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Joe Gray says Harlequins will start afresh against Gloucester Rugby


The manner of last weekend’s defeat would have made any Harlequins fan wince – but hooker Joe Gray insists there is no point ruing over what could have been.

Ben Botica’s touch-finder did not go far enough and Ben Foden kept his cool to provide a classy – and dramatic – finish at the Stoop to snatch victory 27-23 in Northampton Saints’ favour.

Nevertheless, it is just one bump in the road in a promising season for Harlequins, who are currently fourth place in Aviva Premiership Rugby and stormed into the European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

They will, however, want to arrest their three-game losing streak sooner rather than later – starting at Gloucester Rugby – and Gray admits a training session with London Scottish earlier his week provided a healthy jolt to the system.

“We went through the Northampton game on Monday and we shouldn’t have put Ben in a position to have to do that (kick for touch),” he said.

“There was a bit of ill discipline on our part. But he wouldn’t have done that one out of a 1,000 times, all you can do is put your arm around him and accept it happened.

“We had a bit of a longer session with London Scottish, the forwards had a full scrummaging and line-out workout which was quite hard graft.

"We obviously didn’t usual research on them so we were reacting and thinking on our feet. Meanwhile the backs were just playing football or something and taking it easy!

“We then had a 15 v 15, not full contact but playing as you see it, and it was a very good blowout and great preparation for the weekend.”

Gray has seen his playing time cut this year after watching Rob Buchanan seize his chance – though the 27-year-old has been restored to the starting XV this weekend.

But competition has never thrown Gray off his game according to the man himself.

“It’s one of those things where there’s a lot of competition, Rob has made the most of his chance after I broke my hand earlier this season and he was excellent against Saracens,” he added. “Dave (Ward) is also a great player and can play in the back-row which can give us opportunities.

“It can be a little frustrating but it’s great competition, week in and week out, and it’s something I’ve been used to throughout my career. I’ve had it since I first got here and at Northampton I was always working hard to push Dylan Hartley.”

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