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Harlequins are looking to continue a strong start to this season’s Heineken Champions Cup when they welcome Cardiff Rugby in Round Two on Saturday.
After beating Castres Olympique in their opening fixture, they are now seeking to back-to-back wins in the competition for the first time since stringing together four in a row across the 2013/14 and 2014/15 campaigns.
The Pool B encounter kicks off at the Twickenham Stoop at 1pm and is available to view on Channel 4, Virgin Media, beIN SPORTS, and BT Sport.
Other key facts:
- Harlequins and Cardiff have faced each other eight times previously in the Heineken Champions Cup. The English club won their first meeting before being winless in the following seven, drawing two and losing five.
- Cardiff have lost their last four games against Gallagher Premiership clubs in the Heineken Champions Cup, as many defeats as in their previous 17 such encounters (W11 D2). They lost their most recent two games against English sides despite leading at half-time.
- Cardiff lost the most lineouts (5) in the opening round of the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup, recording the lowest lineout success rate (69%), while only Connacht Rugby (3) stole more opposition lineouts than Harlequins (2) in Round 1.
- Cardiff scrum-half Tomos Williams made two passes that led to a line break during the opening round of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup. Only Finn Russell, the Racing 92 fly-half (3), made more line-break assists in Round 1.
🗣 "The crowd were fantastic and it was one of the best crowds I’ve had down at the Arms Park. I was very proud of the boys. The boys who have been here for a while as well as the boys coming in did fantastically well"@SebDaviess looks ahead to Saturday's clash with @Harlequins pic.twitter.com/yUhl7Z9WLD
— Cardiff Rugby (@Cardiff_Rugby) December 15, 2021
Cardiff academy manager Gruff Rees: “You don’t quite realise how accomplished Harlequins are around the basics, the contact area as well as the pace and panache of the way they play. We’ll use some of that to lever us in the background in terms of being across certain levels of detail. Defensively, there are a couple of tweaks there, but we can use this game as another exciting one, because they’re the English champions.”
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Harlequins made it two wins from two in the Heineken Champions Cup as they ran in six tries to beat a fearless Cardiff Rugby side 43-17 at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
An inexperienced Cardiff team were level with the Gallagher Premiership champions at half-time as they went over for three tries, but Quins ultimately proved too strong in the Pool B clash.
Cardiff full-back Cam Winnett marked his debut with a try on four minutes which scrum-half Tomos Williams converted as the United Rugby Championship outfit made an excellent start to the game.
Let it be said, @Cardiff_Rugby have come to play! 🤩
Theo Cabango from inside his own half, finished with a magnificent step! 💫
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) December 18, 2021
Quins hit back on nine minutes as scrum-half Danny Care benefitted from a neat inside ball, with Marcus Smith adding the extras – as he did for all but one of the hosts’ tries as he tallied 18 points – to level the scores.
But Cardiff would take the lead again as flanker James Botham sneaked over from close range, before another Quins response came through Smith – he broke from deep superbly and played a one-two with No.8 Alex Dombrandt before diving over.
Smith nudged a penalty on 28 minutes before another sensational individual try came 5 minutes later, as Cardiff winger Theo Cabango raced from his own half before stepping inside and crossing for the visitors’ third effort.
That left the scores locked at 17-17 heading into the break, and Cardiff started the second period on top as they enjoyed plenty of the ball during the opening exchanges.
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 18, 2021
However, Quins clicked into gear just before the hour mark and scored two tries in quick succession as Dombrandt first crashed over before Smith floated a kick into the hands of winger Joe Marchant who dived over in the corner.
The hosts notched their fifth try on 67 minutes as Dombrandt grabbed his second, the England international benefitting from a rumbling maul.
Cardiff kept battling and had a try ruled out by the TMO, but Quins would score a sixth try when centre Andre Esterhuizen dotted down on 77 minutes.
The two sides face off again in Round 3, when Quins make the trip to Cardiff Arms Park.