Gloucester Rugby were beaten 15-28 at home by Harlequins on Monday night as they gifted the visitors practically all their points and failed to take their own chances.
Harlequins crossed the line three times from Cherry and White errors with Cadan Murphy, Stephan Lewies and Scott Steele touching down while Marcus Smith won the battle of the maverick fly-halves with 13 points from the tee and an assured performance.
Gloucester crossed the line twice through Jake Polledri and debutant Matias Alemanno put left plenty more out there on the field.
The defeat leaves Gloucester in eighth place, needing one point from their final two games to ensure a place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.
Gloucester Rugby writer John Evely takes a closer look at the individual performances at Kingsholm, which had 1,000 noisy fans for the first time since rugby resumed after lockdown.
15. Louis Rees-Zammit – 5
The full back had a tough day, struggling under the highball and his passing let him down under pressure as well. A stunning race back to bring down Joe Marchant when he looked to be in redeemed him partly. The teenager still has plenty of areas to work on.
14. Ollie Thorley – 5
The winger could barely catch a cold on Monday night despite the conditions being absolutely perfect. He dropped a pass for what looked like a certain try in the first half with Gloucester building sustained pressure. Poor passes to him stunted the winger’s opportunities.
13. Chris Harris – 6
The centre never stopped offering himself as an option and continued to make yards in attack without ever really breaking the line.
12. Mark Atkinson – 6
The inside centre was a willing worker as he made 18 hard yards from seven carries, beating a pair of defenders. Used as a diversion runner on several occasions.
11. Jonny May – 6
The winger looks to have added some physicality to his game in addition to raw pace and bust through a couple of attempted tackles as he made a breaks through the centre from a nice inside pass from Danny Cipriani early on. Again poor passing limited his chances to shine.
10. Danny Cipriani – 4
The fly-half threw a terrible forward pass with Jonny May alone in plenty of space close to the line. The winger ran it in but the score was quickly scrubbed off. There were some classy passes in attack but an ambitious long looping one was picked off by Joe Marchant which led to the score for Scott Steele and it was the fly-half’s attempted low stabbed kick through which resulted in Cadan Murley scoring early on. Three significant errors, a 21 point swing. That was the game.
9. Stephen Varney – 5
The scrum half had a pass intercepted by lock Stephan Lewies who ran it back from 50m out. Joe Simpson’s introduction improved things for Gloucester at nine with Danny Care’s experience telling early on.
1. Val Rapava-Ruskin – 6
Solid in the scrum and busy in the loose making 18m from six carries, always in heavy traffic.
2. Franco Marais – 6
The hooker battled valiantly all night, making a team high 14 tackles and performing well at the line out as Gloucester completed 22 of 23 successfully having repeatedly kicked to the corners. That is a lot of lineouts.
3. Jack Stanley – 6
The scrum was solid for both sides with neither really suffering from the referee’s whistle. He helped provide a stable platform to unleash Polledri off the back of the scrum.
4. Ed Slater – 6
The second row had a typically strong game but Gloucester failed to get over the line from repeated line out drives and in the final moments of the game he had the ball dislodged in the act of scoring.
5. Matt Garvey – 7
The lock has been quite the signing and as well as being a right nuisance at every ruck you could see his leadership qualities, as the former club captain of Bath, shining through as he could be heard trying to raise the intensity of the forwards.
6. Jack Clement – 6
The flanker did very little wrong on a largely anonymous night when he got stuck into the unseen dirty work all good blindsides make their bread and butter.
7. Lewis Ludlow – 6
A solid performance if not eye catching. Gloucester’s inability to secure ball at the rucks legally in the first half allowed Marcus Smith to race the visitors out to an early lead.
8. Jake Polledri – 9
The number eight was an almost unstoppable force on the night. The initial stats only give him 42 metres gained but I would be shocked not to see them increase. As well as scoring a try he beat 10 defenders, threw five successful offloads and made two clean breaks. Sensational.
16. Henry Walker – 5, 17. Corne Fourie – 5, 18. Fraser Balmain – 5, 19. Matias Alemanno – 8, 20. Jordy Reid – 7, 21. Joe Simpson – 7, 22. Lloyd Evans – 5 23. Billy Twelvetrees – 6