Quins come from behind to edge Wasps
Quins come from behind to edge WaspsSHARE
It was in a ferocious encounter – a classic showdown, which underpinned the age-old rivalry between the clubs.
Wasps travelled to London seeking a bonus-point victory to move within two points of Pool One leaders Ulster, who they face at the Ricoh Arena next weekend.
Yet the Coventry-based side failed to close out the match and were stung in the tail.
England centre Kyle Eastmond, No.8 Nizaam Carr and prop Ashley Johnson all crossed the whitewash in the opening half hour as Wasps amassed an impressive 21-0 lead, courtesy of Danny Cipriani conversions.
However, despite the flying start from Wasps, Harlequins refused to relent as replacement winger Ross Chisholm scored their first try, before flyhalf James Lang converted his own try under the posts to bring the scores to 21-12 in favour of the visitors at the interval.
When Wasps centre Brendan Macken evaded the defensive efforts of Jamie Roberts to add a bonus-point try and extend the advantage to 16 points, Dai Young would have expected his side to see the tie off.
Yet Young's opposite number John Kingston had different ideas as he introduced maverick flyhalf Marcus Smith, fresh from signing his first professional contract at just 18-years-old, who would go on play a pivotal role in a spellbinding comeback.
England scrumhalf Danny Care sniped over on 65 minutes before Smith's sweeping pass out wide allowed barnstorming hooker Elia Elia to force his way over five minutes later.
James Haskell was then shown a straight red card as Wasps struggled to absorb the Harlequins pressure and the hosts turned it around in dying embers of the match as James Chisholm dotted down and Smith's conversion completed a remarkable result.
Wasps do still hold a chance in Pool One of the Champions Cup, but will be reliant on results elsewhere, while Harlequins will take a significant boost from their first win of the competition.
Tries:Chisholm, Lang, Care, Elia, J Chisholm
Cons: Lang, Smith 3
Tries:Eastmond, Carr, Johnson, Macken
Cons: Cipriani 4
Yellow card: Lewis Boyce (Harlequins, 15)
Red card: James Haskell (Wasps, 75)
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Alofa Alofa, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 James Lang, 9 Danny Care, 8 Renaldo Bothma, 7 Archie White, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 George Merrick, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Dave Ward (captain), 1 Lewis Boyce.
Replacements: 16 Elia Elia, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Ross Chisholm.
Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Christian Wade, 13 Brendan Macken, 12 Kyle Eastmond, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Thomas Young, 6 James Haskell, 5 James Gaskell, 4 Joe Launchbury (captain), 3 Jake Cooper-Woolley, 2 Ashley Johnson, 1 Simon McIntyre.
Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Marty Moore, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Guy Thompson, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Rob Miller, 23 Guy Armitage.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Thomas Charabas (France), Vincent Blasco (France)
TMO: Eric Briquet Campin (France)