WASPS (16) vs HARLEQUINS (22)
HARLEQUINS captain Chris Robshaw declared his unbeaten side ready to test themselves in a double-header with European super-powers Toulouse after clinching a 14th successive win of the season.
Tries from centre Matt Hopper, full-back Mike Brown and flanker Luke Wallace maintained the south Londoners’ flawless start to the campaign and kept them nine points clear of champions Saracens in the Premiership.
Four-time European winners Toulouse are the next threat to Quins’ perfect record, but yesterday’s hard-fought victory at Adams Park means Conor O’Shea’s men will approach the Heineken Cup games in rude health.
“They are the big guns you want to play against in rugby,” said Robshaw, whose form has seen him touted as a possible successor to Lewis Moody as England captain, despite remaining uncapped.
“You have really got to test yourself and find out what you are about. Everyone is really looking forward to it. We will enjoy tonight and rest up and look forward to it next week.”
Hopper’s seventh-minute try, converted by fly-half Nick Evans, gave Quins a flying start, but Wasps refused to lie down and cut the half-time deficit to just one point with a brace of penalties from No10 Nick Robinson.
The leaders found another gear after the interval, however, with Brown collecting his own chip before touching down and then Wallace latching onto a Danny Care kick to score and close in on a 10th league win. There were still twists to come, Hopper’s sin-binning preceding a Wasps revival marked by tries from full-back Hugo Southwell and wing Tom Varndell, but they were kept at arm’s length by Robinson twice hitting the woodwork.
Wasps boss Dai Young, who paid tribute to veteran England hooker Steve Thompson, who retired on Saturday after just one game for the club, said: “I think you could see why they are top. They had three opportunities and they took them all.”