Marcus Smith and Alex Dombrandt, key members of the Harlequins side who have guided the Gallagher Premiership club into the Heineken Champions Cup knockout stages for the first time since 2012-13, combined to score all of England’s points as they beat Wales 23-19 in the Six Nations on Saturday. 

Fly-half Smith, the Heineken Champions Cup’s leading points-scorer this season with 46 and a nominee for the prestigious EPCR Player of the Year award, kicked six penalties, including four in the first half, to net 18 points and win the man-of-the-match award at Twickenham Stadium. 

No.8 Dombrandt, who sits second in the Heineken Champions Cup try-scoring chart with six through four games and is a rival to Smith in the EPCR Player of the Year stakes, picked off an errant Welsh lineout early in the second period to score England’s only try and give them a 17-0 lead. 

Wales rallied with two tries before Smith added two penalties to extend England’s lead to 23-12 and give the host nation enough breathing space of hold off another Welsh comeback.

In the day’s other Six Nations match at BT Murrayfield, ASM Clermont Auvergne wing Damian Penaud dotted down twice for France as they maintained their Grand Slam charge with a 36-17 win over Scotland. 

Montpellier Hérault Rugby lock Paul Willemse, Union Bordeaux-Bègles back Yoram Moefana, Racing 92 centre Gaël Fickou and Stade Français Paris centre Jonathan Danty also scored tries in the emphatic victory.