Harlequins 40-5 Exeter: Tabai Matson backs Marcus Smith to reclaim his England spot after a man-of-the-match performance in a dominant win over Twickenham
- Marcus Smith put in an exemplary performance as Harlequins defeated Exeter
- The 24-year-old was omitted from England’s Six Nations squad for the game against France
- Quins coach Tabai Matson backed his star man to earn an England recall
Tabai Matson backed Marcus Smith to regain his place in England after the fly-half revived Harlequins’ play-off bid.
Smith shrugged his huge disappointment at being dumped by Steve Borthwick ahead of the upcoming Six Nations battle with France to inspire his club to a landslide victory over Chiefs by bonus points.
The 24-year-old fly-half proved to be a huge point for Borthwick, who would have been impressed as he sat watching Twickenham Stadium.
Smith was at his best, kicking, passing and running the show and had a hand in most of the six tries Quins scored in this defeat.
Smith, who kicked ten points and was named Man of the Match, denied after the match that he deliberately went out to make a statement to England’s head coach who has been slowly pushing him out of his squad – putting him on the bench first. drop it and then turn it off completely. France. He said, “That wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. I’ve always wanted to just go out and enjoy my rugby.
Marcus Smith responded to England’s fall by producing a man-of-the-match performance as Harlequins beat Exeter
“It was special to be back with my friends who I like to play with. There’s no better place to play rugby than Twickenham in front of a big crowd. It was an incredible atmosphere.’
Matson insisted: ‘There’s nothing more he can do to get back into the English mix… and I think he’ll be back there soon. To fit back into our system so smoothly and excellently shows what a rare talent he is.
“He orchestrates many of our attacks. He wanted to come back here and play 80 minutes. He’s here to get game time and he’s sharp. His decision making and getting time on the ball is a rarity.
The 24-year-old kicked ten points after coming off England’s Six Nations clash with France
Quins coach Tabai Matson (left) insisted Smith’s performance in the win warranted an England recall by Steve Borthwick (right)
“I spoke to Steve (Borthwick) on Sunday and he wanted Marcus to come back here and lead the game.
“The best thing he could have done was to play the best he could. Steve is very clear about how they want to win tests, but Marcus has put his best foot forward and shown that things can be done differently.’
Josh Bassett was thrown into sin early on for an intentional attack, but Quins never looked back after that. Cadan Murley, Bassett and Sam Riley try to put Quins ahead 26-0 at halftime. Hooker Jack Innard hit the Chiefs lone strike with a try short in the second half, but a brace from Joe Marchant and another from Stephan Lewies saw the hosts crush their rivals in front of 54,000 fans.
Chiefs head coach Ali Hepher admitted: ‘It’s a humiliating result and we have no complaints about the score.,..just that we should have picked up a lot more points ourselves. We had chances and camped on their line quite a bit but just couldn’t cross their line to make it pay off. Marcus Smith is clearly a quality operator and performed superbly tonight.’