Harlequins boss Paul Gustard singled out the performance of fly-half Marcus Smith after their last-gasp victory over league leaders Exeter Chiefs at the Twickenham Stoop.

Smith put in a man-of the-match performance against the Chiefs as his try, three conversions and two penalties kept his side in touch before a penalty try in the final seconds of the game sealed a dramatic 34-30 bonus point victory.

The win ends a run of two defeats for the Quins and helped them rise to seventh in the Premiership Rugby table, only three points of an all-important top-four spot.

“It was important that we got the win,” said Gustard post-match.

“To get the bonus point against a team with the calibre of Exeter, in the form that they are in, is massive for us.

“We always have close encounters with Exeter. We got ourselves in front, then conceded two tries pretty softly but the last 15-20 minutes was all about resilience, all about grit and all about determination.

“We have been making good strides. We weren’t miles off against Bath, we weren’t miles off against London Irish but a 60-metre fly hack takes the game away from you and then they score a try in injury-time which makes the score look a lot worse.”

Gustard then went on to applaud the performance of  21-year-old fly-half Smith, who has been in top form for Harlequins this season.

“Look at Marcus – he is a 21-year-old fly-half with more talent than I ever had in my career,” added Gustard.

“He is fantastic to watch. His passion for the game and his excitement to learn is so impressive and then to deliver performances like that is a real credit to him.

“There are 11 teams who can roll you over at this stage in the competition. It is so tight. It is so tough and if you are one or two percent off you can get bitten hard.”

However, in addition to Smith’s performance Gustard also believed that the crowd at Twickenham Stoop played a key role in spurring his team to victory.

“The last 15-20 minutes, it was all us – the place was buzzing,” he added.

“You get your spine tingling down your back and the players rise two inches. Their chests grow, their shoulders get wider and then you get the result that we did.

“It was due to their desire and verve, but it was also to do with the crowd’s effort.”