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Wasps v Harlequins European Champions Cup

By Bedfordshre Boy
October 26 2017

Travelled to Coventry more with hope than expectation as my feeling is that the Wasps side function much more effectively with a half back pairing of Robson and Gopperth rather than Simpson and Cipriani. At least we were travelling with a pretty much unchanged side from the previous week, or were as  on the day we are without Collier and Merrick due to injury and Marland Yarde due to club disciplinary issues

So a first start for Phil Swainston against his old club and no longer a need to discuss the merits of Walker over Visser (and vice versa) as they were both in the starting line up. Yet again looking forward to Francis Saili getting a run out. Not sure how many Quins supporters travelled to the game, no more than a hundred I would imagine, so we were a small proportion of the declared 12600 sitting in the cold stadium meaning it was about a third full, hardly conducive to a decent atmosphere. No doubt we will have the pleasure of the drummers attempting to rouse the crowd, not at all like the fans generated atmosphere at High Wycombe or Loftus Road.

Marcus Smith got the game under way but not a good start for Quins as following a couple of penalties to Wasps they found themselves defending a line out 20 metres from their line. Wasps win the throw and set up as if going for a rolling maul but the ball is passed Robson to Nathan Hughes who breaks down the blind side, passes inside to Robson who crosses the line to touch down. A good conversion by Goperth and Quins are railing by seven points after only 5 minutes of the match. Not a great start but worse was to come when from a Quins line out inside the Wasps 22 the ball is passed to Smith whose attempted kick to the left hand corner is charged down by Gopperth. It was obviously a planned move by Quins with three players lurking together on the wing meaning that when Wasps hacked the ball to the Quins goal line there was nobody at home so it was left to Marcus Smith to try to defend against the on rushing Wasps attack. Christian Wade won the race and touched the ball down leaving a straightforward kick by Gopperth to bring the score to Wasps 14, Quins 0 after only 8 minutes.

Quins set up a period of attack from the restart and the Wasps blitz defence is at last penalised for off side allowing Smith to get Quins first points on the board with 12 minutes on the clock. A very strange match so far and scoreline in no way reflecting the play, Quins down but far from out (at this stage at least). Wasps restart kick goes deep into the Quins half and Smith clears the ball to touch for a Wasps line out on the halfway line. Wasps are penalised at the line out, Smith to kick to the Wasps 22 metre line allowing Quins to press with Danny Care eventually touching down but the TMO declares no try due to obstruction. Despite the Wasps penalty, Quins continue to press but yet again poor handling, this time by James Horwell, sees the move break down. Lots of big hits and loose play by both teams when play is called to a halt for another TMO decision as Charlie Walker up ends Jimmy Gopperth in the tackle, fortunately penalty only but once again Quins find themselves defending a Wasps attacking line out. This was the prelude to more bad news as Mr TMO is once again asked to adjudicate, this time “was a knock on by Mike Brown deliberate”? What puzzles me the most is the amount of time it takes the officials to make a decision in these cases as it seems pretty clear, if you put one arm out and intercept the pass and the ball goes forward it is a yellow card, regardless whether or not the act was deliberate. Eventually Brown was sent to the bin and to make matters worse, from the line out catch and drive prop Johnson touched down for Wasps third try of the day which was once again converted by Gopperth. So, 33 minutes gone and Quins are 18 points and one player adrift. Nonetheless the remaining time up to the half time break sees Quins camped on the Wasps line all to no avail despite at least three penalties against the home side for offside, none of which seemed to have encouraged the referee to issue a warning (perhaps those watching the game on TV know differently). Wasps eventually get the ball in to touch to end the half which sets off another bout of pushing and shoving the main culprits seemingly Johnson and Marler. Sometimes difficult to view things completely dispassionately but it seemed to me that Wasps certainly had the rub of the green during he first forty minutes.

Can you explain that sir?

Joe Gray doesn`t make it onto the field for the second half so Ward moved to the front row being replaced by Ben Glynn on the flank. Not the best of starts for Quins as Horwell drops the kick off ball from Wasps but luckily Quins get a free kick from the resulting scrum as nobody hooked the ball. Quins kick into the Wasps half and following a bit of aerial ping pong Quins are eventually awarded a scrum just outside of the Wasps 22 when Willie Le Roux fumbles a pass. The Quins scrum eventually led to a 5 metre line out to Quins but the attack once again broke down for holding on, another chance gone begging.

Nine minutes into the half and the referee once again calls upon the services of the TMO for what appears to be a deliberate knock on by Charlie Matthews but their attention quickly focuses on an incident involving Joe Marler. After the first TV replay I am a bit surprised that the officials could hear themselves think with the “Off, Off, Off” chants from the home crowd, a chant heard far too often at grounds these days, even at The Stoop. I must say that in real time it was difficult to see what the fuss was about but with each slow motion replay it looked worse and worse for Marler who definitely made contact around the head of Rowlands with his forearm. The inevitable outcome was another 10 minute period of Quins playing with 14 men.

