Red Kite in the Ruck

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I made a promise to myself that this week I would only give the final score of the Wasps game against Harlequins. I know that you have all accepted that I am a Wasps supporter and therefore a little bit biased (just a little bit!) and every week I write something about their match. This week I thought I would give you a rest, but I'm sorry I am going back on my word! What a fantastic game they had on Sunday!!! If you watched it either at the Causeway Stadium in High Wycombe or live on Sky Sports 2 you will know what I mean. The tension was unbearable. The scenes at the end showing the faces of the players and fans revealed two emotions. Wasps were ecstatic and Quins absolutely devastated.

Wasps have had some bad experiences against Harlequins, losing their last three matches against them. On top of that no less than 14 of the regular players were missing due to injury or because of their appearance in the Six Nations tournament. We went into the game feeling distinctly on the back foot even though it was in front of the home crowd. Sure enough in the opening minutes of the game Ugo Monye for Quins scored a magnificent try and Andy Dunne converted it from the touchline with ease; 7 points down already! Despite Van Gisbergen gaining three points for a penalty, things did not improve and the game was highly physical on both sides. Quins scored another try and the score just before half time stood at 14 - 3. Then calamity struck as a sin binning took the visitors down to 14 men allowing Wasps to capitalise on their strength and take their score at half time to 15.

The second half started much the same as the first with another early try converted allowing Quins to go in front once more. Despite a mighty battle Wasps were unable to break through their opponents defence until calamity struck again and Quins suffered the loss of a player once more to the sin bin. In a re-run of the first half action Wasps tried to capitalise once more on their extra man. The action became frenetic as penalty points, which would not have been enough to win, were sacrificed for a chance in the ruck. Finally, when the supporters were almost on their knees begging for divine intervention, it came in the shape of Ayoola Erinle who managed to catch the ball, turn and motor through the Quins defence to score the all important magnificent try that almost won the match. The final glory belonged to Van Gisbergen who made the conversion taking Wasps one point in front, 22-21. Phew!!! Close - you have to be joking. The stadium erupted and the earth shook! I had stayed at home to watch in the warm, and the dog that had been sat on my lap at the time, was catapulted to the end of the sofa as I shrieked in relief and my body jettisoned itself into the air!

It just remains to say that Harlequins played well although their penalty count was high and two players were sin binned. It probably says more about the ferociousness of the game rather than a lack of discipline. They really came out on the attack, as you must if you are to stand a chance against the strong fighting pack of the Wasps Squad. It really was anyone's game and for once fortune smiled on Wasps in the final minutes - it could easily have been oh so different!

Premiership Standings as at 25th February

 Bath 16 61
 London Wasps 17 59
 Northampton 17 53
 Gloucester 17 51
 Harlequins 16 41
 London Irish 16 40
 Sale 17 38
 Newcastle 17 36
 Leicester 16 30
 Saracens 17 29
 Leeds 17 29
 Rotherham 17 02

As our Editor kindly pointed out last week there is another tournament where our Premiership Players are featuring at the moment, The Six Nations. These are all great games and providing the chance for new International team members to show their skills. So far two rounds have been played and the next round is due to start the first weekend in March. Well worth a viewing.

 England 2 85 22 4
 France 2 60 17 4
 Ireland 2 53 50 2
 Wales 2 38 46 2
 Scotland 2 23 58 0
 Italy 2  9 75 0

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