Match Centre: Harlequins 48-46 Wasps

Marcus Smith starred for Harlequins with 28 points
Marcus Smith starred for Harlequins with 28 points

Harlequins 48-46 Wasps, Twickenham Stoop

Harlequins managed to overcome a red card to Mike Brown with a converted try from Marcus Smith in the closing stage as they edged out Wasps 48-46 in the final game of the 18th round in the Gallagher Premiership at Twickenham Stoop.

The win meant Harlequins have maintained their fourth position with 59 points - nine more than fifth placed Northampton Saints while Wasps slipped to ninth position.

Wasps had an early setback with prop Kieran Brookes leaving the field injured in the fourth minute and Jeff Toomaga-Allen replaced him. However, they were the first to open the account with Jacob Umaga kicking a 11th minute penalty goal to start the proceedings.

Harlequins responded back in the 13th minute with Smith sending a cross-field kick to send Joe Marchant over the line before the Quins fly-half also followed with the extras making it 7-3. Lee Blackett's men seized the momentum as they scored back to back tries in a span of four minutes.

First it was Dan Robson, who seized mistake from Danny Care to set Josh Bassett over in the 16th minute and in the 19th minute Tom Willis allowed Paolo Odogwu to dot down and Umaga kicked both the conversions making it 7-17. The start of the second quarter saw Harlequins down to 14-men with Brown sin-binned for an intentional knock on but despite down on numerical advantage, they got their second try with Smith setting up James Lang, who dived in the corner to bring the gap down to three points.

Wasps failed to score a point when Brown was in the sin bin but as Quins returned to full strength, the visitors extended their lead with Odogwu providing the break and eventually Dan Robson dotted down in the 34th minute making it 14-22. The home side had the strongest finish to the opening half when Marchant found Brown, who in turn offloaded to Smith for a 37th minute try. Smith, who had an outstanding game also followed with a conversion and a penalty as the teams headed into the break with a 24-22 scoreline.

The Quins were down to 14-men by the 43rd minute with Brown sent off for a boot to the face of Wasps hooker Tommy Taylor and Wasps made full use of the advantage with Malakai Fekitoa and Thomas Young scoring back to back tries making it 24-36. Despite down by a player, the Quins were resilient as Care kept their hope alive with a touchdown in the 51st minute and Alex Dombrandt followed the suit in the 60th minute. With Smith kicking both the conversions, the Quins went back into the lead with a 38-36 scoreline.

The momentum once again swung towards Wasps with Bassett completing his second in the 65th minute following a grubber kick from Robson and Umaga with a conversion made it 38-43. The start of the final 10 minutes saw Umaga and Smith trade penalties as Wasps maintained their five point lead.

Just when Wasps thought they had the game in their control, Smith had other plans as he capped off a fantastic individual display with a converted try to hand the visitors a heartbreak.

Team line up:

Harlequins: Brown; Green, Marchant, Northmore, Murley; Smith, Care; Marler, Baldwin, Louw, Symons, Lewies, Lawday, Kenningham, Dombrandt.

Reserves: Gray, Garcia Botta, Collier, Lamb, White, Landajo, Lang, Lasike.

Wasps: Robson; Umaga, Bassett, Fekitoa, Odogwu; Kibrige, Miller; West, Taylor, Brookes, Rowlands, Gaskell, Shields, Young, Willis.

Reserves: Oghre, McIntyre, Toomaga-Allen, Cardall, Morris, Porter, Atkinson, Le Bourgeois.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

The division is becoming more and more exciting as each year passes by so who will be lifting silverware at Twickenham in May?

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