Wasps kick to touch from the penalty but the line out ball is overthrown allowing Quins to clear the immediate threat and as Wasps run the ball back at Quins Danny Care almost has a clear run to the Wasps line but knocks the ball forward during the pass intercept. The next scrum on 51 minutes sees Mark Lambert replace Ben Glynn and Wasps push Quins off of the ball for a penalty which is too far out for Gopperth to attempt a kick at goal which he successfully does moments later as Quins are penalised at the line out. The first points of the second half sees Wasps increase their lead over the visitors to 21 points with 26 minutes of play remaining. Wasps opening up now and an attack down the right wing involving Daley, Wade and Robson breaks down following a loose final pass. Quins are next to attack when a break by Dave Ward sees him well into the Wasps 22 but yet another wayward pass from Quins recycled ball allows Gopperth to get to the ball and boot it to the other end of the pitch for Wade to chase. You would have put money on Wade scoring but Charlie Walker chases back and beats him to the ball which is secured as Tim Visser makes a long clearance kick to touch inside of the Wasps half.

To a chorus of boos Marler and Glynn return to the field and Quins make further changes with Lewis and Saili replacing Care and Roberts. Quins get possession from the line out and Ward once again makes ground and as the ball is recycled a neat pass from Robshaw to Saili sees him race in from 15 metres to score under the posts after being on the pitch for a matter of seconds. A straightforward conversion by Smith, Wasps 24 Quins 10 as the game enters the final quarter. Haskell and Mullen are replaced for Wasps and Dino Lamb comes on for Charlie Matthews which sees Ben Glynn move into the second row before the restart. With 15 minutes to go Wasps add three more points to their total from the boot of Gopperth following a succession of Quins penalties and yet another penalty awarded to Wasps from the restart allows them to kick to the corner for a line out 7 metres from the Quins line. Another penalty to Wasps from the catch and drive as the ball is moved left and a huge pass from Daley to Josh Bassett on the left wing sees him cross the line for the try bonus score. Gopperth makes the conversion look easy so surely it is game over for Quins as Wasps move on to 34 points with time running out.

Tim Swiel replaces Marcus Smith followed a few minutes later by four or five replacements for Wasps; didn`t manage to catch all of the names as it becomes a bit difficult watching the game, making notes as well as taking pictures. Quins looking lively again with some good breaks and offloads but is all to no avail as Wade intercepts a Glynn pass inside his own half to run in and score. This time Miller adds the extra two points and Wasps are out of sight with the score at Wasps 41 Quins 10 with only eight minutes remaining. Both teams continue to throw the ball around and Quins continue to concede penalties and with less than a minute left to play Francis Saili is injured in a tackle on Launchbury and is left motionless on his back. Saili is attended to by the Quins medical team for over ten minutes before being stretchered off the field to generous applause from the diminishing crowd. You would think that in these circumstances with Wasps out of sight on the scoreboard, with 45 seconds left to play and the players standing around in the cold for more than 10 minutes that it would be possible to call time early.

Really difficult to know what to make of the game as Quins always had an uphill battle after conceding the two early trys. Certainly you are always going to struggle playing with 14 men for a quarter of the match and I totally lost count of the penalties conceded. Wasps were made to look better than they are at the moment and scored a number of opportunist trys but at the end of the day they all count. Seems to me that the number of TMO interventions these days is very much on the increase resulting in even more game stoppages which becomes very frustrating all round.


Not a pretty sight.

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Wasps v Harlequins European Champions Cup (IP Logged)
26/10/2017 22:43
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017:11:06:12:07:05 by DOK.

Re: Wasps v Harlequins European Champions Cup
NicoWilson (IP Logged)
27/10/2017 10:36
Good write up. Thanks

Re: Wasps v Harlequins European Champions Cup
gregory p (IP Logged)
27/10/2017 16:14
Crikey, that's was a tough one to sit through. Thanks for the write up and let's hope for something more watchable tomorrow.

Re: Wasps v Harlequins European Champions Cup
DOK. (IP Logged)
27/10/2017 17:51
And let's hope for a scribe for tomorrow - any offers? smiling smiley

Re: Wasps v Harlequins European Champions Cup
Bedfordshire Boy (IP Logged)
28/10/2017 11:45
You can put me down for the game today DOK as nobody else has stepped forward.

Re: Wasps v Harlequins European Champions Cup
DOK. (IP Logged)
28/10/2017 12:14
Thanks BB

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