Director of rugby David Humphrey struggled to explain how his Gloucester Rugby side surrendered a 12-point lead in the final ten minutes to give Harlequins a 30-27 victory.
Gloucester had been 27-15 up midway through the second half after tries from Charlie Sharples and David Halaifonua but James and Ross Chisholm brought Quins level.
Academy fly-half James Lang missed a conversion to put Harlequins ahead but there was still time for a penalty for the youngster to slot over for the win.
And Humphreys admitted the result seriously dents his side’s top six ambitions which would see them qualify for the European Rugby Champions Cup.
“It’s impossible to sum up the last 10 minutes of chaos, madness – we just weren’t good enough,” he said.
“Of course we can find some things we did well but we threw away another game and there have been a number of them across the course of the season that we should have been comfortable in.
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) March 4, 2017
“It’s a sense of frustration, anger and disappointment after those last six or seven minutes of madness.
“We led by two scores and had to get the basics right but our defence and set-piece went to pieces after we had controlled the second half.
“European qualification is still mathematically possible but we had to get four or five points today and we didn’t so it’s a massive blow for the squad.”
Sharples had given Gloucester an early lead but tries from Tim Visser, back from Scotland duty, and Charlie Mulchrone put Harlequins ahead and they led 15-10 at half-time.
And Gloucester led 27-15 when Richard Hibbard was shown a yellow card and Harlequins capitalised with both Chisholm’s crossing before Lang’s thrilling late penalty.
Great win for the boys today at Kingsholm. On the ropes at one point but dug in and came back late for a memorable win! #COYQ
— Tim Visser (@timbovisser) March 4, 2017
And Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston felt his team were worth their five-point victory which moves them within two points of sixth-place Northampton Saints.
“At the end of the first half we led 15-10, but we were much the better side and should have been further in front. They then had a good period but we came back strongly and deserved to win,” he said.
“We knew we had to control the environment as the influence of the crowd is very important here. I thought we managed to do so, for which the leaders in our team must take great credit.
— Matthew Shields (@Shieldsy91) March 4, 2017
“We’ve taken 10 points from this group of four games and that’s better than our normal tally during the international period.
“We’ve kept our European Cup hopes alive as finishing sixth or maybe seventh will be enough to secure us a spot for next season.”
Tries: Sharples 2, D Halaifonua
Cons: Burns 3
Pens: Burns 2
Tries: Visser, Mulchrone, J Chisholm, R Chisholm
Cons: Swiel, Lang
Pens: Swiel, Lang
Referee: Greg Garner