12162017

Wade crosses twice as Wasps cruise past Harlequins

Jamie Roberts of Harlequins

Jamie Roberts and his Harlequins team-mates struggled to make ground against the Wasps defence

Wasps got their Champions Cup campaign back on track as they saw off toothless Harlequins at the Ricoh Arena.

The hosts were 21-3 up at half-time as Dan Robson, Christian Wade and Ashley Johnson crossed, with Quins hampered by a yellow card for full-back Mike Brown.

More indiscipline saw Joe Marler sent to the sin-bin after the break as Josh Bassett and an interception score from Wade wrapped up victory for Wasps.

A late injury to Francis Saili compounded Quins’ miserable evening.

The former New Zealand centre, signed from Munster in the summer, was stretched off with an apparent head injury after misjudging a tackle on Joe Launchbury.

Victory takes Wasps to second in Pool One, but with back-to-back meetings against free-scoring French leaders La Rochelle to come, director of rugby Dai Young will know they still have much to do to reach the last eight.

Harlequins won a tight contest at the same venue in the Premiership a month ago but they were rarely in the contest as their defence was too easily breached.

Hughes impresses in front of Jones

Nathan Hughes<!–

Only Christian Wade (120) made more metres for Wasps than Hughes’ 78

With Saracens’ Billy Vunipola ruled out of the autumn internationals through injury, Wasps Nathan Hughes pressed his claims for the number eight in front of watching England coach Eddie Jones.

He gave his side plenty of momentum going forward and it was his peel around the front of the line-out that opened the way to the line for Robson.

Quins’ Dave Ward was swatted aside with a massive hand-off in midfield on another rampaging run, while Hughes showed he can also do the dirty work as he stripped the ball from Chris Robshaw in contact.

Wade’s raw speed is not news to Jones, but he was given another demonstration of its value as the wing won the race to the loose ball and the tryline after fly-half Marcus Smith’s kick was charged down.

After Johnson steamrollered over from the back of a line-out, Elliot Daly’s long pass beat Quins’ stretched defence to find Bassett and tie up the try-scoring bonus point with 13 minutes to go.

With the injured Danny Cipriani watching from the stands, the backline is yet to rediscover the form that took Wasps to the Premiership final last season, South Africa full-back Willie Le Roux once again producing another anonymous performance.

Even so, a five-try showing will feed their confidence for domestic and European challenges ahead.

It all goes wrong for Quins

Marcus Smith<!–

Marcus Smith was patched up to take his place in the starting XV after sustaining a cut in the warm-up

Saili’s injury, after carving through for a consolation try, typified a terrible afternoon for Harlequins.

Before kick-off, John Kingston was forced to rejig his line-up with wing Marland Yarde dropped for an unspecified disciplinary matter and prop Will Collier and replacement George Merrick both failing late fitness tests.

During the warm-up young fly-half Smith sustained a head injury that required stitches and things hardly improved once the action started.

After conceding two tries in the opening seven minutes, but with Quins still in touch at 14-3 down, Brown swatted down Le Roux’s pass close to his own line.

Joe Marler<!–

Marler’s indiscipline cost Quins

It cost him 10 minutes in the sin bin and in fact only briefly delayed Wasps’ try with Johnson rolling over once play restarted.

Hooker Joe Gray was forced off at half-time with a recurrence of his thumb injury before Marler brought his forearm down on the head of Will Rowlands to follow Brown into the bin.

Replacement Ben Glynn’s lazy pass was picked off by Wade with eight minutes to go for Wasps’ final score, by which time the visitors’ hopes of taking something from the match had long gone.

‘Definitely a relief’ – coach quote

Wasps director of rugby Dai Young on number eight Nathan Hughes: “Nathan’s developed into a quality Test number eight. He’s much more rounded now and his defence has improved,” said Young.

“He’s making game-changing moments on both sides of the ball.”

Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston on Francis Saili’s injury: “He’s alright actually, he’s sitting up, he knows who I am and he’s fine.

“He was concussed, he was knocked out. Precautionary more than anything else. It is definitely a relief.

“This is a big test of our character now, we’ve got a big game against Worcester at the weekend.

“It was almost Bob’s Full House in terms of presenting opportunities to people.”

Wasps: le Roux, Wade, Daly, de Jongh, Bassett, Gopperth, Robson, Mullan, Johnson, Cooper-Woolley, Launchbury, Rowlands, Haskell, Young, Hughes.

Replacements: Miller for Gopperth (70), Simpson for Robson (69), McIntyre for Mullan (61), Harris for Johnson (70), Moore for Cooper-Woolley (68), Gaskell for Rowlands (69), J. Willis for Haskell (61), Thompson for Young (69).

Harlequins: Brown, Walker, Marchant, Roberts, Visser, Smith, Care, Marler, Gray, Swainston, Matthews, Horwill, Robshaw, Ward, Luamanu, Saili.

Replacements: Saili for Roberts (60), Swiel for Smith (69), Lewis for Care (60), Glynn for Gray (41), Lamb for Matthews (61), Elia for Saili (79). Not Used: Lambert, McNulty.

Sin Bin: Brown (32), Marler (50)

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