Cardiff 33-36 Harlequins: England fly-half Marcus Smith’s last gasp penalty gives Harlequins dramatic win in Heineken Champions Cup thriller with 10 tries
- Marcus Smith scored a penalty at death when Harlequins defeated Cardiff 36-33
- Smith made three tries and scored one himself in the Champions Cup smasher
- Harlequins now qualify for the league’s last 16 after their win
Marcus Smith produced even more late drama as Eddie Jones’ England prodigy continued his remarkable season by taking Harlequins to the last 16 of the Heineken Champions Cup.
In a European thriller on a bitterly cold night in Cardiff, fly-half Smith almost single-handedly took on Cardiff and his last-kick penalty won out for Tabai Matson’s men.
Smith had tied the game late with a try of his own, while also creating scores for Louis Lynagh, Tyrone Green and Luke Northmore to finish with 16 points away.
“I don’t think we were at the races against a very strong team from Cardiff. We’ve stuck there and are very resilient at times,” Smith says.
“It’s a huge relief to be rewarded with a stick penalty by the attackers who I thought were partly excellent.
Marcus Smith’s last-gasp penalty gave Cardiff a 36-33 win over Harlequins on Friday
Smith made three tries and scored one in the Champions Cup clash at Cardiff Arms Park
“As backs we are very lucky to play behind a pack that, if it comes out on top, stays on top.”
Both teams scored five tries in a fine encounter and the only pity was that no one was there to see it. Had there been a crowd, they would have enjoyed Smith at his most creative.
Harlequins went down 31-19 at one point in the second half, but Smith didn’t panic. His attempt and conversion in the 75th minute captured everything and he wasn’t done there yet.
“His touch, kick and composure at the end were exceptional,” Harlequins coach Matson said of his star player.
The Welsh Covid-19 rules meant an empty stadium but Cardiff were fantastic, leading 14-12 at halftime thanks to the great Owen Lane and James Ratti.
Smith grabbed the extras on the sidelines, but before the eyes of the Wales coaching staff, Cardiff’s Owen Lane laid down a Six Nations roster mark.
At first, he showed too much strength for the Harlequins defense to score in the corner. When James Ratti was hit, Lane produced a try-save on Cadan Murley.
Louis Lynagh crosses the line to score his and Harlequins’ first attempt in winner takes all clash
The away side were at the top of the game for most of the game, but Cardiff held firm and resolutely
tries: Lane 11, 55, Ratti 18, Lewis 53, Domachowski 55
cons: Evans 12, 18, 53, 56
tries: Lynagh 6, Green 40+4, Northmore 46, Care 60, Smith 77
cons: Blacksmith 7, 48, 61, 77
Pen: Smith 80
Cardiff: Amos; Lane (Lewis 30-49) (T Myhill 73), Lee-Lo, Halaholo, Adams; Evans (Priestland 77), T Williams (L Williams 78); Carre (Domachowski 50), K Myhill, Arhip (Lewis 49), Turnbull (capt), Davies, Lewis-Hughes, Jenkins (Boyde 71), Ratti
Replacements not used: Thornton, Thomas
harlequins: Vegetable; Lynagh, Marchant, Northmore (Jones 50), Murley; Smith, Care; Marler (Garcia Botta 77), Walker (Riley 77), Collier (Kerrod 56), Symons, Lamb, Taulani (White 50), Lawday (Tizard 56), Dombrandt
Replacements not used: Stafford, Edwards
Referee: Tual Trainini (France)
presence: Not yet known
star man: Marcus Smith (Harlequins)
Ratti’s try came after a sensational break from Rey Lee-Lo.
Cardiff felt a shock as Rhys Carre produced a stellar turnover, beating the excellent Tomos Williams Danny Care.
Jarrod Evans converted both Cardiff attempts and missed a penalty, but after coming under pressure, Harlequins rallied. Joe Marchant had previously made a clean line break, but repeated English pressure forced Cardiff prop Dmitri Arhip to the bin after back-to-back home fouls.
Smith then promptly kicked to the opposite corner where Lynagh had scored. This time it was Tyrone Green who passed.
Smith took another lead when the game resumed. Marchant collected and passed to Care who did the rest, but the try was ruled out as Marchant was ahead of Smith.
Still, nothing could stop Smith. He created a third try from Quins with a great inside ball to Alex Dombrandt, who sent the hopeful Luke Northmore away from England.
Lynagh and Green reacted and the scores just kept coming into the second half. Northmore and Danny Care crossed for Quins.
Lane’s second and attempts by Dillon Lewis and Corey Domachowski seemed to be enough for Cardiff, but they hadn’t counted on more magic from Smith.
A late yellow card to Cardiff’s Kirby Myhill enabled him to score after Dmitri Arhip and Quins captain Alex Dombrandt were also sidelined for 10 minutes.
Cardiff rugby director Dai Young said of Smith: “He did not disappoint, he is such a quality player.
“Every time he touched the ball, he made something happen. He’s a bag of tricks. He has a highlight role in every game.’
England sensation Smith continued to shine throughout, helping his side into the last-16
Smith kicked 16 points and inspired a 33-19 backfire to help his side win the match