Tabai Matson: Marcus Smith is ‘verging on being world-class’

Marcus Smith is on the brink of becoming a “world-class” fly-half, according to Harlequins boss Tabai Matson. 

The Quins head coach spoke highly of his pivot after watching him steer his side to a 39-29 Champions Cup victory over a Springbok-laden Sharks team.

Phenomenal Marcus

Smith pulled the strings as Harlequins registered their first win in all competitions since mid-December, snapping a four-game losing streak to secure a play-off place in the Champions Cup.

The win over the Sharks was just Smith’s second game back since an ankle injury kept him sidelined for the last two months.

“For Marcus to do 80 minutes two games in a row and be in really good physical condition after that injury is phenomenal,” Matson said.

“It shows his work ethic, his preparation because you would never have thought he had that much time out of the game.

“He’s great to watch. He’s clearly a quality player and is verging on being world-class.

“When the conditions are right, and he’s got a forward pack that does what it does, and we win the physicality battle, he’s always going to look good on the front foot.”

Evans’ gameplan

Marcus Smith will link up with the England Six Nations squad on Monday and will be joined by Harlequins’ attack coach Nick Evans. 

“We’ve all been really desperate to play in really good conditions and get back to scoring tries,” Matson said.

“On a day like that Nick orchestrated a pretty good gameplan that, when it’s executed, looks pretty spectacular.

“This win feels really good for a number of reasons. It’s been five weeks since we’ve won, so to be back in the winning circle, playing in a manner we’re really proud of and delivering a good performance with five tries. It’s a great feeling.”

READ MORE: Eben Etzebeth: Sharks lock explains why his try was legal and his affection for the Champions Cup

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