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Emotional Billy Millard 'not surprised' as Harlequins pull off big European win

By PA
Will Evans of Harlequins celebrates victory at the final whistle during the Investec Champions Cup Quarter Final match between Union Bordeaux Begles and Harlequins at Stade Chaban-Delmas on April 13, 2024 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Harlequins rugby director Billy Millard reflected on a proud and emotional occasion after his team reached the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals in dramatic fashion by beating Bordeaux-Begles.

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Quins’ stunning 42-41 success came just three weeks after they shipped 52 points to Saracens in a Gallagher Premiership game.

Bordeaux, meanwhile, had rattled up 100 points in beating Saracens twice during this season’s Champions Cup, and were huge favourites to send Quins packing at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

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But after four quarter-final defeats in the competition, the last four now beckons and a tie against Bordeaux’s fellow French heavyweights Toulouse or 2020 tournament winners Exeter.

A mesmeric game produced 12 tries, yet Quins ultimately edged it through full-back Tyrone Green’s touchdown seven minutes from time.

“I am just so proud of them, not surprised, because I know the capability of the group. It was quite emotional for us,” Millard said.

Attack

131
Passes
120
112
Ball Carries
103
282m
Post Contact Metres
267m
8
Line Breaks
9

“The great thing about this group, especially after a loss like Saracens, is that we were pretty honest with each other.

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“We then had a pretty wild game against Bath and a really tough game against Glasgow, so we were pretty confident that the last three weeks would set us up for this.

“We knew it would go down to the wire. We didn’t turn up against Saracens. Why, we are not sure, but we have done since and the boys executed today.

“The one thing you know about this competition is that with each game as you progress, it gets tougher.

“We’ve played Toulouse already – we know what is coming there – and we play Exeter a lot. We will enjoy this (result), and then be back into the grind.”

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Even after Green scored, Bordeaux still had a chance to win it, but skipper Maxime Lucu missed the conversion of Madosh Tambwe’s 76th-minute try.

It was a spectacular triumph for Quins, with scrum-half Will Porter scoring two tries, while there was also a penalty try and touchdowns for flanker Will Evans and number eight Alex Dombrandt.

Marcus Smith kicked five conversions, and Bordeaux were ultimately thwarted despite tries from Lucu, Romain Buros, Nicolas Depoortere, Louis Bielle-Biarrey and Tambwe’s double, with Lucu landing four conversions and a penalty.

Quins captain Stephan Lewies added: “The job is not done yet. There is more in us, and we will keep going.

“There is so much room for improvement, and as much as we will enjoy this, there is more in the group.

“Days like this don’t happen often. A few beers now, and then we will be back in.”

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