01192018

Haskell sent off as Wasps’ European Champions Cup hopes disappear

James Chisholm

Ross Chisholm scored for Harlequins

Harlequins came from behind to all but end Wasps’ hopes of qualifying for the European Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Wasps raced into a 21-0 lead and their fourth try after 55 minutes gave them a 16-point advantage against the bottom team in Pool One.

James Haskell was sent off for Wasps after a late flurry of tries saw Quins trail 28-26 with 10 minutes left.

Then came James Chisholm’s 80th-minute winner for Quins for their first victory in the competition this season.

One negative for Quins and England was an eye injury to full-back Mike Brown.

“Mike’s got a bang on the eye and was reporting slight blurred vision, so we just wanted to make sure he’s all right with that. He’s gone to get a check-up,” said Quins director of rugby John Kingston.

While Wasps are not mathematically out of contention, they are third in Pool One on 12 points, four points behind second-placed La Rochelle.

The French side were beaten 20-13 by Ulster in the early game, with the Irish side moving to the top of the group on 17 points after the win at the Kingspan Stadium.

Next week’s final round of fixtures sees Wasps host Ulster and Harlequins travel to La Rochelle.

But a bonus-point win for Wasps at the Ricoh Arena may not be enough for them to earn them a spot as one of the best second-placed teams.

Haskell sees red

James Haskell<!–

Haskell caught Roberts with a late shoulder charge in the 76th minute

Haskell’s England comeback has been thrown into doubt after his red card for a late shoulder tackle on Jamie Roberts’ head in the final minutes of the game.

The flanker, who was dropped for the autumn internationals, took part in England’s recent training camp at Brighton ahead of the Six Nations.

Haskell will appear before a European Rugby disciplinary panel next week, with the entry point for this sort of offence between four and six weeks.

Tweeting after the game Haskell, 32, said: “What’s done is done, but just want to publicly apologise to Jamie Roberts. Never my intention to hurt another player. Got my height wrong, paid the price, which happens. You know me, never one to do anything subtly. Credit to Harlequins and apologies to Wasps fans.”

England begin the defence of their Six Nations title against Italy on 4 February.

“I haven’t had time to really look at the tackle, but if it’s a shoulder to the face or head he will get banned. You can’t hide away from that,” said Wasps director of rugby Dai Young.

“There was certainly no intent, he just tried to get off the line to shut the pass down. There wasn’t much wrong with the timing.

“It’s where the shoulder makes contact and that will determine whether he gets banned or for how long.”

Young hopes that Haskell’s strong disciplinary record – he has been banned for a total of five weeks for a head-butting incident in 2008 and punching in 2012 – will count in his favour.

“His track record should go in his favour, but only time will tell. James is really disappointed. He stood up and apologised to the player straight away,” Young added.

Wasps fall apart after perfect start

Young said his side needed two wins from their two remaining fixtures and was even targeting a bonus-point victory along the way.

His side looked to be cruising to that goal at the Twickenham Stoop after half an hour.

After Quins prop Lewis Boyce was sent to the sin-bin for a late tackle after 16 minutes, Wasps scored two quick tries with their numerical advantage.

First Danny Cipriani released Kyle Eastmond to score in the corner, then number eight Nizaam Carr capitalised on turnover ball to score from 50 metres out.

The pressure did not stop with Boyce returning to the field, as Ashley Johnson scored, driving out from the back of a rolling maul.

But the warning signs were there as Quins finally got on the scoreboard.

Ross Chisholm chased down and collected James Lang’s punt to score, then on the stroke of half-time, fly-half Lang, who was making his European debut, was set up by Danny Care from the back of a five-metre scrum to run in a try.

Wasps extended their lead to 28-12 with their fourth try as Brendan Macken powered over past Quins and Wales centre Roberts from five metres out.

Care started the Quins comeback, diving over from close range on 65 minutes, before Elia Elia made it a two-point game five minutes later.

A Cipriani penalty gave Wasps breathing room again, but there was late drama as Haskell was red-carded and the home side took full advantage as Chisholm picked and drove over for the decisive score.

‘Miracles don’t happen in Coventry’

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young: “I think it’s over for us now. I said we had to win both of these last two games and probably needed nine points. Two points here isn’t enough.

“We’ll want to win against Ulster and if a miracle happens then happy days, but miracles don’t tend to happen too much in Coventry.”

Quins director of rugby John Kingston: “We’ve got a good side, and though we’ve got a lot of injuries, there is a tremendous spirit in the group”.

Teams

Harlequins: Mike Brown, Charlie Walker, Alofa Alofa, Jamie Roberts, Tim Visser, James Lang, Danny Care; Boyce, Dave Ward (capt), Kyle Sinckler, George Merrick, Ben Glynn, James Chisholm, Archie White, Renaldo Bothma.

Replacements: Smith for Brown (61), R. Chisholm for Walker (5), Elia for Ward (61), Matthews for Merrick (58), Luamanu for White (58).

Not Used: Lambert, Swainston, Lewis.

Wasps: Willie Le Roux, Christian Wade, Brendan Macken, Kyle Eastmond, Marcus Watson, Danny Cipriani, Dan Robson; Simon McIntyre, Ashley Johnson, Jake Cooper-Woolley, Joe Launchbury (capt), James Gaskell, James Haskell, Thomas Young, Nizaam Carr.

Replacements: Armitage for Eastmond (55), Simpson for Robson (57), Cruse for Johnson (52), Moore for Cooper-Woolley (61), Myall for Gaskell (71), Thompson for Young (61).

Not Used: B. Harris, Miller.

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