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Marcus Smith to make first Harlequins start after RFU declined early return

By Ian Cameron
Marcus Smith of England looks on during the International match between England and Barbarians at Twickenham Stadium on June 19, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

England and British and Irish Lions fly-half Marcus Smith will make his first start for Harlequins after missing last week’s Gallagher Premiership Round 2 loss to Saracens.

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Harlequins had applied to make Smith available for the game but the application was rejected by the RFU due to 10 weeks having not elapsed since his last game, a summer tour Test against the Wallabies. It’s a decision that reportedly left Tabai Matson and the rest of Quins’ management fuming.

Smith is joined in the matchday squad by fellow England tourists Danny Care, who is named on the bench, and Jack Walker, who also made the trip to Australia last July.

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Hooker Walker is joined in the front row by Wilco Louw following injury to Will Collier last Saturday as side travel to Sandy Park. Archie White slots in at number eight in place of the injured Alex Dombrandt.

Argentinian prop Santiago Garcia Botta, versatile forward Matas Jurevicius and wing Nick David are all named on the bench.

Sandypark has been a tough gig for Harlequins, whose only victory at Sandy Park since 2014 was in the Premiership Rugby Cup in February 2020.

“There’s always lessons you take away from a defeat and we’ve had a pretty good review of last weekend’s game. There are things we can do better and we’re looking to head down to Exeter this week with those learnings and have a good crack at Exeter,” said Harlequins Scrum and Transition Coach Adam Jones.

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“Last season aside, Exeter have been an incredibly consistent team over the last five or six years and have always been in and around the final. Going away to Sandy Park, you know if you have a team that can stick up well against them you’ve got a pretty good side, so this is a great match for us following the Saracens game.

“We’re going down there to have a good crack at them.”

HARLEQUINS:
1. Joe Marler
2. Jack Walker – Captain
3. Wilco Louw
4. George Hammond
5. Irne Herbst
6. Jack Kenningham
7. Will Evans
8. Archie White
9. Lewis Gjaltema
10. Marcus Smith
11. Cadan Murley
12. Lennox Anyanwu
13. Luke Northmore
14. Joe Marchant
15. Tyrone Green

REPLACEMENTS:
16. George Head
17. Santiago Garcia Botta
18. Simon Kerrod
19. Dino Lamb
20. Matas Jurevicius
21. Danny Care
22. Tommy Allan
23. Nick David

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