Chris Robshaw exited the Stoop for the last time with the crisis-torn English game he is leaving demanding answers from government.
United States-bound Robshaw’s final Quins home game ended in a painful 32-23 defeat after Elia Elia’s red card gifted Wasps maximum points.
“In sport we don’t always get the fairy tales we dream about,” an emotional Robshaw said. “This has been my home, all I’ve ever known, all I’ve ever wanted to know. It’s been a hell of a ride.”
The long faces only added to the downbeat mood of a sport upset at being left to its own devices by powers who have decreed no fans and no cash bailout.
The Players’ union warned of “irrevocable damage” that will impact the “communities they serve”.
European club rugby boss Simon Halliday then upped the ante by declaring the time had come to “force the conversation”.
Halliday said: “The time for sitting around and hoping for the best has gone. Something has to be done. I’m not just going to sit here, it’s time to force the conversation.
“We need to know what the rationale is for the blanket ban; why the government doesn’t mind people jumping up and down in streets and pubs but they don’t want people playing or attending live sport.
“We can wait for the game to go bust, pray government will help us stay alive financially, or persuade the powers that we in sport can be trusted to get fans back in stadiums safely. We need to act fast.”
The desperate plight of the sport was briefly forgotten as Quins and Wasps played out a thriller.
For the best part of an hour It seemed Alex Dombrandt, Robshaw’s heir apparent, would be the matchwinner after coming off the bench to grab two tries.
When Marcus Smith then scored a spectacular solo try Quins were out of sight at 20-8.
But Elia Elia tip tackled Dan Robson and was sent off, and play-off bound Wasps took advantage with three late tries.
QUINS - Tries: Dombrandt 2, Smith. Con: Smith. Pens: Smith 2.
WASPS - Tries: T Willis, Oghire, Young, J Willis. Cons: Gopperth 3. Pens: Gopperth 2.