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Match Reaction: Harlequins 20-13 Wasps

Match Reaction: Harlequins 20-13 Wasps

Harlequins produced a gritty performance to overcome rivals Wasps in Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership Big Game at Twickenham Stadium.

Alex Dombrandt crossed after just 49 seconds to hand the hosts the early initiative, but substitute Will Stuart’s second-half try saw Wasps close the gap to within three points heading into the final quarter.

The visitors continued to push in search of an unlikely comeback win, but Harlequins sealed the points when centre Joe Marchant raced in under the posts.

MAN OF THE MATCH

The scorer of the opening try after less than a minute, Quins flanker Alex Dombrandt delivered an all-round display that showcased his vast potential in full.

Dominant in collision and a key part of the hosts’ effective set-piece, the rookie forward answered every question put in front of him at HQ.

Given the game’s top billing, this had been seen as something of a test for Dombrandt. In the end, it was one that he passed with flying colours.

TRY OF THE MATCH

At times, this felt like a war of attrition as the two age-old rivals slugged it out for the ascendancy, with moments of real quality often few and far between.

With that in mind, the craft and vision shown by the returning Danny Care to scythe through the visitors’ defence with a grubber kick and set Joe Marchant clear was a fitting way for Quins to seal their win.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

Harlequins’ first try was straight off the training ground and featured some razor-sharp thinking from Dave Ward and Alex Dombrandt.

After taking in a short lineout ball, Dombrandt exchanged passes with the hooker before touching down in the corner for the fastest try of the Gallagher Premiership season so far.

It was an important moment for the flanker, who not only enhanced his burgeoning reputation on the big stage but also helped Quins start the game in perfect fashion. Just rewards for all their toil in training.

WHAT THEY SAID

Harlequins flanker Alex Dombrandt: “It’s a special moment for us. It’s not every day you get to play at HQ so we just wanted to come out and put on a show for the home crowd. Hopefully we did that. It’s great to get the win.

“We’ve got to go back in Monday with smiles on our faces and get our heads down. There’s definite areas to improve so we’ll look at that and then go to Newcastle full of confidence.”

Harlequins Head Coach Paul Gustard: “We were really resilient today. We didn’t have much ball, our attack faltered a bit, but we’ve turned into a decent defensive side.

“We probably defended for about 60 minutes and kept a very decent attacking team to one try. In that regard, I’m pleased.”

Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young: “We’ve come away with a losing bonus point so we can be happy with that, but we’re still not happy with our performances.

“We need to dig in, stick together and obviously keep playing. One win could turn it all around. That needs to come sooner rather than later.”

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