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Match Reaction: Harlequins 7-29 Gloucester Rugby

Match Reaction: Harlequins 7-29 Gloucester Rugby

Gloucester Rugby emerged victorious from their Gallagher Premiership Rugby top four battle against Harlequins as they secured a vital bonus-point triumph at The Stoop.

The Cherry and Whites moved to within two points of third-placed Quins, who had been on a run of five consecutive wins in the league before the comprehensive 29-7 defeat.

Jason Woodward and Ruan Ackermann went over early in the first half to give the visitors the lead, with Billy Twelvetrees adding two conversions and a penalty.

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Further scores from Tom Marshall and Danny Cipriani made the result safe and sealed the bonus point for Gloucester, who also opened up a seven-point advantage over Sale in fifth.

Nathan Earle grabbed a late consolation for the hosts, but it was not enough to prevent Paul Gustard’s side from slipping to a first home defeat since early October.

MAN OF THE MATCH

There were several contenders from the Cherry and Whites, but scrum-half Willi Heinz was the star of the show as he kept the visitors’ attack ticking over throughout.

Heinz provided quick ball all afternoon and played a key role in the bonus-point try, taking the ball down the blindside from a five-metre scrum and releasing Danny Cipriani for the score.

TRY OF THE MATCH

Gloucester’s second try was a perfect example of why they are so dangerous on the counter-attack as they cut through the Harlequins’ defensive line at speed.

A superb break from Ollie Thorley provided the platform as he got the visitors up to the Quins’ 22, before Cipriani found Ruan Ackermann with a long pass to dot down.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

The pressure was on Gloucester in the early stages as Harlequins enjoyed a spell of possession, but the visitors held strong and hit back to open the scoring through Jason Woodward.

Woodward fended off the challenge from opposite number Mike Brown before crossing the line and from there on out, only one side ever looked like winning the clash.

WHAT THEY SAID

Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard said: “We just simply weren’t good enough. We were out-worked, out-muscled and out-thought.

“Their half-backs were more clinical, more accurate and they managed to control territory. Their accuracy with ball-in-hand meant possession fell their way as well.

“It put us under a little bit of pressure and when you’re under pressure, you make poor decisions.”

Gloucester Rugby scrum-half Willi Heinz said: “It was important we got a reaction after last week but we reviewed the game against Bristol and there were so many opportunities we let slip.

“We knew that our plan works and it was just about having a little bit more composure when we did create those opportunities to finish them off.

“It comes down to the platform we’re getting up front and I though our forwards really dominated. They were physical at the breakdown which is what we wanted.

“That gave us a good platform to work off and when you have someone as word class as Danny Cipriani you get the ball in his hands as much as possible.”

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