Everything you need to know - Cardiff v Harlequins

Thursday, 13th January 2022 @ 12:00

Stats, head-to-heads, last time out - it's your in-depth guide to our Champions Cup clash

Harlequins v Cardiff
20:00, Friday 14 January
Cardiff Arms Park
Watch live on BT Sport 2HD

It's our first venture in Europe in 2022!

Harlequins go on the road in their first European game of the new year as the Famous Quarters head to Cardiff ranked first overall in Pool B.

Marcus Smith
How does the Champions Cup work this season?

Each club will play four matches during the pool stage, two at home and two away, with the eight highest-ranked clubs in each pool qualifying for the Round of 16.

The clubs ranked from nine to 11 in each of the pools will qualify for the Round of 16 of the EPCR Challenge Cup.

The Round of 16 matches will be played over two legs with the four highest-ranked clubs in each pool at home in the second leg. The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be played over one leg, with the final scheduled for the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille on Saturday 28 May.

How are we lining up?

Quins v Cardiff line up
How are Cardiff lining up?

Cardiff have announced their squad for Friday's match.

Who is in charge?

Referee: Tual Trainini (France)
Assistant Ref 1: Benoit Rousselet (France)
Assistant Ref 2: Cedric Marchat (France)
TMO: Eric Gauzins (France)

Form guide

Harlequins: WWWWW
Cardiff: WWLLL

All competitions

Harlequins head to Cardiff Arms Park off the back of five straight wins. Tabai Matson's men claimed a narrow 20-18 win at Castres to kick-off the Champions Cup campaign and followed that up with a 43-17 victory over Cardiff.

Quins ended 2021 on a high with a six-try 41-27 win in Big Game 13 against Northampton Saints and ground out narrow wins over Gloucester and Exeter Chiefs. The win over Exeter was a thriller as Marcus Smith’s cross-kick landed perfectly into Andre Esterhuizen’s breadbasket with the South African running in the crucial score. Smith added the extra two points from the tee to seal the 14-12 win.

Andre Esterhuizen
Meanwhile, Cardiff head into the clash off the back of three straight defeats. They were comprehensively beaten by Edinburgh last weekend, with the Scottish outfit scoring five tries to Cardiff’s one as the game ended 34-10.

Fixture postponements and cancellations mean that Cardiff have played one game since their visit to the Stoop in December, with the Welsh outfit losing 39-7 to Toulouse before the clash against Quins.

What we said

“It’s the old England versus Wales game between the two capital city clubs, and while they didn’t have a great result up in Edinburgh, they haven’t had much rugby together to be fair as a unit.

“They will want to have a crack at the English champions, and we will match it. They have a lot of internationals in their team, and when these big games come along, they raise their game.”

Adam Jones, Harlequins Coach

Last time we met

In December, Harlequins welcomed Cardiff to the Stoop, and the Club put on a show in the second half scoring 26 unanswered points to secure a 43-17 victory after the two sides were deadlocked at half-time.

Alex Dombrandt (two), Joe Marchant, and Andre Esterhuizen all scored tries in the second half, following tries from Danny Care and Marcus Smith in the first 40.

Joe Marchant
Head-to-Head Record

Played: 9
Harlequins wins: 2
Cardiff wins: 5
Draws: 2

Past Champions Cup Results

21 Sept 1997: Cardiff 21-28 Harlequins
4 Oct 1997: Harlequins 31-32 Cardiff
19 Nov 1999: Cardiff 32-32 Harlequins
16 Jan 2000: Harlequins 26-30 Cardiff
17 Nov 2007: Harlequins 13-13 Cardiff
11 Jan 2008: Cardiff 23-12 Harlequins
10 Oct 2009: Cardiff 20-6 Harlequins
24 Jan 2010: Harlequins 20-45 Cardiff
18 Dec 2021: Harlequins 43-17 Cardiff

Alex Dombrandt
In numbers

2 – Harlequins have won their last two matches in the Heineken Champions Cup, their best run since winning four in a row across the 2013/14 and 2014/15 campaigns.

5 – Alex Dombrandt has won five turnovers in the opening two games, the most in the competition, with Cardiff’s Ellis Jenkins in joint second place with four.

7.5 – Harlequins average 7.5 penalties conceded in the competition, the second-lowest tally.

28 – Marcus Smith is this season’s leading scorer with 28 points from two matches, four points more than the joint next best by Jack Carty (Connacht Rugby) and John Cooney (Ulster Rugby).

29 – Alex Dombrandt has made the most line-breaks (29) and assisted the most tries (12) of any forward in the Premiership this season.

63 – Harlequins have scored the most points of any side in the Heineken Champions Cup this season (63), crossing for a joint-high eight tries (level with Connacht).

100 – Harlequins are one of 11 clubs to maintain a 100 per cent scrum success in the opening two rounds of the competition.


Ellis Jenkins v James Chisholm

James Chisholm
James Chisholm takes over the starting jersey from the injured Jack Kenningham and will look to make a claim to start for the remainder of the season.

Chisholm has been a standout when he has stepped into the starting XV, particularly at number eight in place of Alex Dombrandt. He has gained over 237 running metres in the Premiership and has assisted a try.

Chisholm faces a challenging task in keeping Cardiff’s breakdown specialist quiet. Ellis won four turnovers in the first two rounds of the competition, the joint second-highest tally. Since his return from injury, the Welsh international has been in great form, both for club and country.

Jenkins provides a telling test for Chisholm and one he will be eager to sink his teeth into.

Willis Halaholo v Luke Northmore

Luke Northmore
Luke Northmore grabs another chance in the starting XV, this time at 12, just days after committing his long-term future to the Club.

The in-form midfielder scored a crucial try for the Club in the win over Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership and will relish the opportunity as he returns to Cardiff, having attended Cardiff Met University. Northmore has been in stellar try-scoring form this season, dotting eight times in 12 appearances.

Willis Halaholo showed his class against Harlequins the last time the two sides faced off, with the Welsh international gaining over 40 running metres beating three defenders. The experienced head also completed two offloads and completed 12 passes in a well-rounded outing at the Stoop.

In the news this week

Dommers recommits to Quins!

Alex Dombrandt has signed a new long-term deal with the Club. The England international joined the Club from Cardiff Met University ahead of the 2018/19 season and has flourished during his time in the Famous Quarters, scoring 43 tries in 87 appearances.

Luke Northmore has joined Alex Dombrandt in signing a new long-term contract with the Club.

Like Dombrandt, Northmore arrived at The Stoop from Cardiff Met University and has gone on to become one of the most potent attackers in the Club’s backline. The midfielder currently boasts 13 tries in 38 appearances for the Club, scoring eight tries in 12 appearances so far this season.

Five Quins players were in the Fans’ XV Team of the Week!

Front rowers Joe Marler and Will Collier were both voted into the side, including backs Marcus Smith, Andre Esterhuizen, and Luke Northmore. It is the third time in a row that Esterhuizen has made the team and eighth overall.

Esterhuizen also picked up the Try of the Week from Round 13 with his late winner against Exeter.

Get well soon Kenners! Quins confirmed that Jack Kenningham underwent successful surgery earlier this week following a neck injury sustained during last weekend’s victory over Exeter Chiefs.

Next up at The Stoop - Harlequins v Castres Olympique!

Castres tickets

Cadan Murley says people forget how young the squad is at Quins and that there is so much more to come from this group of players.

Baxter learning from the best

18th January 2022

Fin Baxter says there's no other better learning environment for a young prop with Adam Jones and Joe Marler to look up to.

Will Evans says it's the best environment he's been a part of in rugby which made it an easy decision to sign a new deal.