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Match Report: Gloucester Rugby 28 Harlequins 6

13 Feb 2016
Match Report: Gloucester Rugby 28 Harlequins 6

James Hook made sure there was no way back for Harlequins after the Wales international scored 18 points in the first half to hand Gloucester Rugby victory at Kingsholm.

The two sides could not be separated at Big Game 8 in December – in a thrilling 39-39 draw at Twickenham – but Hook’s third-minute try here set the tone for a fine afternoon for Gloucester.

England No.8 Ben Morgan also completed a fine move and, allied to Hook’s kicking, the Cherry and Whites entered the break 23-6 to the good.

Harlequins shored things up but with three minutes remaining Steve McColl rubbed salt in their wounds, as the visitors fell to their third Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat in a row.

Gloucester bolted out of the blocks as Charlie Sharples gathered the kick-off and hared downfield – only to be caught my his counterpart on the wing Marland Yarde.

The hosts didn’t let up from there and following Morgan’s quick tap penalty, they worked it out to the left before Hook used all of his muscle to touch down and then convert in the third minute.

Harlequins set about righting the ship and after a sustained spell of pressure, won a penalty at the breakdown for Nick Evans to knock over.

Hook had started the bit between his teeth however and judged the breeze brilliantly to splice the posts after James Horwill had taken out an airborne Sharples.

It got worse for Harlequins moments later – Billy Burns chipped over their line and Ross Chisholm was sent to the sin by Wayne Barnes for tackling the Gloucester full-back without the ball.

Hook made no mistake with the resulting penalty, to put the Cherry and Whites 13-3 up with 18 minutes played.

Evans almost immediately responded with his boot to cut the deficit down to seven, but Harlequins suffered another scary moment when Billy Meakes chased a kick upfield.

Tim Visser won the footrace but missed the ball, forcing Yarde to kick the ball out of the back, and Gloucester eventually profited.

Lovely play between Willi Heinz, Matt Kvesic and Sharples saw Morgan barrel over after the ball was moved out wide – and Hook added the extras.

And an inspired Hook had the last word of the half with a 37th-minute penalty to open up a 17-point lead for Gloucester, while his opposing No.10 Evans limped off with an injury.

It was more of the same early in the second half but they scored no points to show for it, as two wayward Hook penalties sandwiched a Burns effort that was chalked off for a forward pass in the build-up.

The two teams then cancelled each other out for a spell but in the 68th minute Visser was close to injecting life into Harlequins – and was stopped by Callum Braley’s superb one-on-one tackle.

Though the visitors remained on the attack, their last chance to salvage the game had seemingly slipped away.

Ultimately Gloucester added the gloss when the ball was turned over and McColl slid into the corner on the end of a searing Mark Atkinson break.

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