An inspired Marcus Smith helped Harlequins to a 31-28 Investec Champions Cup win in Paris against Racing 92.
Smith scored Harlequins’ first try with a sensational dummy, whilst he kicked conversions for all four of Harlequins’ tries as well as a drop goal to notch up a personal tally of 16.
Racing 92 scored four tries of their own, with scrum-half Nolann Le Garrec particularly impressive as he scored twice whilst also converting all of the French side’s tries.
In an enthralling first half, the two equally matched sides scored two converted tries apiece with Smith’s drop goal being the only difference as Harlequins went in 17-14 up.
It was a half defined by a trading of brilliance between Le Garrec and Smith, with the scrum-half striking first when he finished off a flowing move.
Smith responded in kind, and Harlequins soon added a second via centre Andre Esterhuizen. The visitors then went ten points up when Smith scored a drop goal, but fly-half Antoine Gibert crossed to keep the hosts firmly in the match.
They took the lead moments into the second period with Le Garrec picking up his second try and the hosts maintained their supremacy. Even despite Smith producing a try-saving tackle to deny Racing their fourth try, it eventually came via flanker Ibrahim Diallo as Racing picked up their bonus-point.
But immediately Harlequins struck back. First Number 8 Alex Dombrandt broke through, and then they took the lead through prop Jack Walker.
Racing 92 pushed for a winner, opting to go for the try rather than take the draw, and there was hope when Harlequins’ lack of discipline saw second row Dino Lamb handed a yellow on the 80th minute.
But the French side had no time to take advantage, a late knock on right by the try line ending their hopes.
Racing 92 will now travel to Belfast to face Ulster Rugby, while Harlequins will host another French side in Stade Toulousain.