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Sunday, 10 March 2019

Gloucester defeat Harlequins with a bonus-point win in Twickenham



Today’s memorial game at The Twickenham Stoop for Seb Adeniran-Olule was set to be a fierce contest as 3rd met 4th in the Premiership table. Harlequins welcomed Gloucester Rugby.

Going into round 16, the Quartered Men had a run of five back-to-back wins in the Premiership.

In a blustery day, which caused damage to come areas of the Twickenham Stoop, Harlequins started the same way they ended last week’s game away at Bath – fast paced and with desire to cross the whitewash. Earle broke through the defence on the far wing before the ball was recycled back inside to the centres. An attempted interception from Gloucester gave Quins a kick to touch followed by a successful line-out.

Driving for the line, however, and the hosts knocked on. The Cherry and Whites, today wearing Grey and White, used the scrum to clear their lines, finding touch back in home territory.


Gloucester put on a run of accurate passing with Marshall feeding Woodward, then offloading to captain Heinz. The visitors were making strides after Quins failed to gather a high-ball and knocked-on.

With momentum, Gloucester raced along the near wing. Brown failed to complete a tackle on try-scorer Woodward. Despite the strong winds, and the need for a player to hold the ball in place, the conversion was added: Harlequins 0 – 7 Gloucester Rugby (9 minutes).

No sooner had play resumed than the visitors were once again on the attack. Thorley broke through the home defence and sent a long pass to Marshall who continued the run, Ackermann crossing the whitewash: Harlequins 0 – 14 Gloucester Rugby – the ball slowly but surely reaching and dropping between the posts for the conversion (13 minutes).

Harlequins, looking somewhat shell-shocked from this quick-fire start from the opposition, secured line-out ball and Dombrandt burst through the defensive line. The ball reached the arms of co-captain Robshaw before Gloucester’s Marshall was shown yellow for a deliberate knock-on.

Quins kicked for the corner, secured the set piece, and formed a maul before passing to the centre. Lang failed to catch a pass from Saili and knocked-on at a crucial time.

The hosts tried a different tactic and started kicking. With the wind behind them, however, the ball ran dead and the visitors were handed territory and a scrum. Once again, the Cherry and Whites broke through with pace and attacked the near wing. Only a knock-on prevented their forward momentum.

The Harlequins crowd were stunned into silence with questions being raised ‘is this the same team we saw beat Bath last week?’ – a question looming large in the minds of many supporters.

Quins overpowered the scrum and won a penalty but Lang failed to find touch with his kick. Gloucester simply ran the ball back. The hosts won turnover ball and placed a tidy kick along the far wing, which strolled into touch just outside the opposition 22.

In the first sign of inaccuracy in the visiting play, Gloucester sent the ball out on the full. They repeated the action a few phases later.

The failings of Gloucester went unpunished as Harlequins were full of errors today, not getting their basics right with Dombrandt knocking-on.

Then came a period of penalties given away by the hosts. These were basic errors, with Quins being penalised for failing to release a tackled player.

The visitors kicked for a line-out on the 22 but Quins stole possession – Lang, however, again failed to find touch. Gloucester did not make the same mistake, and forced Quins into a defensive line-out.

In panicked play, Quins retained possession but kicked the ball away, aiming for territory, but straight into the arms of Gloucester’s Morgan. A good follow-up chase from Quins forced Gloucester to knock-on under tackle.

‘Come on you Quins’ started to sound in the stadium – not in applause of the action seen but in an attempt to spur on their team. Again, basics let them down and a pass was thrown forward ending an attacking period of play for the hosts.

The rain came down and Gloucester accelerated, breaking through the home defensive line. They sent a grubber kick over the try-line for a chase, Earle touching down first for Harlequins.

When play resumed, Quins attempted a cross-field kick but it went out on the full. All ground gained was handed back to Gloucester. The weather switched from rain to hail and a penalty was awarded to the visitors in front of the posts: Harlequins 0 – 17 Gloucester Rugby (36 minutes).

Tempers started to fray and referee Wayne Barnes spoke to Horwill and Brown in an attempt to calm the situation.

Half-Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 0 – 17 Gloucester Rugby

The Twickenham Stoop faithful cheered out their team for the second half, hoping their voices would be the 16th man Harlequins so desperately needed.

Head of Rugby for Harlequins, Paul Gustard, made changes to the on-field team at the break with Marler and Smith replacing Boyce and Lang.

As Gloucester pushed for the try-line once again, the replacement fly-half Smith stole possession and broke away, making an instant impact on the game. Gloucester were pushed back into their own half and opted to box-kick. Chisholm gathered well under the challenging high ball for the hosts.

