Harlequins 26-21 Wasps: Quins survive late fightback to win
Veteran Nick Evans scored Harlequins opening before totaling a crucial 21-point haul
George Lowe also crossed the whitewash for Quins
Jake Cooper-Wooley had given Wasps an early lead with the opening try of the game
Wasps pressed late on but had to settle for just a losing bonus point
Harlequins withstood late pressure from Wasps to ensure victory in the opening round of the Aviva Premiership at The Stoop on Friday night.
Wasps hadn’t won an opening day fixture since 2011 and looked destined to stop the rot early on after prop Jake Cooper-Wooley forced his way over.
However, it was the last time they would lead as after 24 minutes Nick Evans slid over to score following a delicate chip over the top from Karl Dickson to give the hosts the lead.
Quins widened their advantage when George Lowe crossed before Evans kicked his fourth penalty with seven minutes remaining to put the hosts clear, 26-14.
Wasps, however, set the game up for a grandstand finish when Christian Wade and Brendan Macken combined excellently before offloading to Elliot Daly, who finished well before Ruaridh Jackson converted to cut the gap to just five points.
The visitors then proceeded to press, but Harlequins stood firm to send their fans home happy. Quins will be hoping to build on this result next time out when they face Leicester Tigers, who finished third last term.
Next up for the Wasps is a tough home game against Bath. They will be hoping to put this narrow loss behind them to progress on last season’s sixth-place finish.
After the game, Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Sheahad said: “I am disappointed that we didn’t win by more in the end because I thought we dominated the game and played some really good stuff.
“That’s as well as we’ve played first game of the season in the six seasons I’ve been here.”
Dai Young, director of rugby at Wasps, was full of praise for the opposition after their dominant performance.
“You’ve got to give Quins a lot of credit. They were far more clinical than us.
“I thought we had a lot of possession in the right areas, we had something like six minutes inside their 22 (in one spell) and came away with very little.
“We didn’t play well, you’ve got to play well to get the victory here.”
Man Of The Match: Nick Evans
The Harlequins fly-half was exceptional in the win against the Wasps, controlling the pace of the game and putting the points on the board to effectively give his team the victory. The 35-year-old was accurate from the tee, kicking vital penalties at critical stages of the game as well as scoring a superb try.
Harlequins: Lindsay-Hague; Yarde, Lowe, Sloan, Walker; Evans (capt), Dickson; Lambert, Ward, Jones, Horwill, Twomey, Clifford, Wallace, Luamanu.
Replacements: Gray, Marler, Sinckler, Matthews, Easter, Tebaldi, Botica, Brown.
Wasps: Miller; Wade, Daly, Macken, Bassett; Gopperth, Simpson; Mullan (capt), Johnson, Cooper-Woolley, Cannon, Gaskell, Jones, Smith, Hughes.
Replacements: Festuccia, McIntyre, Swainston, Myall, Young, Robson, Jackson, Tagicakibau.