Heartbreak for Max Malins as hat-trick is trumped by incredible Harlequins comeback
- Credit: NIGEL FRENCH/PA
A call-up for England this summer is the smallest crumb of comfort for Max Malins after he became forever linked with arguably one of the greatest comebacks in sport.
The former Old Albanian and Felsted schoolboy grabbed a hat-trick with two of them helping his Bristol Bears side into a 28-0 lead over Harlequins at one point and seemingly on course for a place in the Premiership final.
However, one try just before half-time, four after it and two more in extra time completed the turnaround, handing Quins an amazing 43-36 success.
Malins will now have a game against Scotland A and then tests against USA and Canada to lick wounds that will no doubt run very deep before a planned return to Saracens, his one-year loan deal now up.
Bristol's director of rugby Pat Lam said: ""We had many chances to finish that game off but we will have to take defeat on the chin.
"It's especially tough for the guys who are leaving as there was no fairy-tale ending but those returning will have a chance to atone.
"It's a huge disappointment but we are finally getting a break after a long hard year. At least we fired some shots in this semi-final, unlike last year, and it's still been an incredible year."
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Malins is part of a 36-strong England squad called up by head coach Eddie Jones for the A international with Scotland at Leicester on Sunday, a squad that includes 22 uncapped players.
Harpenden's Jack Singleton would have been included too but he is self-isolating following a COVID-19 close contact notification via the NHS app.
Jones will name a further squad on Monday ahead of the two Tests at Twickenham.