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Relief for match-winner Marcus Smith as Harlequins edge Cardiff

By PA
(Photo / PA)

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Marcus Smith revealed his sense of relief after he masterminded Harlequins’ stunning late Heineken Champions Cup fightback against Cardiff.

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Smith landed a penalty with the game’s final kick to give Quins a 36-33 victory and book their place in the competition’s round of 16.

The England fly-half had pounced four minutes from time by scoring a try that he converted as Quins recovered from 14 points adrift, before his nerveless last-gasp strike.

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“It’s relief. I don’t think we were at the races today against a very strong Cardiff side,” Smith told BT Sport.

“It’s testament to the guys and what we are trying to build. We stuck in there and we are very resilient at times.

“To be rewarded with a penalty in front of the sticks by the forwards, who I thought in parts were outstanding, is a massive relief.

“All season, the forwards have been the difference for us. As backs, we are very lucky to be playing behind a pack that when it gets on top, stays on top.

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“It’s an absolute pleasure to play with some of the guys outside me and in the forwards.

“Their ability to pick lines off me makes it so easy for me, and some of the tries were nice individual bits.”

The Gallagher Premiership champions looked as though they would pay a hefty price for captain Alex Dombrandt’s second-half yellow card.

Cardiff turned the game – played behind closed doors at the Arms Park – on its head while England international Dombrandt was off, scoring three quickfire tries.

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But Quins dug deep as Smith added to earlier tries from Louis Lynagh, Tyrone Green, Luke Northmore and Danny Care, while he added four conversions and a penalty for a 16-point haul.

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Wing Owen Lane led the way for Cardiff, touching down twice as Wales head coach Wayne Pivac looked on, with forwards James Ratti, Dillon Lewis and Corey Domachowski also scoring and fly-half Jarrod Evans adding four conversions.

Acknowledging Smith’s outstanding display, Cardiff rugby director Dai Young said: “He didn’t disappoint.

“The first 10 minutes, he caused us a lot of problems. He is a bag of tricks and he has got a highlights reel in every game. He is a fantastic player.

“We played some great stuff and scored some good tries.

“You would like to think you could close those games out, but if you watch Harlequins, that is a regular day at the office for them.

“They are never beaten until the final whistle, and I never felt comfortable, but I am proud of the effort and the way we played.”

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