Premiership: Gloucester upset in-form Harlequins with emphatic 29-7 win

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Tom Marshall scored one of Gloucester’s four tries in a dominant display at The Stoop
Gallagher Premiership
Harlequins (0) 7
Try: Earle Con: Smith
Gloucester (17) 29
Tries: Woodward, Ackermann, Marshall, Cipriani Cons: Twelvetrees 3 Pen: Twelvetrees

Gloucester brought Harlequins’ five-match Premiership winning run to an emphatic end in a dominant display.

A bonus-point victory moved the Cherry and Whites to within two points of third-placed Quins and strengthened their own play-off hopes.

Jason Woodward and Ruan Ackermann went over early in the first half before Tom Marshall and Danny Cipriani added two more tries in the second half.

Nathan Earle scored a late consolation try for Harlequins.

It was a first away win of 2019 for Gloucester, who bounced back from defeat on the road at neighbours Bristol in their previous game, while Harlequins suffered a first home reverse since early October.

Gloucester got off to a flying start and scored twice in the first 12 minutes.

Full-back Woodward out-stripped the Quins defence down the right and then back-row Ackermann went over when space opened up wide on the left from Cipriani’s long pass.

Winger Marshall made amends after his first-half yellow card for a deliberate knock-on with Gloucester’s third try early in the second half.

Cipirani then made sure of the four-try bonus point as captain Willi Heinz set him up from a neat move off the base of an attacking scrum.

Earle’s ninth Premiership try of the season ensured Quins got on the scoreboard, but a disappointing afternoon for the hosts also saw Joe Marchant sin-binned for a high tackle on Ollie Thorley.

Gloucester now have a seven-point cushion to fifth-placed Sale with six games to play in the regular season.

Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard told BBC Radio London:

“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 head coach Johan Ackermann:

“We wanted to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Bristol as there we actually played well, but they scored three very good tries from our defensive errors.

“Today was one of our better efforts of the season as in very difficult conditions, we made nearly all the right decisions.

“We needed to be on our game as they had won five on the bounce and in Mike Brown and Marcus Smith they have X-factor players.

“The league is so competitive so we must stay focused on ourselves. The sides below us are only one win away and there is a lot of rugby still to be played.”

Harlequins: Brown; Earle, Marchant, Saili, Chisholm; Lang, Lewis; Boyce, Elia, Collier, Symons, Horwill (co-capt), Clifford, Robshaw (co-capt), Dombrandt

Replacements: Ward, Marler, Swainston, Merrick, Chisholm, Saunders, Smith, Alofa.

Sin-Bin: Marchant (50 mins).

Gloucester: Woodward; Marshall, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Thorley; Cipriani, Heinz (capt); Hohneck, Hanson, Balmain, Slater, Mostert, Ackermann, Kriel, Morgan

Replacements: Marais, Traynor, Denman, Clarke, Ludlow, Braley, Williams, Banahan.

Sin-bin: Marshall (14 mins).

Referee: Wayne Barnes.

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