Wasps continued their remarkable form under Lee Blackett to move second in the Premiership table with a 32-23 victory over Harlequins.
Tries from Tom Willis, Thomas Young, Gabriel Oghre and Jack Willis saw the visitors to The Stoop overturn a 12-point deficit following Elia Elia’s red card for a tip tackle on Dan Robson.
Our reporter Bobby Bridge was in the stands and this is how he scored the players out of ten.
Matteo Minozzi – 7
Like a coiled spring, waiting for his moment. His kick chase forced Marcus Smith to pass to Mike Brown whose hurried kick was gobbled up by Jack Willis. Precious few opportunities to attack.
Zach Kibirige – 6
Like Minozzi, the ball seldom came his way giving him few chances to express himself. Made an important early tackle that dislodged the ball when Quins had numbers on the outside.
Malakai Fekitoa – 6
Was thwarted well as an attacking threat by Quins who wisely went around the ankles of the former All Black. Often used as a decoy.
Jimmy Gopperth – 6
Mixed bag from the experienced Kiwi with an early fumble and a pass behind Minozzi. Recovered from uncharacteristic conversion miss to kick five from five therein.
Josh Bassett – 7
There’s few better in making hard yards in congested wide channels. He made a team-best 72 metres. Strong under a high ball and a presence in defence.
Jacob Umaga – 5
Defence was exposed by for two tries. Shaky under a high ball and missed touch a couple of times from penalty awards. But, to his immense credit, didn’t allow it to deplete his confidence and provided attacking spark in second-half fightback – especially the pass in build-up to Young’s try.
Dan Robson – 8
Instrumental in Oghre’s try. Shortly after being tipped upside down by Elia Elia, he kicked a beautiful diagonal into the Quins 22. His pass for Thomas Young’s try was a moment of brilliance as the rain fell and the pressure was on. He was key to Wasps making the extra man pay.
Ben Harris – 8
Front rows sometimes get shortchanged in player ratings. But the foundations of this win were in dominance at scrumtime. Quietly goes about his business, but so effective.
Tom Cruse – 8
A real leader of this team. Busy in defence and was part of a scrum that fired. Lineout throwing strong in testing conditions.
Kieran Brookes – 8
One of his best displays in a Wasps shirt. Dominant at scrumtime, played past the hour mark and so nearly scored a very rare try. His importance in this side cannot be understated.
Will Rowlands – 8
Who knows what the future is for the lock with a move to Wales rumoured. But on this evidence, he’s a player they cannot afford to lose. Brilliant on both sides of the ball, was on Alfie Barbeary’s shoulder for break that led to Young’s try.
James Gaskell – 6
Got caught a little high for Dombrandt’s first try. Recovered there after making the rest of his 10 tackles. Stole a lineout too.
- Our ratings go from one up to 10 – with ten being the highest
- Six is not a bad score, it’s what we give for a steady performance
- Players have to play at least 20 minutes of the game to qualify
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Brad Shields – 7
Physical monster, as a secondary tackler and a latch into carries. Dog-of-war blindside work. Really hitting his straps now. Balance he provides with Willis brothers is crucial.
Jack Willis – 8.5
Unlucky to have a try chalked off but made up for it with late chargedown. Was penalised four times (source: ESPN) by Luke Pearce. Earned final turnover which Gopperth turned into three points to deny Quins a losing bonus point. Eight Premiership tries, seven in his last 11 games, 12 in all competitions this season. Made 68 metres from 21 carries. Remarkable talent.
Tom Willis – 8
Has now scored in his last four starts. His effort at The Stoop was brilliant number eight play. Offers so much on both sides of the ball and happily operates outside of focus placed on his big brother.
Replacements (must play 20 minutes or more to qualify for a rating)
Gaby Oghre (for Cruse, 47′) – 7
You wonder what will happen when Oghre, Cruse and Tommy Taylor are all fit. Proving to be a real weapon from bench. Has now scored double the amount of Premiership tries (4) than he’s had starts (2) this season.
Tom West (for Ben Harris, 43′) – 7
Continued the good work of Harris at scrumtime.
Thomas Young (for Tom Willis, 54′) – 7
What a weapon to unleash from the bench. Held width well for try and was a nightmare for Quins to deal with as legs tired with 14 men.
Jeff Toomaga-Allen (for Brookes, 62′) – N/A
Tim Cardall (for Gaskell, 76′) – NA
Alfie Barbeary (for Shields, 63′) – N/A
Subs not used: Ben Vellacott, Michael Le Bourgeois