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Match Report: Harlequins 32 Wasps 13

28 Apr 2017
Match Report: Harlequins 32 Wasps 13

Nick Evans capped a memorable final appearance for Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop by scoring 22 points as they downed Aviva Premiership Rugby league-leaders Wasps.

The former New Zealand international arrived at Harlequins in 2008 and has been a key ingredient in the club’s success over the last ten years – and against Wasps he turned back the clocks with an all-action display ahead of his summer retirement.

Heading into the encounter, Wasps knew a bonus-point win would have secured them top spot in the Premiership and guaranteed a home semi-final but now they must beat Saracens next weekend in Round 22.

Comparatively, Harlequins are firmly in the hunt for a top-six finish after Tim Visser and Joe Marchant tries – and a near flawless kicking display from Evans – delivered the goods.

On an emotional night for veteran fly-half Evans, it was the 36-year-old who opened the scoring.

The former All Black, who is the fourth highest point’s scorer in Premiership Rugby history, scored a penalty on 11 minutes after Quins won a penalty at the lineout.

In a scrappy opening quarter, the game was littered with turnovers and handling errors as both teams struggled to get an attacking foothold in the game.

Despite being under pressure for much of the opening 15 minutes, Wasps had a chance to level the scores on 13 minutes but the usually reliable Jimmy Gopperth dragged his penalty attempt wide.

Wasps have only won once at the Twickenham Stoop in the last ten seasons and that was by a single point in February 2013 and that statistic never looked like improving in the early stages after a sluggish start.

Joe Marchant created the game’s opening try-scoring opportunity but with the line in sight, England wing Marland Yarde couldn’t take the offload and the chance went begging.

Wasps scored the opening try of the game after 25 minutes – Gopperth claimed a high ball on halfway from Brown, sidestepped the Quins defence before breaking through and offloading to Dan Robson to touch down. Gopperth added the extras to leave the score 7-3.

Quins narrowed the gap to just a solitary point on 35 minutes as Kearnan Myall was penalised for a high tackle and Evans did the business off the tee.

And just 60 seconds later Evans had another shot at goal but this time the veteran All Black fluffed his lines.

But with the near last kick of the half it was Wasps who stretched their lead to 10-6 as Gopperth landed another penalty.

Harlequins opened their try account four minutes into the second half through Scotland international Tim Visser. Chris Robshaw broke through and delivered the crucial pass for Visser to score, with Evans adding the conversion to leave it at 13-10.

And it got worse on 51 minutes for Wasps as more penalties conceded at the breakdown saw Evans extend Harlequins lead with another penalty.

The job got harder for Wasps on 58 minutes as South African Willie Le Roux was sin-binned for taking Marchant out in the air.

Evans made no mistake off the tee as Harlequins stretched their lead but shortly after Gopperth replied for the visitors with a penalty of his own to leave it at 19-13 with just under 20 minutes to play.

Le Roux may have returned to the action but numerical parity did little to assist Wasps as Evans once again edged Quins nine points ahead.

With seven minutes to play England international Joe Launchbury was sin-binned on his own try-line and from the resulting penalty Evans delivered another three points.

And Quins sealed a comprehensive win in the final minute as Marchant raced through to score a try under the posts, Evans again adding the extra two points off the tee.

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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