Gloucester revived their Guinness Premiership season with a thumping victory over Harlequins at Kingsholm.
British and Irish Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan has been helping Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath at training this week and some of his magic rubbed off on the Cherry and Whites as they went over for six tries, with former England wing James Simpson-Daniel getting a hat-trick.
The sides have produced excellent matches in the previous two meetings this season and, at the break, their third encounter was a decent affair as well. However, this was far more one-sided than past encounters and by the break the writing was already on the wall for the Londoners as Gloucester led 18-6.
Welsh fly-half Nicky Robinson booted two penalties against two from Quins’ Nick Evans, but the difference was two well-worked tries. The home side had the edge in the set-pieces as well, with the Quins scrum struggling on the tight-head where James Johnston found Nick Wood a difficult opponent.
The opening touchdown came from one of those powerplays as the hosts won a scrum just inside the Quins half for Robinson to feed captain Gareth Delve bursting forward on his shoulder and through a gap in the Londoners’ midfield. Centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu took it on before former England wing Lesley Vainikolo drove home from 15 metres.
Vainikolo was involved in the other try after Robinson chipped into the corner, Quins wing David Strettle and Vainikolo fought for possession before it fell to centre Tim Molenaar to grab the ball and dive over.
Quins tried hard but the home side were a different team from the one which struggled in the months before Christmas. Free-flowing passing and running, with far less aimless kicking than has been the curse of the Guinness Premiership this season, made it a good spectacle but Quins knew it was virtually over on the hour.
By then, Simpson-Daniel had finished off a well-executed team try which saw the home side stretch Quins out wide. And, when number eight Delve charged down an attempted clearance by Strettle 30 metres out from the Quins line, the ball found its way to replacement wing Tom Voyce to sprint over and secure the bonus point.
Simpson-Daniel then got two more tries in the last three minutes as Quins had given up the ghost and looked towards the changing rooms and then the coach home.