Harlequins survived a late scare to run out 28-25 winners over Gloucester in an entertaining clash at the Stoop on Saturday.
Harlequins survived a late scare to run out 28-25 winners over Gloucester in an entertaining Premiership clash at the Stoop on Saturday.
Quins scored three first half tries through Mike Brown, Matt Hopper and Sam Smith to go alongside seven points from the boot of Nick Evans. The visitors' response in the opening period came from four Freddie Burns' penalties, but the defending champions led 22-12 at the break.
Evans and Burns added two more three-pointers each after the interval before Billy Twelvetrees went over late on to rescue a losing bonus-point for Gloucester.
This encounter has been won by the home side on the last 11 occasions and Quins showed their intent early with an Evans' penalty. And although that was almost immediately cancelled out by Burns, the London-based outfit scored the first try of the afternoon through Brown.
After Maurie Fa'asavalu's break was halted, the ball was recycled quickly before Tom Williams' long pass put the full-back in the corner. But the Cherry and Whites continued to play at a high tempo with their powerful forwards carrying well.
They were eventually rewarded when their fly-half kicked successive three-pointers to reduce the arrears to a solitary point. The visitors then took the lead for the first time through Burns, but Harlequins always looked the more dangerous and two tries in the final minutes of the half epitomised their class.
Firstly, Hopper touched down after good work from Karl Dickson and Williams before Smith intercepted Martyn Thomas' pass to race away. Gloucester responded at the start of the second half with their fly-half's fifth penalty, but Shane Monahan was sin-binned soon after.
However, the hosts couldn't take advantage while the winger was off the field. Evans and Burns then traded penalties to take the score to 25-18, but the Kiwi took Quins 10 points clear after 72 minutes.
Ben Morgan was sin-binned as the home side searched for the crucial fourth try, but the Cherry and Whites made light work of being a man down as they went the length of the field to score. It was eventually finished off by Twelvetrees which secured a bonus point.
Tries: Brown, Hopper, Smith
Cons: Evans 2
Pens: Evans 3
Pens: Burns 6
Yellow card: Monahan, Morgan
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert.
Replacements:16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Seb Stegmann.
Gloucester: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Shane Monahan, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Matt Cox, 5 Will James, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso d'Apice, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Tim Molenaar, 23 Rob Cook.
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Referee: Wayne Barnes