Harlequins vs Wasps match report: Superb Chris Robshaw answers critics

Harlequins 26 Wasps 23: England captain puts in a match-winning performance after a week of questions

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The Independent Online

Redemption has to be earned and Harlequins did so. Nor was it any surprise that, after the soulless nature of their 39-0 thrashing by Saracens a week earlier, Chris Robshaw was the man to steal a Wasps lineout and lead the charge away from his own line when, down to 14 men, Quins might have been caught at the death.

Robshaw may have passed the club captaincy to Joe Marler but he remains at the core of his club, as well as his country. Not only did he accept the challenge the form of James Haskell now presents in the back row, he scored the try that gave his side the lead and rallied his troops after the yellow card shown to Charlie Matthews with five minutes remaining.

Robshaw has been an easy target for critics, the most recent barbs described as “revolting” by Conor O’Shea, his director of rugby. “If there’s an agenda out for him, that’s very sad,” O’Shea said. “He has been outstanding for Harlequins, for England, he’s a magnificent rugby player.”

The imperfections started early, when Elliot Daly beat Jordan Turner-Hall’s tackle and sent Guy Thompson speeding in from 25 metres for the first of Wasps’s three tries. But Ben Botica’s goal-kicking kept Harlequins within touching distance and 14 points immediately after the interval proved the difference.

 

Robshaw’s try was a soft one after Christian Wade failed to touch down Danny Care’s chip, and Wasps suffered a double whammy when Kearnan Myall conceded a penalty try for a trip on Botica and was sent to the bin too. When Care dropped a left-footed goal while off balance, Harlequins were briefly in charge, until Tom Varndell scored from turnover ball and Thomas Young, son of Wasps’ director of rugby, was driven over from a close-range lineout.

Line-ups:

Harlequins: M Brown; M Yarde, H Sloan, J Turner-Hall, A Tikoirotuma; B Botica, D Care; J Marler (capt; M Lambert, 66), D Ward, K Sinkler (W Collier 57), C Matthews (sin bin 76), G Robson (G Merrick 72), L Wallace, C Robshaw, N Easter.

Wasps: A Masi (R Miller 69); C Wade, E Daly, C Bell (L Alapati, 4), T Varndell; A Goode, J Simpson; M Mullan (J Yapp 66), T Lindsay (A Johnson 56), L Cittadini (J Cooper-Woolley, 51), J Launchbury, K Myall (sin bin 51-61; J Gaskell 61), J Haskell (capt), G Thompson (C Davies, 72), N Hughes (T Young, 51).

Referee: J P Doyle (London)

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