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'Horrible': Andy Goode reviews miss that will 'haunt' Marcus Smith

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Bob Bradford/CameraSport via Getty Images)

Ex-England international Andy Goode has reviewed the missed conversion from Marcus Smith that eliminated Harlequins from the Heineken Champions Cup last weekend. The Gallagher Premiership champions had the chance in the dying minutes to move ahead of Montpellier on the aggregate score in their round-of-16 clash, only for their star out-half to push his two-point kick off the tee wide of the target.

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It resulted in Harlequins exiting the tournament by a point on the overall score despite winning on the day 33-20 and it ignited a difficult debate as Smith had otherwise been his team’s star player last Saturday.

The Rugby Pod have become the latest to give its view on the incredible finish where the missed kick from Smith became the headline from a match in which he had excelled until that point and Goode reckoned the miss will, unfortunately, haunt the 23-year-old for some time to come.

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It was Jim Hamilton, the ex-Scotland international who co-hosts the show, who broached the subject of the missed Harlequins conversion by Smith after both pundits had agreed that the refereeing of Mike Adamson was yet again not up to sufficient standard.

“The big one for me out of that game is Marcus Smith’s kick,” said Hamilton, the former Montpellier second row who was delighted to see his old team squeeze through against Harlequins. “That was the easiest kick of the day for me. How has he missed that? Like, one point in it, four minutes to go, how has he missed that, a player of his quality? We’re talking about him now as one of the best tens in the world. How has he missed it?”

“I don’t know is the answer,” replaced Goode. “It’s the first one he has missed all day. Did the pressure get to him? There was a bit of a snap hook on it. Even when you are watching it, the Quins fans are cheering because they think it has gone over and he has hooked it to the left, a massive shock, a massive surprise. He is a wonderful player, a wonderful talent. Goal-kicking has never been an issue for him but I am just trying to think about it, how many clutch kicks has he kicked in a game where you know that is the winning kick?

“You think back to other players who have done it, I don’t know. It is massive learning for him in terms of he bubbles confidence. It just comes out of him everywhere. Did he not take his time, did he not realise the severity of the kick, did he just try and rush it because it was on the 15-metre line on the right-side [the left] for a right-footed kicker in terms of the better side? I don’t know.

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“Really tough and I have been there, I have missed kicks like that where you think it is just going over without a shadow of a doubt and it will be one that will haunt him for a long time, unfortunately. He will get back on the horse. He is pretty confident about what he has done and how he is playing but ultimately it has cost them dearly.

“It’s horrible,” continued Goode when asked what the aftermath would feel like for Smith. “You can go and train as much as you want, you can stick the ball down on the tee in that very same spot 100 times and he would get that probably 98 times, probably 99 times. Until he gets back onto the horse per se in a Quins shirt where he is goal-kicking again, you can go and practice until the cows come home.

“He didn’t have a bad kicking game, he had a really good game overall. (Joe) Marchant’s try he set up was just ludicrous from Danny Care keeping the ball in from Handre Pollard’s missed touch from the penalty to then Marcus Smith effectively chucking the ball in the air with a little dummy on the scissors and then just bamboozling everyone, gasing players and putting Joe Marchant away for a wonder try.

“He had a great game and he kicked everything else, so you can’t be too hard on him but some people will be and I saw some of the gifs or memes going around, whatever you call them, Owen Farrell just smiling at that, people are horrible.”

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Hamilton agreed. “The headline out of that game is the Marcus Smith kick but how many games has he won them this season? And if he weren’t playing in that game they wouldn’t be anywhere near it because he is one of the best players on the pitch. I am only asking the question because it looked like such an easy kick and they are champions of the Prem… I just wonder why he missed it. I know it happens.”

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