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Wasps 24-18 Harlequins

Wasps (21) 24
Tries: Penalty, Bishay Pens: Cipriani 3, Walder Con: Cipriani

Harlequins (3) 18
Tries: Penalty, Care Con: N. Evans Pens: N. Evans, Malone

By Mark Ashenden

Riki Flutey
Wasps' Riki Flutey was a handful for Quins for much of the afternoon

Danny Cipriani helped Wasps to a well-earned win over Harlequins in their Premiership clash at Adams Park.

The England fly-half disappointed with two charge downs but 11 points with his boot and a hand in Chris Bishay's try moved his side to eighth in the table.

A first half penalty try put Wasps in cruise control at half-time as Serge Betsen sniffed out any Quins danger.

Danny Care hit back with a fine try to set up a nervy finale but Wasps kept battling and fully deserved their win.

Whether it was the watching England manager Martin Johnson or a holiday in the Caribbean with girlfriend Kelly Brook, Cipriani looked like a man on a mission.

His two poor charge downs resulting from slow feet should not be forgotten but, overall, his performance was excellent with the England man's hands and boot guiding Wasps to a welcome victory.

Sloppy mistakes from the visitors allowed Cipriani to take charge early on with three penalty kicks in the opening 16 minutes.

Every time Harlequins had the ball the Wasps players hunted them down, with Simon Shaw and Betsen, in particular, in menacing form.

On 22 minutes the lead was further extended with the award of a penalty try with the Quins scrum deemed to have turned illegally.

Nick Evans gave Quins a brief glimmer of hope with their first points from a penalty, but it was short-lived.

606: DEBATE
Loftgroov

With the interval beckoning, Wasps burst forward and a smooth finger-tip pass by Cipriani handed the ball to winger Bishay who dived over to finish a majestic move.

Quins looked a little hungrier in the second half and their pressure paid off on 53 minutes as they won a penalty try following a scrum infringement.

Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards said before the match his side never gave up and in the final 20 minutes they showed signs of a miraculous recovery.

Care picked up the ball following a line-out and his electric pace and a delightful chip over the last two defenders set him up to dive over to set up a tense finale.

With Nick Evans missing the conversion, Wasps were able to steady the nerves of the home supporters, and a good attacking spell was rewarded when Dave Walder, on for Cipriani, sent his penalty over.

Betsen and Riki Flutey raised their energy levels once again and helped Wasps to close the game out with the last piece of action seeing Chris Malone's kick secure a losing bonus point for Quins.

A good afternoon for Wasps, although coach Shaun Edwards will be concerned with replacement flanker Tom Rees, who limped off near the end.


Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards:

"You have to question how we got to that point at half time.

"There were 10 free-kicks or penalties in the scrum area and you have to question whether we -Wasps and Harlequins - are as bad as people make us out to be or whether somebody else got it wrong on the day."


Wasps: van Gisbergen, Bishay, Waldouck, Flutey, Voyce, Cipriani, Reddan, French, Webber, Vickery, Shaw, Skivington, Leo, Betsen, Haskell, Rees.

Replacements: Walder for Cipriani (67), Ward for Webber (62), Rees for Skivington (69), Birkett for Leo (56), Beech for Rees (71).

Not Used: Simpson, Mitchell.

Sin Bin: Shaw (58).

Harlequins: Brown, T. Williams, Tiesi, Turner-Hall, Monye, N. Evans, Care, Croall, Brooker, Ross, Percival, Robson, Robshaw, Skinner, Easter.

Replacements: Malone for Turner-Hall (46), Barry for Monye (35), J. Evans for Percival (57), Jones for Robshaw (35), Guest for Easter (20).

Not Used: Lambert, Gomarsall.

Sin Bin: Croall (33).

Att: 10,000

Ref: Sean Davey (RFU).

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see also
McGeechan upset by England rules
04 Jan 09 |  English
Guinness Premiership photos
04 Jan 09 |  Rugby Union
Leicester 24-22 Bath
04 Jan 09 |  English
Sale 31-3 Wasps
26 Dec 08 |  English
Harlequins 26-26 Leicester
27 Dec 08 |  English


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