Saturday, 13th February 2016 @ 15:00
With the opportunity to break a three match losing streak and go third Harlequins were convincingly outplayed as they lost 28-6 away to Gloucester Rugby.
Overpowered and outmuscled in the first half, Gloucester cruised to a 23-6 half time lead thanks to tries to James Hook and Ben Morgan.
Harlequins showed spirit and intent in the second spell but time and time again mistakes and penalties would stop the Londoners from gaining any sort of momentum.
A late try to Steve McColl sniffing out any hope of a losing bonus point as Quins fell 28-6 for their fourth consecutive loss across all competitions.
Earlier in the day Harlequins arrived at Kingsholm Stadium knowing a win (or even a bonus point) would send them to third on the Aviva Premiership table after Leicester Tigers loss way to Newcastle Falcons the night before.
Gloucester and the 12,800 in attendance, had other ideas though as James Hook went over in the third minute - before the visitors even managed to touch the ball.
The lead was almost doubled minutes later as Bill Meakes intercepted Matt Hopper’s pass but the centre couldn’t quite hold onto the ball with no one between him and the try line.
Hook and Nick Evans would exchange penalties before a late tackle by Ross Chisholm would see him shown a yellow card and put Gloucester 13-3 up following the penalty.
Evans would close the gap by three before the home side would go close again in the 25th minute, as they looked to exploit their man overlap on the left wing before being bundled into touch.
Chisholm would retake the field but Ben Morgan would soon go over as the Cherry and Whites had all the ball and all the territory.
A second conversion and a third penalty to Hook saw them go into the break with a well earned 23-6 as they outplayed their opposition in almost every facet of the game.
Second half come backs have been a trend for Harlequins this season but they came out as flat in the second spell as they were in the first. Time and time again errors costing them as they could not get out of their own half.
As the penalty count kept racking up in Gloucester’s favour only the wayward boot of James Hook kept Harlequins in the game as he missed numerous attempts on goal.
In the 50th minute Conor O’Shea cleared his bench with five more replacements joining Ben Botica who had come on for an injured Evans at the break.
In the final quarter the passes finally began to stick and there was a spark from the visitors. Marland Yarde and Ben Botica both making multiple breaks to put their side in the right positions on the field.
When they finally got into Gloucester territory they camped their for 15 minutes, desperate for a a losing bonus point that would see them go third on the table. Resolute defence by Gloucester though would keep them out as turnovers and penalties saw the home side continuously manage to clear their lines.
A 75th minute counter attack try by Steve McColl the solitary score of the second spell as Quins slumped to their fourth defeat in a row. The 28-6 score line perhaps even flattering the visitors.
While Harlequins will stay in the top four for another week, back to back fixtures against Leicester Tigers and Wasps will see them desperate to re-find their form as their great start to the season seems a lifetime ago.
Harlequins return to The Stoop to face Leciester this Friday night.