Gloucester Rugby more than played their part in an entertaining Premiership Rugby Cup encounter at the Stoop on Saturday afternoon, and were still in the game at the death. But, trying bravely to snatch a dramatic win, a late Quins score sealed a 40-31 victory.
It was the second week in a row when the Cherry and Whites left themselves just too much to do in the second half. Next week’s analysis session will pinpoint the handling errors and moments of indiscipline which proved to be key, but the team’s desire to win kept them in the fight right up until the game’s very last moments.
It was an inauspicious start as a loose pass led to a second minute try from full-back Mike Brown, but the Cherry and Whites hit back as Matt Banahan’s powerful run led to Joe Simpson scoring his second try in Gloucester Rugby colours.
Martin Landejo darted over from close range to extend Quins’ lead, but a fine break from Jamal Ford-Robinson put Billy Twelvetrees over to narrow the gap. However, Lewis Ludlow was sinbinned shortly afterwards and two tries were scored in his absence.
Aaron Hinkley then touched down after Ludlow charged down a clearance kick, but Ben Tapuai immediately crossed for the hosts for a half-time score of 35-19.
The second-half was far more cohesive for the Cherry and Whites as they held onto possession much better and Tom Seabrook’s try got them back within striking range, and they were well and truly back in it when Matt Symons was sinbinned for sacking a maul and Gerbrandt Grobler went over.
Trailing just 35-31 with 20 minutes to play, there was real hope of a memorable comeback but, despite several visits to the Quins 22, the home team held firm and then clinched the game as another turnover saw Renaldo Bothma score with the game’s last play, 40-31 the final score.