Quinton Davids made his Kingsholm debut on Monday night
GLOUCESTER got back to winning ways in the Guinness A League on Monday night with a five-try victory over leaders Harlequins.
In a contest that was always competitive and not as free-flowing as previous matches at Kingsholm this season, a crowd touching 3,000 saw Gloucester scrap their way to a 35-24 victory.
But Harlequins were never anything other than competitive and with flanker Luke Sherriff and number eight Tony Diprose at the head of a powerful forward effort, Gloucester needed all the experience of Mark Cornwell, Quinton Davids, Nick Wood and Luke Narraway to contain them.
Harlequins opened with a second minute penalty from Adrian Jarvis but Gloucester responded when hooker Rob Elloway intercepted a pass 30 metres out and ran home clinically to score.
Brad Davies kicked the conversion and a penalty soon after to stretch the lead to 13-3 but Quins rallied and centre Mike Brown bundled himself through an alarming gap in Gloucester's midfield to score to the left of the posts after 13 minutes.
However, Gloucester struck back with their second try when Narraway charged down Luther Marais's kick from full-back, controlled the ball and scored.
The topsy-turvy nature of the game continued when Harlequins used the experience of Diprose at the tail of a line-out and lock Kevin Burke charged through on his pass to score and cut the gap to 18-17.
But Gloucester were to score again before the break when Davids tapped a line-out down to Simon Amor, Davies fed Marcel Garvey coming in off his wing into centre field. When possession came back, Davies kicked in behind the Quins defence and Olly Morgan, making his first appearance of the season following a thigh injury, steamed through to score.
The home side then took themselves 13-points clear when Amor and Anthony Allen combined to send James Bailey wriggling to the line after 51 minutes.
However, the home side could not shake Quins off and they reduced the gap to six points when winger Charlie Amesbury slid home to score following patient build up play after 66 minutes.
There was the very real danger that Quins could snatch a victory at this stage but Gloucester sealed the win when Elloway turned over possession and the excellent Will Matthews shifted a lovely pass under pressure on the short side to Marcel Garvey, who blitzed home to score.
GLOUCESTER: Olly Morgan; Marcel Garvey, Anthony Allen (Will Merrivale 66), Reuban Aiano, James Bailey; Brad Davies, Simon Amor; Nick Wood (Terry Sigley 60), Rob Elloway, Jack Forster (Nick Wood 70), Mark Cornwell (capt), Quinton Davids (Dan Tuohy 58), Will Matthews, James Merriman, Luke Narraway.
Scorers: Tries: Morgan, Garvey, Bailey, Elloway, Narrway. Cons: Davies (2/5), Pens: Davies (2/2).
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
Gloucester centre Billy Twelvetrees praised his side's character after their comeback win against Bristol on Saturday. The Cherry and Whites overcame a 6-0 half time deficit to eventually win the game 26-18 and secure a bonus point victory.
Looking to try a new sport? Look no further than Walking Rugby as thanks to Gloucester Rugby you can come along and try out the fast-growing sport at taster sessions across the county, starting this Wednesday.
Gloucester return to European Rugby Challenge Cup action on Thursday evening with the visit of Stade Rochelais to Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm). Early Bird ticket prices are available until 6:30pm on matchday.