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Marcus Smith sends England message as Harlequins trounce Exeter

By PA
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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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Tim 2 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

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