Sat 22 Jan 2022 | 09:00

Dombrandt saves Quins blushes and does Toulouse a favour

Dombrandt saves Quins blushes and does Toulouse a favour
Sat 22 Jan 2022 | 09:00
Dombrandt saves Quins blushes and does Toulouse a favour
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MATCH REPORT: Alex Dombrandt scored his third try of the game deep in added time to give Harlequins a 36-33 victory over Castres on Friday in a Champions Cup game filled with tries, handling errors and referee’s whistles.

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The latest late escape by the English champions also did a favour for French and European Champions Toulouse after cup organisers cancelled their Saturday home game against Cardiff and left the holders at risk of failing to make the top eight in Pool B and missing out on the last 16.

With the clock at 83 minutes, Castres had the bonus-point victory they needed to climb to seventh in the table and drop Toulouse to eighth ahead of the weekend games.

But Dombrandt stretched out as he dived to brush the ball against the line for a try.

“Definitely a lot of relief,” Dombrandt said of a try awarded after a video review.

“Definitely 50-50. I felt it was good. I’m happy.”

(Continue below …)

Dombrandt saves Quins blushes and does Toulouse a favour

Because they failed to pick up a bonus point, Quins will finish second in the pool behind Leicester who were awarded a bonus point victory when their home match with Bordeaux Begles was cancelled.

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Harlequins, already sure of a place in the round of 16, made nine changes from the team that beat Cardiff last weekend, with England backs Marcus Smith, Luke Northmore and Joe Marchant all rested.

The two forwards in the England squad, Dombrandt and Joe Marler both started and had eventful evenings.

Castres recalled former Quins flyhalf Ben Botica who also had a mixed game.

Quins looked like a team of strangers in the opening 10 minutes.

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Botica gave the visitors a second-minute lead after two minutes. But he missed a conversion from each touchline as Castres scored two tries in the next eight minutes.

Prop Gaetan Barlot exploited an undefended blindside on the left to trot over after five minutes then wing Antoine Zeghdar burst through a huge gap on the right in the 10th minute.

Dombrandt hit back in the 14th minute lunging over in the corner.

Botica replied with a penalty before Quins took the lead with two tries in four minutes.

Huw Jones exploited some chaotic defending to score after 24 minutes. Then flank Viliami Taulani crashed over from a maul.

Marler was then shown a yellow card for stepping on Castres scrum half Rory Kockott’s hand after the whistle had gone.

Immediately Castres caught Quins napping on the blindside again as Kockott scooted round a line out and scored in the corner.

Even with Marler still off, Dombrandt had half the field to himself as he cruised over for a try in the 43rd minute.

Yet Castres hit back with a bonus point try of their own as Filipo Nakosi, unmarked on the wing, collected Botica’s cross-kick to touch down.

Then Botica sidestepped through the Quins defence only to drop the ball as he dived to touch down, but Castres had been awarded a penalty. Their dominant pack made the most of the second chance, powering forward in a maul and setting up centre Adrea Cocagi to surge over and give his team the lead.

But with Smith and Marchant on, Quins pressed as time expired and Dombrandt squirmed over.

The scorers

For Harlequins
Tries: Dombrandt 3, H Jones, Taulani
Cons: Allan 3, Smith
Pen: Allan

For Castres
Tries: Barlot, Zeghdar, Kockott, Nakosi, Cocagi
Con: Botica
Pens: Botica

Yellow card: Joe Marler (Harlequins, 33)

Teams

Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Louis Lynagh, 13 Huw Jones, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Cadan Murley, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Scott Steele, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain), 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Viliami Taulani, 5 Hugh Tizard, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Simon Kerrod, 2 Jack Musk, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Sam Riley, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Mak Wilson, 19 George Hammond, 20 Archie White, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Joe Marchant.

Castres: 15 Thomas Larregain, 14 Antoine Zeghdar, 13 Pierre Aguillon, 12 Adrea Cocagi, 11 Filipo Nakosi, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Kevin Kornath, 7 Mateaki Kafatolu, 6 Nick Champion de Crespigny, 5 Jack Whetton, 4 Florent Vanverberghe, 3 Antoine Guillamon, 2 Gaetan Barlot (captain), 1 Antoine Tichit.
Replacements: 16 Paula Ngauamo, 17 Julius Nostadt, 18 Matthew Tierney, 19 Théo Hannoyer, 20 Josaia Raisuqe, 21 Jérémy Fernandez, 22 Louis Le Brun, 23 Vilimoni Botitu.

Referee: Mike Adamson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: Ian Kenny (Scotland), Dave Sutherland (Scotland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

PV: 12
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