Harlequins showed the resolve of champions as they staged a sensational fightback to open the defence of their Aviva Premiership title with a scarcely believable 42-40 victory over Wasps.
Conor O'Shea's men seemed dead and buried as the rejuvenated Wasps, who had only avoided relegation on the final day of last season, stormed into a 40-13 lead after 56 minutes. Christian Wade did the early damage, scoring two blistering tries and providing another for Tom Varndell before forwards Marco Wentzel and Tim Payne touched down.
But man of the match Nick Evans, on his 100th Premiership appearance, scored 22 points to lead Harlequins on one of the great Premiership comebacks. Tom Guest came off the bench to launch the comeback, Evans set up two tries for Mike Brown and then touched down himself before wrapping up the victory with a penalty four minutes from time.
For all the drama on show, there was also a hefty dose of controversy as the introduction of new rules expanding the influence of the television match official (TMO) proved crucial.
Wasps thought they had scored through Varndell on the stroke of half-time but the try was chalked off after the TMO confirmed a forward pass early in the move.
Had this game been last season - or not broadcast live on ESPN - Varndell's try would have stood. The debate over the TMO's influence raged on.
Wasps players lay desolate on the turf at full-time. They had two bonus points but knew that, through some weak defence, they had blown a golden opportunity.
- Tom Varndell