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Harlequins 36-33 Castres: More late drama as Quins come from behind to win enthralling ten-try game

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Harlequins 36-33 Castres: More late drama as Quins come from behind to win TEN-TRY THRILLER in the European Champions Cup thanks to sensational Alex Dombrandt hat-trick

  • Harlequins trailed 13-0 but produced a stunning comeback to emerge victorious
  • England No 8 Alex Dombrandt completed a hat-trick in the 83rd minute 
  • Quins were already assured of their place in the Champions Cup knockout stage 
  • They will discover their last 16 opponent after this weekend’s round of matches


Yet more chaos to end a day of drama in the Champions Cup. Yet more last-gasp heroics from Harlequins.

Six minutes into the red, the Stoop held its breath. After waves of pressure, captain Alex Dombrandt had gone for the line – was he short? Had the England No 8 lost control? Castres thought so – they celebrated as replays appeared on the big screen.

Eventually, though, the officials disagreed. And so Harlequins secured an incredible victory to cap a bonkers Friday across Europe, when Covid cancellations and legal threats eventually gave way to rugby. 

Alex Dombrandt (centre) was the hero for Harlequins as Tabai Matson's side left it late again

Alex Dombrandt (centre) was the hero for Harlequins as Tabai Matson’s side left it late again

And what a game it was: ten tries, one dropped ball on the line, one just about placed on it. 

Another hat-trick for Dombrandt; the second time in a week Quins have won 36-33 at the death. Four wins from four won’t be enough for home advantage in the quarter-finals. Not that anyone here last night cared.

‘That call from the TMO could have gone either way,’ coach Tabai Matson said.

Dombrandt scored a hat-trick as Quins made it four wins from four in the Champions Cup

Dombrandt scored a hat-trick as Quins made it four wins from four in the Champions Cup

‘I’m not getting used to (the late victories). But I understand that it seems to be the way here!’ 

Even for a side with Quins’ lust for comebacks, this bordered on the absurd. Their much-changed side allowed Castres to race into a 13-0 lead through tries from Gaetan Barlot and Antoine Zeghdar.

Before long, though, Quins turned the game on its head: Dombrandt snuck over before Huw Jones and Viliami Taulani scored their first Quins tries.

Ben Botica represents the heartbreak that all in a Castres shirt were feeling at full-time

Ben Botica represents the heartbreak that all in a Castres shirt were feeling at full-time

Joe Marler’s yellow card then allowed Rory Kockott to put Castres back in front before Dombrandt crossed for his second shortly after the break. 

But Castres would not lie down. Filipo Nakosi crashed over and then, moments after ex-Quin Ben Botica fumbled as he dived for the line, Adrea Cocagi scored. 

Eventually Marcus Smith was summoned from the bench. For once, though, he was powerless to rewrite the script. Instead Dombrandt did. 

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