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).
Speaking after the 37-8 European Rugby Challenge Cup win over Benetton Treviso, James Hook admitted that the Italian side made things tough for Gloucester at times but that the Cherry and Whites are happy to take the bonus point win and turn their focus to Northampton next week.
Speaking to GRTV after the game, Backs Coach Tim Taylor was happy with the squad as they cruised to victory over Treviso. The result wasn't in doubt, but the Cherry and Whites laboured to secure a crucial try bonus point.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester Rugby centre Matt Scott is excited to take the field again as the Cherry and Whites look to build on the win in Bayonne when Treviso come to Kingsholm this Saturday.
Defence Coach Jonny Bell admitted this week that the European Rugby Challenge Cup victory in Bayonne was a welcome one, stressed that Benetton Treviso will pose a tough test on Saturday at Kingsholm but that Gloucester are determined to deliver in front of their own fans.
Motu Matu'u is looking to make up for lost time this week as the Cherry and Whites head to Basque Country to take on Bayonne in the European Rugby Challenge Cup opener. The Samoan hooker made his first appearance in the jersey last weekend, and is hoping to contribute to the team this weekend.
Gloucester's attentions turn to Europe this weekend as they travel to Bayonne for their opening fixture of this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup. Forwards Coach Trevor Woodman told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will be aiming to top their pool as they've done for the past two seasons, but is well aware of how tough it is to win in France.
Although understandably disappointed at seeing victory slip away at the last minute, Ben Morgan said after the game at Exeter that there were plenty of positives that Gloucester could take from the game.
The Gloucester Rugby Half Term Rugby Camps got off to a great start on Monday morning, with over 60 young rugby players braving the chilly weather to experience a great day of skills, learning and fun thanks to the Gloucester Rugby Community Department.
A number of Gloucester Rugby's promising young players are currently playing their competitive rugby on loan at other clubs, and six of them featured in Saturday's game between London Welsh and Rotherham Titans.
Gloucester made it two wins from two outings in this season's European Rugby Challenge Cup as they outplayed Benetton Treviso at Kingsholm to win by 37 points to 8, the bonus point try coming with the final play of the game.