A suspected high-tackle caused the fans to yell in anger but play continued and Gloucester achieved turnover ball. Their possession was short-lived as they knocked-on at half-way.

The scrum was set and Dombrandt released the ball to Lewis, and onto Earle who made strides along the near wing. He was tackled into touch. The Twickenham Stoop were back to full vocal singing voice. Gloucester secured line-out ball and Quins were able to prevent the maul from gaining ground, forcing the Cherry and Reds to kick.

The clock stopped as Horwill was down requiring treatment. He was able to get back on his feet and a scrum was set; Gloucester with possession.

As Harlequins were able to gain dominance in the scrum, Gloucester released the ball with Twelvetrees making strides through the defence. Quins obtained turnover ball and Dombrandt ran through one tackle before another seemingly high tackle stopped him in his tracks. Dombrandt and Lewis were then replaced by James Chisholm and Saunders (49 minutes).

Gloucester secured line-out ball at half-way and Thorley ran along the wing; a high tackle saw Marchant sin-binned and a penalty awarded to the visitors (41 minutes).

More changes for the hosts as Saili was replaced by Alofa Alofa.

Gloucester kicked for the corner and an attacking line-out. They secured possession, formed a maul then Heinz released the ball. It sped quickly to the far wing with Marshall crossing the whitewash for the visitor’s third try. The wind prevented the conversion: Harlequins 0 – 22 Gloucester Rugby (53 minutes).

Within moments of the restart, Harlequins found themselves with a line-out in their own 22. The maul made strides along the far wing. The ball was then released but ended in touch.

Gloucester overthrew in their line-out in the home 22. They maintained possession but an act of obstruction handed Quins the penalty; they cleared their lines.

Quins secured line-out ball but lost the ball under tackle. Scrum to Gloucester just outside the host 22.

Gloucester again worked the far wing but an interception from the hosts prevented any further advantage. Once again, however, the basics failed and Quins lost the ball. Gloucester accelerated back but a penalty awarded to the hosts following an early engage in the scrum.

Elia Elia was replaced by Ward on 63 Minutes for Harlequins. Marchant also returned to the pitch after seeing out his yellow card.

Smith failed to find touch and Gloucester simply gathered the ball and came again. They earned a 5-metre scrum. Quick hands saw Heinz pass to Cipriani who crossed the whitewash for the try bonus-point.

Twelvetrees again lined up the posts and this time he was able to curve the ball between the posts (67 minutes).

Quins wasted no time in making strides back into opposition territory. Swainston replaced Collier for the hosts (68 minutes).

Gloucester stole possession and found touch, still inside their own half.

Penalty to Quins as Gloucester failed to roll away after tackling. Smith found touch with his kick and Quins secured line-out ball. They earned another penalty and went for the corner. They formed a maul before recycling the ball.

Another penalty awarded and Quins opted for the scrum. They released the ball but Gloucester won a penalty of their own. The visiotrs cleared their lines and secured line-out ball. They did knock-on just inside the halfway line as the remaining Quins fans tried to find the funny side to a poor performance ‘you’ve got them on the ropes’ came the calls.

Quins recycled the ball well with Earle making a break along the wing, kicking for a chase. He touched down over the try-line, Smith converted: Harlequins 7 – 29 Gloucester Rugby (76 minutes).

The hosts gathered the high-ball well and ran with ball in hand. Twelvetrees tackled high and was penalised. Smith found touch and Quins secured line-out ball but spilt under tackle. Gloucester ran up to the Quins try-line but failed to score.

Full-Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 7 -29 Gloucester Rugby

Attendance: 14, 440

Harlequins remain in third place but Gloucester Rugby have closed the gap to just 2 points.

Harlequins
15 Mike Brown, 14 Nathan Earle, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Francis Saili, 11 Ross Chisholm, 10 James Lang, 9 Dave Lewis

1 Lewis Boyce, 2 Elia Elia, 3 Will Collier, 4 Matt Symons, 5 James Horwill (cc), 6 Jack Clifford, 7 Chris Robshaw (cc), 8 Alex Dombrandt

Game Changers
16 Dave Ward, 17 Joe Marler, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 George Merrick, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Niall Saunders, 22 Marcus Smith, 23 Alofa Alofa

Gloucester Rugby
15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Billy Twelevetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz ©

1 Josh Hohneck, 2 James Hanson , 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Ed Slater, 5 Franco Mostert, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Jaco Kriel, 8 Ben Morgan

Replacements
16 Franco Marais, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Freddie Clarke, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Matt Banahan
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 8:55 pm  

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