Cardiff 33-36 Harlequins: Marcus Smith breaks Welsh hearts with last kick of the game despite Owen Lane brace

Cardiff 33-36 Harlequins: Marcus Smith breaks Welsh hearts with last kick of the game despite Owen Lane brace

England fly-half Marcus Smith landed a match-winning penalty with the final kick of an epic European encounter to break Cardiff hearts.

There were ten tries in all, five apiece, as well as three yellow cards in an incident-packed Champions Cup clash at the Arms Park, where the lead swapped back and fore.

Wales wing contender Owen Lane was outstanding for the home side, touching down twice and paving the way for another score.

But it was Smith who was named Man of the Match after claiming a 15 point haul and sparkling throughout with his individual brilliance.

Cardiff pick up two losing bonus points and they can take heart from having played some tremendous stuff.

But they will rue having let the win slip having led 33-19 going into the final quarter and then 33-26 with just four minutes to go.

This really was a cracking match and it’s such a shame there weren’t any fans there to see it.

Harlequins dominated the early exchanges and took a deserved lead on seven minutes when wing Louis Lynagh pocketed a pinpoint cross-kick from Smith and stepped inside the corner-flagging Hallam Amos to touch down.

At that point, Cardiff hadn’t made a single carry, but they worked their way into the game and began to show their attacking threat off quick ball.

The levelled the scores on 13 minutes thanks to a powerful finish from Lane.

He had plenty to do when he received the ball out on the right, but he stepped inside centre Luke Northmore and handed off opposite number Cadan Murley to race over.

Then, five minutes later, the hosts struck again to take the lead.

Centre Rey Lee Lo, who is as stylish as he is ageless, created the attacking position with a gliding break out on the left.

A couple of penalties followed and Cardiff sustained the forward carrying pressure, with No 8 James Ratti forcing his way from close range.

But, as the half wore on, Quins’ dominance in the scrum began to tell and the penalties mounted against the hosts.

Eventually, French referee Tual Trainini lost his patience and yellow carded prop Dmitri Arhip after repeated scrum offences.

Up against 14 men, the visitors finally made their pressure tell in the final play of the half, deep into stoppage time, when full-back Tyrone Green pounced on a loose ball following another Smith cross kick to make it 14-12 at the break.

They took further advantage of their numerical advantage on the resumption when centre Northmore was sent over by his former Cardiff Met team-mate Alex Dombrandt after great hands from that man Smith.

But then Dombrandt was yellow carded for not rolling away near his own line and it was the hosts’ turn to capitalise on an extra man and how, as they produced a three try blitz in the space of four minutes.

Wales prop Dillon Lewis crashed over after a series of forward carries and then Owen Lane took centre stage.

First the winger delivered an acrobatic finish in the corner after pouncing on a loose bouncing ball following a kick through from Amos.

Owen Lane scores his second against Harlequins
(Image: Getty Images)

Then he left Green for dead on the outside in the build-up to replacement loosehead Corry Dowachowski powering over.

But Danny Care crossed to cut the deficit and Cardiff were once again reduced to 14 men as hooker Kirby Myhill was yellow carded.

The rest of the script was written by the outstanding Smith, who danced over four minutes from time to level the scores and then had the final word after Josh Adams was penalised for holding on as the hosts looked to counter from deep in search of the win in added time.

What a game!

Cardiff Rugby: Hallam Amos; Owen Lane, Rey Lee-Lo, Uilisi Halaholo, Josh Adams; Jarrod Evans, Tomos Williams; Rhys Carré, Kirby Myhill, Dmitri Arhip, Josh Turnbull (capt.), Seb Davies, Shane Lewis-Hughes, Ellis Jenkins, James Ratti.

Reps : Torin Myhill, Corey Domachowski, Dillon Lewis, Rory Thornton, Will Boyde, Lloyd Williams, Rhys Priestland, Ben Thomas.

Harlequins: Tyrone Green; Louis Lynagh, Joe Marchant, Luke Northmore, Cadan Murley; Marcus Smith, Danny Care; Joe Marler, Jack Walker, Will Collier, Matt Symons, Dino Lamb, James Chisholm, Tom Lawday, Alex Dombrandt (capt).

Reps: Sam Riley, Santiago Garcia Botta, Simon Kerrod, Hugh Tizard, Viliami Taulani, Jack Stafford, Will Edwards, Huw Jones.

Referee: Tual Trainini (France)

Kick-off: 8pm

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