landed a Quins penalty but two more from Wasps meant the visitors were never threatened.

Wasps will welcome Leinster, who thrashed Castres 50-10, to the Ricoh Arena next weekend, when the Irish province will go into the game two points clear at the top of the table.

European Champions Cup Pool Two
TeamPWDLFABPts
Leinster540112881218
Wasps530213585416
Harlequins53028880113
Castres50056717211

When Wasps lost their first two matches of the tournament, including a 23-16 defeat at home by Quins, the knockout stages looked like an impossible dream.

But, after a sticky start to their season they have improved week by week and since moving to their new home in Coventry, they are beginning to look more like the club who have twice been champions of Europe.

Until the Londoners moved to the Midlands last month these two clubs had shared a local rivalry that stretched back to Victorian times, but what looked like being a close encounter on the scoreboard ended up being an increasingly easy workout for the visitors.

Quins started well and enjoyed dominance of territory and possession but they could not break down the committed Wasps defence and when home scrum-half Danny Care took a quick tap penalty and tried to spark something, it was the visitors who were the beneficiaries.

George Lowe could not take the England squad member's high pass and the loose ball fell to the most dangerous runner on the field.

Harlequins centre Matt Hooper is tackled by James Haskell and Alapati Leuia of Wasps
Wasps captain James Haskell (centre) enjoyed a big game in the Wasps back row

Wade was never going to be caught on his 60m sprint and, when Wasps number nine Simpson dummied and sizzled through a gap at the edge of the ruck and went over untouched soon after, the visitors had a handsome lead.

Goode converted both tries and Wasps, despite being on the back foot for much of the half, led 17-0.

Quins had gone close on several occasions as Jack Clifford and Nick Easter made holes with their powerful running and skilful offloading, but the longer the match wore on the more comfortable Wasps looked.

Goode extended the lead to 20 points after a 50m counter-attacking run from full-back Rob Miller before Botica finally got the hosts on the board.

That left Quins 35 minutes to mount a fightback but they were powerless as the Wasps pack began to dominate, with captain James Haskell prominent in attack and defence, and a booming 50m penalty from Daly was the icing on the cake for the newly-minted Midlanders.

Wasps' Alapati Leuia and Rob Miller gang up on Jack Clifford
Young Harlequins flanker Jack Clifford had a big game, despite the attentions of the Wasps defence
Danny Care waits to put the ball in for Quins at a scrum
The longer the match went on the more dominant Wasps became in the scrum

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea:

"It would be safe to say that the scoreline was slightly unfair on us.

"We'll just have to make sure we do what we need to do out in Castres if we can because it's a tough place to go."

Wasps boss Dai Young:

"We knew there was no reason why we couldn't come here and win. It's really exciting bringing Leinster to the Ricoh next week. We're hoping for somewhere near a full house.

"The boys are all ready and really excited about it. It's a nice place for us to be, going into the last round with a realistic chance of going through."

Harlequins: Brown; Yarde, Hopper, Lowe, Williams; Botica, Care; Marler, Gray, Collier, Matthews, Robson, Clifford, Robshaw, Easter.

Replacements: Walker for Williams (49), Evans for Yarde (51), Buchanan for Gray (62), J Chisholm for Clifford (70). Twomey for Matthews (73), Marfo for Collier (78)

Not Used: Lambert, Dickson.

Wasps: Miller; Wade, Daly, Leiua, Varndell; Goode, Simpson; Mullan, Shervington, Cittadini, B Davies, Myall, Johnson, Haskell, Hughes.

Replacements: Gaskell for Myall (34), Cooper-Woolley for Cittadini (51), Festuccia for Shervington (60), Thompson for Johnson (65), Jacobs for Leiua (70), McIntyre for Mullan (70).

Not Used: Lozowski, Masi.

Sin Bin: Hughes (30).

Attendance: 12,300

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales).

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