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Harlequins’ four second-half tries at Montpellier Hérault Rugby sees them head into Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 second leg at Twickenham Stoop with hopes of a completing a remarkable comeback.
The Gallagher Premiership side trailed 34-0 shortly after the break at GGL Stadium but their late surge saw them limit the damage to a 40-26 defeat.
Something must give in the second leg; Harlequins have lost six of their last eight matches against TOP 14 teams, while Montpellier have lost all their previous eight away games in England.
The game kicks off at 12:30 (UK & Irish) and it is live on BT Sport and beIN SPORTS.
Lightning speed ⚡️
Who are you backing in a foot race? 👀#HeinekenChampionsCup pic.twitter.com/YWcSDBAqgw
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) April 13, 2022
Other key stats:
- Harlequins have won both of their home games in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup; however, they have lost on both occasions when they have hosted knockout stage games in the competition (5-6 v Leinster in 2008/09 and12-18 v Munster in 2012/13).
- Montpellier have won their last two games in the Heineken Champions Cup but have won more consecutive matches only once before in the competition, a run of five wins in the pool stage in 2012/13.
- Harlequins are the only team yet to concede a scrum penalty in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, while Montpellier are the only team yet to concede a penalty at the maul.
- Montpellier have averaged 182 successful tackles per game in the Heineken Champions Cup this season; no other team has made more than 150 per game; Harlequins are the only team to average fewer than 100 successful tackles per game this season (99), although they have recorded the most possession of any team in 2021/22 (55%)
- Harlequins’ Danny Care has made 247 passes in the Heineken Champions Cup this season, more than any other player; three of those passes have assisted a try, and only four players have made more try assist passes this campaign.
- Harlequins’ Louis Lynagh made 203 metres from nine carries last weekend against Montpellier. His average of 22.6m per carry was the best rate of any player to make more than five carries in a game this season.
- Montpellier’s Cobus Reinach has scored a try in each of his two games in the Heineken Champions Cup this season and has been directly involved in 10 tries in his last nine games (6 tries, four assists).
Harlequins lock George Hammond: “We are very confident we can take it back to the Stoop and do a job, so it’s all about coming out of the blocks next week.”
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Montpellier Hérault Rugby survived a spirited Harlequins performance to reach the Heineken Champions Cup quarter finals on Saturday.
The TOP 14 side lost 33-20 to Quins during their Round of 16 second leg at Twickenham Stoop, but a 40-26 first leg win meant Montpellier won 60-59 on aggregate.
Yvan Reilhac and Julien Tisseron dotted down for the visitors in the first-half, with Louis Forsans adding seven points and Handré Pollard kicking three points.
Huw Jones, Alex Dombrandt, Joe Marchant and a Louis Lynagh double saw Quins record five tries in their attempts to reverse the 14-point deficit, with Marcus Smith kicking 13 points for the hosts.
Quins got off to a perfect start when Dombrandt powered through Montpellier’s defensive line before releasing Huw Jones for a first-minute try. Smith then added the extras as Harlequins quickly halved the first leg deficit.
Montpellier hit back following a scrum when Forsans drew in Marchant and Lynagh before offloading to Reilhac who then went over for the visitors. Forsans went on to improve Reilhac’s try to level the score.
Dombrandt then made sure Quins regained their lead following a period of pressure from the Gallagher Premiership side as he dotted down for his seventh Heineken Champions Cup try of the season, before Smith slotted his second conversion of the game.
Forsans quickly replied for Montpellier, however, as he kicked a penalty to make it a four-point game.
Quins responded to Forsans’ penalty by producing a stunning try, as Smith made a break from deep to sprint past Montpellier’s defence, finding Cadan Murley with a pass who released Marchant to score. Smith then recorded another conversion.
Montpellier’s Tisseron then got himself on the scoresheet as he perfectly judged a Forsans cross-kick before diving over the try line, with Forsans converting again.
With the first-half coming to a close, Quins ran in their fourth try of the game when Dombrandt picked up from the base of a scrum to find Lynagh who went over in the corner. Smith ensured Harlequins went into the interval with an 11-point lead with another conversion.
Montpellier got the first points following the break when Pollard made amends for his first-half penalty miss by kicking his second three-pointer attempt between the posts.
However, the visitors were later reduced to 14-men after committing a series of penalties, resulting in Jeremie Mauroard being handed a yellow card by referee Mike Adamson.
As Quins continued their assault on the Montpellier defence, Smith thought he had reduced the aggregate deficit to one point after dotting down – only for the try to be ruled by the TMO after Tisseron had been illegally blocked during the move.
Quins would eventually make it a one-point game when Lynagh dotted down for his second try, giving Smith a chance to give the hosts the lead on aggregate, but the England international ultimately failed in his conversion attempt as his side go out in the Round of 16.
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