Throwback Thursday: Five Harlequins v Wasps classics
They are now over 100 miles apart but Harlequins and Wasps still have one of Aviva Premiership Rugby’s biggest rivalries.
The two clubs once ruled London and, though Wasps continue to thrive in Coventry, that history still remains.
The latest instalment of their rivalry takes place at the Stoop on Sunday so, to whet the appetite, here’s five classic matches from the archives.
Wasps 40-42 Harlequins – 2012
As defending champions, Harlequins wanted to make a statement on the opening day of the 2012 season and they just did that with a thrilling come-from-behind win.
Wasps, on the up under Dai Young, burst out of the blocks at the London Double Header with tries from Christian Wade and Tom Varndell putting them 20-0 ahead.
Tom Williams replied for Harlequins but the lightning-fast Wade added a second and when Tim Payne crossed they were 40-13 up.
👴 “There’s not a lot to go on…we’re both receding!”
👥 Watch now as brothers Ross and James Chisholm go head to head
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) February 7, 2018
But Harlequins showed why they were champions. Mike Brown scored twice before Tom Guest and Nick Evans crossed as the decibel levels at the home of rugby went through the roof.
And, as was so often the case, it was Evans who won the match with a late penalty – splitting the upright and securing one of Quins’ greatest ever comeback wins.
Harlequins 33-28 Wasps – 2018
You don’t have to rewind your memory too far back to find the last time these two behemoths did battle – and what a game it was.
Wasps, so desperate for a victory that would have put them on the brink of the Champions Cup quarter-finals, trekked to the Stoop last month and, again, built a sizeable lead.
England’s Kyle Eastmond dotted down in the corner to get the ball rolling before big No.8 Nizaam Carr turned the ball over and bolted 50 metres clear to score.
Ashley Johnson added a third but Harlequins quickly hit back through Ross Chisholm and James Lang.
Brendan Macken got a fourth for Wasps but the hosts would not lie down and Danny Care and Elia Elia crossed to make it a two-point game, before Chisholm powered through for the winning points.
Harlequins 16-17 Wasps – 2013
Games between Harlequins and Wasps are often tight and this match was the first of three in a row where the margin of victory was just one point.
Dai Young: “This block of four games will pretty much determine where we’re going to sit in the league”
— Wasps (@WaspsRugby) February 7, 2018
Yet again, Wasps burst ahead with tries from Tom Varndell and Christian Wade but this one time there was a different ending.
Matt Hooper had crossed for Harlequins but Nick Evans missed a late chance to steal it as he missed a penalty.
Wasps 29 -29 Harlequins – 2010
Wasps against Harlequins and opening-day thrillers go hand-in-hand and there was another equally electrifying barnstormer in 2010.
Mark van Gisbergen and Nick Evans hit seven kicks each and it was the Wasps man who kept his nerve with a superb penalty to ensure they got a share of the spoils.
Andy Powell, enjoying a Wasps debut, and Tom Varndell got the tries but Harlequins hit back through Mike Brown and Nick Easter.
Harlequins thought they won it but Van Gisbergen kept his cool at the death.
Wasps 21-24 Harlequins – 2017
Wasps are imperious at the Ricoh Arena and Harlequins travelled north in September knowing their hosts had not lost in 20 home games.
But 18-year-old fly-half Marcus Smith produced a performance that was mature beyond his years as John Kingston’s men left with the points.
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Wade put Wasps ahead but a yellow card for James Haskell let the visitors in and Marland Yarde dotted down.
Charlie Walker and Tom Cruse exchanged tries to leave it at 21-21 before Smith won it at the death with a nerveless penalty.