Harlequins edged out of Champions Cup by a single point
19th Apr 2022 | Rugby
Harlequins suffered a heart-breaking elimination from the Heineken Champions Cup to Montpellier at the weekend.
Trailing by 14 points after the first leg in France, Harlequins recorded a sensational 33-20 win but it was not enough to book a quarter-final spot.
In glorious south London sunshine - and in front of a cacophonous crowd - Harlequins made a perfect start when Huw Jones went over after Marcus Smith combined with Alex Dombrandt.
Will Evans, starting his first game in a year following an horrific leg injury, marked his return with a trademark turnover moments later.
The normally reliable Handre Pollard missed a penalty as Montpellier fought back and the scores were level in the 11th minute when Reilhac scored.
In a breathless opening Quins went ahead again when Dombrandt crashed over after running a brilliant line from 10m out.
Foursans reduced the arrears with a penalty but the game's best moment arrived soon after.
A leaping Danny Care somehow kept in Pollard's kick, flicking it mid-air back to Smith who was deep in his own 22.
After selling the onrushing defence with a dummy to Andre Esterhuizen, Smith goose-stepped and sidestepped his way past five opponents before finding Cadan Murley who was running a rapid supporting line.
The winger drew his man expertly and unleashed Joe Marchant to finish off one of the best tries scored at The Stoop.
In keeping with the ding-dong affair, Montpellier responded through Tisseron's converted try but Quins had the final say of the half.
Moments after Smith almost found Murley with a crossfield kick, Care fed Louis Lynagh from the reset scrum who burst into the corner. Smith converted for a 28-17 lead at the break.
Pollard scored the first points of a more attritional second half but Quins responded and camped in the Montpellier 22.
Scrum penalty after scrum penalty followed with Maurouard shown a yellow after the referee's patience finally gave way.
Harlequins thought they had made the advantage count when Smith jinked into the corner only for the score to be chalked off for crossing.
Undeterred the hosts got their rewards when Lynagh ran an incisive line through to score. Unfortunately Smith's conversion drifted wide and Montpellier were left to celebrate the narrowest of wins.