England duty may beckon for Quins' quality quartet

Wasps 16 Harlequins 22

Adams Park

Whoever is eventually given the task of coaching England in the Six Nations Championship should avoid jumping aboard the bandwagon of Quins' 14 wins and no defeats this season just for the sake of it, but even so the likes of Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown, Joe Marler and Danny Care (who was injured for the World Cup) are powerful contenders for selection.

Having built a 16-point lead with tries by Matt Hopper, Brown (a beauty of a chip and chase after Robshaw's smart offload) and Luke Wallace, the multicoloured ones hung on during a strong final quarter from Wasps and are still nine points clear at the top of the Premiership.

Next up for Quins are back-to-back Heineken Cup matches against Toulouse, so Hopper's alert work in attack and defence was heartening given that his fellow centres Jordan Turner-Hall and George Lowe are already crocked and out of the meetings with the French aristos.

Nick Easter will be fit to return for the first meeting with Toulouse at the Stoop on Friday evening but yesterday Robshaw, normally a flanker, wore the No 8 – and when the captain was not helping force umpteen turnovers, he was making an athletic catch from a box kick. "Robbo will do anything for the team," said Quins' director of rugby, Conor O'Shea. "People like [flanker] Luke Wallace are in his slipstream and learning what work-rate is all about."

O'Shea, not for the first time, also said he was "sick to death" of being asked about Easter's "There's £35,000 down the toilet" remark that emerged from the leaked comments made anonymously by England players after the World Cup. "If he said it, he was probably just trying to break the mood," said O'Shea. "Nick has been fantastic for us, one game with Exeter apart, since the World Cup. The Stoop will be packed on Friday and it'll be electric."

Wasps, in ninth, didn't know whether to laugh or cry at their bonus point here. Four Test forwards have retired or departed since the summer – Steve Thompson the most recent, confirming his final succumbing to a neck problem on Saturday – yet the home pack had Quins struggling in a series of scrums in the 22 on the half- hour. The position was wasted when Joe Simpson's put-in was mis-heeled by Rob Webber – the team-mates exchanged angry words – and Quins escaped to the break 7-6 up. Hopper had scored after four minutes when Marler rattled into the 22 from Robshaw's inside pass, while Nick Robinson kicked two penalties for Wasps.

The third quarter belonged to Quins. Nick Evans' penalty made it 10-6 then Brown and Wallace went over, and Evans kicked one conversion. Robinson had greater cause to regret his kicking: there was a penalty that hit a post after 18 minutes from short range, and the failure to convert either of the late tries.

Those tries roused a home crowd that for the financially challenged Wasps was worryingly well below 7,000. Hugo Southwell exploited a one-man advantage with Hopper in the sin-bin to score in the left-hand corner in the 64th minute. If that made for a tricky kick for Robinson he was much further in when hitting the post again, after Tom Varndell had skated through with a nice wraparound move off a line-out that foxed the Quins centres just after Hopper had come back on.

Wasps H Southwell; T Varndell, D Waldouck, R Flutey, C Wade; N Robinson, J Simpson; T Payne (Z Taulafo, 58), R Webber (T Lindsay, 68), B Broster (J Castex, 68), E O'Donoghue, M Wentzel, R Birkett (S Jones 58), M Everard, J Hart (capt).

Harlequins M Brown; S Stegmann, M Hopper (B Urdapilleta, 75), T Casson, S Smith (U Monye, 46); N Evans, D Care; J Marler (M Lambert 70), J Gray (C Brooker, 58), J Johnston, T Vallejos, C Matthews, M Fa'asavalu (W Skinner, 58), L Wallace, C Robshaw (capt).

Referee D Richards (Berkshire).

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links