Joe Marchant stars as Harlequins complete stunning comeback to secure top-four spot

Gloucester appeared to steady themselves but quickly presented an opening. Carreras hit a long-range drop-goal attempt that faded wide and was gathered by Jones, whose clearance was carried into touch by Hastings. Harlequins launched from the edge of the opposition 22. Jones punched a hole before Smith and Esterhuizen imparted width for Marchant bag a second. Now all impetus belonged to Harlequins.

Rees-Zammit was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on after Care’s tackle on Chapman brought a turnover and Dombrandt looped a pass wide. Harlequins swept from flank to flank and stayed patient long enough for Smith, Marchant and Jones to capitalise on an overlap. Murley was the scorer, and Smith converted.

Marchant nearly completed a hat-trick at the death, yet could not quite control another Care dink. Fittingly, given it had been a foundation of another thrilling win, a powerful Harlequins scrum had the final say. Dreams of retaining the title are very much alive.

Match details

Scoring: 0-5 Morgan try, 0-7 Hastings conversion, 7-5 Dombrandt try, 7-7 Smith conversion, 7-12 Clarke try, 7-14 Hastings conversion, 7-19 Harris try, 7-21 Hastings conversion, 7-24 Hastings drop-goal, 12-24 Marchant try, 14-24 Smith conversion, 19-24 Marchant try, 21-24 Smith conversion, 26-24 Murley try, 28-24 Smith conversion

Harlequins: H Jones (T Allan, 76); L Lynagh, J Marchant, A Esterhuizen, C Murley (N David, 70): M Smith, D Care; S Kerrod (J Marler, 23), J Walker, W Louw, M Symons (Lewies 65-75), H Tizard, S Lewies (M Jurevicius, 56), T Lawday (W Evans, 51), A Dombrandt

Replacements not used: J Els, L Gjaltema,

Gloucester: S Carreras (B Twlelvetrees, 65); L Rees-Zammit, C Harris (T Seabrook, 45), G Kveseladze, O Thorley; A Hastings, C Chapman (B Meehan, 65); V Rapava-Ruskin (H Elrington, 48), S Socino (J Singleton, 62), K Gotovtsev (F Balmain, 51), F Clarke, M Alemanni, R Ackermann, L Ludlow, B Morgan (J Reid, 43)

Referee: C Maxwell-Keys (RFU)

Yellow card: Rees-Zammit, 65

Attendance: 47,421

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