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Harlequins too good for Wasps side that welcomed back Jack Willis

By PA
(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins returned to form in style as they defeated Wasps 29-24 at the Twickenham Stoop. Quins ran in five tries in total as they ended a run of three straight defeats to move up to third in the table while at the same time opening up a five-point gap between them and their visitors.

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While the result may have been a disappointment for Wasps, there was the welcome sight of Jack Willis making his first appearance in a year – as a replacement – following his recovery from a serious knee injury.

Wasps, who had won their previous four league games, lost hooker Tom Cruse to what looked like a shoulder injury with just 30 seconds on the clock, with replacement Gabriel Oghre effectively having to go the full 80 minutes.

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It was a better start for Harlequins, however, as they opened the scoring in the third minute when a quickly-taken penalty by Danny Care led to young winger Oscar Beard squeezing over in the left-hand corner. Will Edwards sent the conversion wide and the visitors were soon on the board themselves when Jacob Umaga kicked a straight-forward penalty.

Umaga then missed the chance to put his side ahead when he sent another kick wide and Wasps were made to rue that as Harlequins scored their second try after 31 minutes. The forwards laid the groundwork before Care moved the ball out to Andre Esterhuizen and his quick pass sent his fellow centre Huw Jones through for an easy finish.

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Edwards’ conversion gave the hosts a 12-3 lead they retained into half-time before they took the game away from their opponents in the early stages of the second half. First, Care’s pass allowed Matt Symons to gain a few metres before the lock produced a lovely offload to send Cadan Murley through a gap to score.

Quins then secured their bonus point in the 46th minute as Beard broke well down the left before Care quickly recycled for Esterhuizen and there was no stopping him from a few metres out.

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Wasps finally managed to hit back just before the hour mark when Tom Willis did well to burrow over in the corner down the left. Harlequins’ response was swift and stylish as Tommy Allan’s offload allowed his fellow replacement Louis Lynagh to burst onto the ball and show the visiting defence a clean pair of heels.

Despite the result no longer being in doubt, Wasps refused to go quietly and they pulled a try back with five minutes left when Sam Spink plunged over. Then, with the clock in the red, they claimed what could be a crucial losing bonus point, with the race for the top four so tight, as Jeff Toomaga-Allen grounded the ball under the posts.

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Tim 14 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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