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Gloucester Rugby 17 Harlequins 15 Gloucester Rugby 17 Harlequins 15

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Gloucester Rugby 17 Harlequins 15

Akapusi Qera proved Gloucester Rugby have the forward power to complement their electric backs after the flanker’s try secured a thrilling 17-15 Aviva Premiership victory over defending champions Harlequins.

Rob Buchanan powered over for his first Premiership try on five minutes and Sam Smith’s score extended the visitors’ lead to 12-3.

Yet Gloucester were always looking dangerous and after Jonny May finished off a wonderful backs move just after the break, Qera took advantage of Joe Gray’s yellow card to bundle over for the hosts on 69 minutes.

That condemned Harlequins to a third consecutive Aviva Premiership defeat for the first time under Conor O’Shea, denting their hopes of a home semi-final and boosting Gloucester’s own play-off ambitions.

After Gloucester were penalised at the scrum, Danny Care wasted no time in getting the game moving again and two phases later Buchanan was barrelling over for a try on his first Aviva Premiership start this season.

Mike Brown then halted the charging Billy Twelvetrees and Harlequins scrambled to prevent the bulldozing Sione Kalamafoni from levelling the scores.

With Gloucester continuing to press, Twelvetrees chipped the ball out of play with two Cherry and Whites waiting to pounce on right touchline but the deficit was reduced to two when Freddie Burns slotted a penalty on 21 minutes.

Yet Quins are not champions for nothing and the Londoners’ response was immediate. Evans showed Twelvetrees how it should be done with a fine chip through the middle and Smith was on hand to race over for the simplest of scores.

Evans converted but still it was Gloucester who continued to press with Rob Cook’s mazy run, following Henry Trinder’s outlandish pass, only ending when the full-back dropped the ball deep in Harlequins territory.

Gloucester picked up where they left off after the break and grabbed the try their efforts merited.

Charlie Sharples broke at lightning pace from inside their own half and after Twelvetrees kept the ball alive it eventually reached May on the left touchline who stepped inside Ross Chisholm and dived over.

Burns converted to make it 10-12 but Evans nudged the gap wider again with a penalty on 54 minutes.

After showing what their electric backs are capable of Gloucester then demonstrated their forward power, with Quins losing replacement hooker Gray to the sin-bin as they desperately attempted to hold out.

With 14 men Quins were unable to contain the Cherry and Whites with Kalamafoni punching a hole in the visiting defence allowing Qera to stretch over the whitewash.

Burns again added the extras and despite going straight on the attack Quins failed to find the points they needed, allowing Gloucester to draw level on points with fourth-placed Northampton.

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