(Photo credit - Martin Bennett)
Gloucester Rugby’s home run was ended by the reigning champions in a close encounter in front of a sell-out crowd at Kingsholm.
The first half was tense and incredibly engaging with Gloucester Rugby coming out firing with a hugely dominant scrum and of course, that maul. There were many passages of strong attacking play from Gloucester Rugby, but nothing quite working out. Harlequins were able to reduce the threat of the maul and there were some inaccuracies from the Cherry and Whites. However, Harlequins were leaking penalties which helped Adam Hastings break the deadlock with a penalty kick after 21 mins.
This started a strong period of attack from Gloucester Rugby, a sublime piece of team interplay saw the Cherry and Whites run the length of the pitch, starting with a break from Lloyd Evans before Louis Rees Zammit made good ground and offloaded to Chris Harris, unfortunately Val Rapava-Ruskin dropped the ball on the line, but the play resulted in a yellow card for Quins and we went back for a previous penalty.
A very intelligent move at the line out allowed Ruan Ackermann to score on his 100th match for Gloucester Rugby and Adam Hastings added the extras to make the score 10-0.
However, the reigning champions proved their credentials with a converted try from Luke Northmore and a penalty kick making the scores level, although Northmore was shown yellow for a deliberate knock on in the final minute of the half, giving Gloucester Rugby the advantage after the break.
Harlequins started very strongly in the second half, building pressure against the Cherry and Whites and had a try disallowed after a forward pass. Ill-discipline crept into the Gloucester Rugby game, overtaking the Harlequins penalty count.
The defence held strong against a series of Harlequins attacks, but ultimately couldn’t stop a Danny Care snipe on the try line. Marcus smith added the extras and also extended the lead minutes later after yet more Gloucester Rugby ill-discipline.
Gloucester Rugby closed the gap after replacement Santiago Socino scored of the back of the dominant driving maul and Lloyd Evans converted, but there was too much for the Cherry and Whites to do and Harlequins took the victory 17-20.
Key Moment – Ruan Ackermann
Ruan Ackermann played like a man possessed in his 100th appearance for the club, scoring a try in the first half, making the most metres and the most tackles out of anyone else in Cherry and White.
It’s a trip to Saracens next for Gloucester Rugby in the Gallagher Premiership on Saturday.