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'He can do no more': Quins coach says Marcus Smith has delivered for Borthwick

Marcus Smith of Harlequins reacts after the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Harlequins and Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham Stadium on March 04, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images)

Harlequins head coach Tabai Matson glowingly endorsed Marcus Smith amid doubts about his involvement in the remainder of England’s Guinness Six Nations campaign.


Smith was back in action for Quins on Saturday, after England boss Steve Borthwick earlier this week insisted he would profit from a run-out for the Gallagher Premiership team, having left him out of a 26-man training squad that gathered in Brighton.

Quins beat Exeter 40-5, snapping a five-game losing streak and climbing from ninth place to fifth in the table.

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Smith impressed Matson, who said: “Marcus has come in, he knows what he needs to do and he knows the game well.

“What you saw is a guy that can find space, run, pass or kick. He’s passionate and he’s demonstrative when he does something well, that was him at his best.

“What you saw was a masterclass in finding space. That’s the best thing he could’ve done, he did what Steve asked of him – he bossed the game and made it difficult.

“I think he’ll be in the mix, he can do no more. Danny (Care) is special for me, he’s such an indicator for greatness.


“But if you ask the coaches who won that, they’d say the loose forwards were unbelievable.”

The home side took full advantage of Harvey Skinner’s time in the bin after making head contact with James Chisholm, with Cadan Murley, Josh Bassett, Sam Riley and Joe Marchant all scoring first-half tries.

Marchant added another following the interval, before captain Stephan Lewies got the final score of the game.


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Despite some glimpses of brilliance from Exeter in early attacks and a Jack Innard driving maul score, they were outclassed by a team with something to prove.


Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher said: “The players will always try, they’re the ones that hurt the most. They’re the ones that have tried the hardest but not necessarily in the right direction.

“We’ve got to reset, move forward and make sure we’re in a frame of mind to bring the utmost intensity.

“We got the start we wanted as Bassett was in the bin and had a lot of pressure, but we didn’t convert.

“We’ve got to learn from everything we do and take the lessons onboard and we didn’t do that today.

“We’ve got to make sure as coaches that we get the right messages across and make sure that we hit the field in a better frame of mind, and add that bit of quality that we need moving forward.

“We’ll go back through it and have a look at the individuals but it’s not like we fielded a team playing in European finals.

“Some of those less experienced guys just have to learn the hard way.”


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Jon 5 minutes ago
Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush?

> New head coach Scott Robertson has kept only forwards coach Jason Ryan and conditioning coach Nic Gill from the previous regime *and so there is little institutional knowledge inherent in the new team.* Shows you what the English know about sport. Isn’t just fantastic that the best rugby team, or brand, on the planet has three brothers playing together? One a bull, the other a dancer, and last a .. boxer? Looks like a boxer bless him. > But Robertson has been working to fix that issue, with senior players and coaches having been regularly meeting to work out how they will operate together both on and off the field to ensure there is strong decision-making and a deep understanding of how the team wants to play. Have they? I would suggest then it is not a case of fixing things, that is not what Razor does. Razor will evolve the relationship between player and coach into a more symbiotic relationship. This wont be a coach that shouts down at his players theyre not doing good enough. I can imagine one of the first key areas he will be implementing is the respective leadership for each coaching group. Tight five, Loosies, Halves, Centers, and Back Three, will each have their own leadership team and an agile approach to the playing group relaying what they believe is happening on the training paddock, and in games. It will be a very big step to get everyone involved, able, and thinking about contributing to that process, but I believe a very beneficial one if successful. > England may have their best chance to win in 21 years, but they may also be walking into an ambush – *about to be hit* by a young, gifted, supremely physical and athletic All Blacks team coached by a man who has made every post a winner so far in his career and has this uncanny knack of getting the best out of people. Or, by a group hurting from not getting over the line and proving to everyone they are the best in the world, full of experience and cohesion, grit and motivation. You only need to look at someone like Patrick Tuipulotu to see someone with a fire under his belly from missing out on the last RWC due to injury, and having lost to this opposition in the previous one. It will be very interesting to see how this ‘Razor’ plays it. Does he stick with the traditional and protect the time honored All Black values of commitment, or does he evolve and pick the best players to win the Rugby Championship - and by association this test series - like Akira Ioane?

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