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Marcus Smith sends England message as Harlequins trounce Exeter

Cadan Murley of Harlequins celebrates his try with Joe Marchant of Harlequins during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Harlequins and Exeter Chiefs at Twickenham Stadium on March 04, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Eddie Keogh/Getty Images via PA)

Harlequins showcased some glamorous rugby as they dominated an underwhelming Exeter side 40-5 in the Gallagher Premiership clash at Twickenham.


The hosts earned their bonus point before the half-time whistle had been blown thanks to tries from Cadan Murley, Josh Bassett, Sam Riley and Joe Marchant, while Rob Baxter’s men were rendered pointless.

Chiefs had a brief shift in form as Jack Innard got his name on the scoresheet, but Quins soon returned to their usual ways as Marchant touched down for his second, and captain Stephan Lewies added another.

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Mike Brown and Ollie Lawrence | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 66
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Mike Brown and Ollie Lawrence | RugbyPass Offload | Episode 66

The victory sees Quins halt a recent dip in form that has seen them defeated five consecutive times in the Premiership, and climb from ninth place to fourth as they give their play-off hopes a hefty boost.

Chiefs meanwhile have had their winning streak ended at three matches, as their play-off aspirations take a minor hit.

Quins were on the back foot early, with Bassett punished for a deliberate knock-on, but they got the first score when an excellent Marcus Smith dink over the defensive line bounced perfectly for Andre Esterhuizen, who coolly passed inside to put the try line at the mercy of the supporting Murley.

Following Harvey Skinner’s yellow card for head contact with the carrying James Chisholm, Quins advantageously got over the whitewash as Bassett made amends for his early mistake with a swift backs move that fooled Olly Woodburn into shooting out of his line and gifting the former Wasps man a clear run in from inside the Exeter 22.


Quins kept their stride as talisman Danny Care left Twickenham speechless with an outrageous blind pass as the touchline loomed, gifting Riley the simple job of touching the ball down.

Exeter’s floodgates remained open with Skinner still in the bin, as the Quins back line overwhelmed the visitors out wide before Nick David, Josh Bassett and Smith swapped passes to allow Marchant to dot down for their bonus-point try.

Despite heading into the changing rooms at half-time without any points on the board, Chiefs were faster out of the blocks following the interval as Innard steered his driving maul to the line for the score.


However the hosts soon displayed their routine flair, with a cheeky short-range Care grubber kick touched down by Marchant.

Quins skipper Lewies was next on the scoresheet, tearing away from the driving maul to power over from short range for the final try of the game.


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