Wasps travel to Harlequins on Monday for the seventh time since moving to Coventry in search of a win to remain in the playoffs.

The fixture has provided plenty of entertainment in that period with half being decided by seven points or less, and some famous wins against the odds for both sides.

Fly-halves have so often proved the difference in these matches with Nick Evans, Danny Cipriani and James Lang all putting in match-winning performances over the years.

There could be another interesting match-up this year at ten should Jacob Umaga and Marcus Smith – two previous apprentices for England under Eddie Jones. Another player of the fringes of England, Joe Marchant, has also enjoyed success in the fixture in recent years.

Adam Dickinson takes a look back at Wasps’ last five trip to London to face Harlequins

Harlequins 20-13 Wasps, December 29, 2018

Wasps took on Harlequins in Big Game 11 (not a sequel to the 2014 Samuel L Jackson film), but were unable to become the first away winners of the Twickenham fixture since 2014.

They were up against it from minute one when Alex Dombrandt finished a neat lineout move in the right-hand corner, and they were unable to capitalise on a yellow card for Dave Ward later in the half. The Quins hooker was banned for one game for stamping on Thomas Young by was cleared of on accusation of spitting at the Wasps flanker.

Will Stuart pushed over from close range with an hour gone to bring Wasps within three points of Quins but that was as good as it got, as five minutes later Danny Care produced a delightful kick flat to the line for Marchant to gather under the posts.

Lima Sopoaga secured a losing bonus point with a 70th minute penalty but despite late pressure, Wasps were unable to produce anything more.

This was the last of three Harlequins away matches that Wasps had in the 2018 calendar year – an unusual record surely?

Harlequins 22-44 Wasps,  February 11, 2018

An away win that ranks up there with Exeter 2019 and Saracens earlier this season, Wasps secured a bonus point win at the Stoop despite being a man down for 60 minutes.

Thomas Young got Wasps off to a bright start, the flanker taking the ball outside the 22 and sprinting to the corner, before touching down over his head when he was tackled just short of the line.



Kyle Eastmond of Wasps hight tackles Marcus Smith of Harlequins to earn a red card
Kyle Eastmond of Wasps hight tackles Marcus Smith of Harlequins to earn a red card

Kyle Eastmond then saw red for a high swinging arm tackle on Marcus Smith – not two dissimilar to Owen Farrell’s hit on Charlie Atkinson – and ten minutes later Smith pulled the strings to put his team on the board by sending Tim Visser through.

Having done all the hard work to reach halftime 15-10 ahead, it looked as if Wasps could capitulate when Aaron Morris took advantage of a defensive miscommunication to run in untouched just after the break.

But they dug in and withstood heavy pressure before cutting loose with four second-half scores – two launched their own ten-metre line – while also preventing even a bonus point for the home side.

Cipriani scored 14 points and set-up the final try with a brilliant deft grubber, for Josh Bassett in a vintage Wasps performance.

Harlequins 33-28 Wasps – January 13, 2018 (Champions Cup)

Wasps raced into a 21-0 lead with Kyle Eastmond scoring a well-worked try and Nizaam Carr touching down a 60-metre effort, and looked to be on for a fourth European quarter final in four years.

But the game turned on 35 minutes as Cipriani cleared an interception upfield, which Lang gathered and then evaded a tackle from Willie le Roux before kicking in behind for Ross Chisholm to collect and score.



Wasps’ early exit from Europe last season had a financial impact on the club

Lang himself scored just after half time and converted, but a Brendan Macken try on 55 minutes secured the bonus point and seemingly the win.

James Haskell was sent off for a high tackle on Jamie Roberts and a late flurry of scores ended when James Chisholm scored a last-minute converted try to win.

The result effectively ended Wasps’ hopes of reaching the Champions Cup knockouts although they did end their campaign on a high by dispatching Ulster.

Harlequins 32-12 Wasps – April  28, 2017

One of Wasps’ toughest games in the season in which they reached the Premiership final. They came up against a Quins team high on emotion in the penultimate game of the regular season.

Nick Evans, appearing in his final game at the Stoop, scored 22 points as Wasps were made to look distinctly ordinary in an otherwise stellar season.

They actually took the lead in the first half through Dan Robson, who finished off a Jimmy Gopperth break 25 minutes in, but that proved to be the high-point as Quins scored 26 points to Wasps’ six over the remainder of the game and ran out worthy winners.

Harlequins 26-21 Wasps – October 16, 2015



Wasps’ Elliot Daly goes through to score a try

 

Wasps’ first full season of the Ricoh Arena era began in disappointing style with Evans again proving the bane of the visitors by scoring 21 points.

Wasps took the lead as Jake Cooper-Woolley scored a bulldozing effort from five metres out – similar in part to Alfie Barbeary’s try against Worcester – but Harlequins then scored two tries, taking advantage of poor Wasps tackling.

Wasps did secure a losing bonus point, though, thanks to an Elliot Daly score with five minutes to go, the first of many times he and Christian Wade would combine for five points that season.

Harlequins 3-23 Wasps – January 17, 2015 (Champions Cup)

The key moment of the game came in the first ten minutes as first Tom Varndell tackled Marland Yarde into touch five metres from the line, and then moments later Danny Care opted to take a quick tap-and-go penalty which was then intercepted by Wade, who ran three-quarters of the pitch to score, signalling a 14-point turnaround. Joe Simpson stretched their lead with a a clever snipe from a ruck on the 22, while Harlequins only managed a single penalty on the scoreboard.

This surprise result catapulted Wasps into contention for a quarter-final spot, which they duly secured with an entertaining 20-20 draw against Leinster.





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