1. ITV Report

First Premiership win of 2014 for Gloucester

Sione Kalamafoni had an impressive game for Gloucester. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

AVIVA PREMIERSHIP

  • GLOUCESTER 25 - 20 HARLEQUINS

Gloucester gained their first Aviva Premiership victory since December as they inflicted a sixth league defeat of the season on fourth-placed Harlequins at Kingsholm.

A first-half try from flanker Sione Kalamafoni, converted by Rob Cook, against a try from full-back Ollie Lindsay-Hague plus two penalties and a conversion from fly-half Ben Botica saw Quins lead 13-7 at the break.

But Gloucester were on top from then on, with flanker Matt Kvesic and replacement prop Dan Murphy adding further home tries, while Cook kicked two penalties and a conversion. Quins' only second-half score was a converted try from replacement hooker Dave Ward.

The territory and possession statistics will make grim reading for Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea, as they failed to add a third Premiership win to triumphs over London Wasps and Newcastle in the previous weeks.

For all their early effort, Gloucester found themselves six points down after errors gave Botica two long-range penalty chances that he gratefully accepted.

It was made all the more frustrating for the Cherry and Whites as Quins rarely entered their half and had prop Mark Lambert sent to the sin-bin for persistent infringing between those two Botica scores.

Eventually, though, the excellent Tonga international Kalamafoni helped Gloucester into a one-point lead as more pressure on the Harlequins line lead to lock James Hudson passing inside to the big flanker for a 10-metre run to the posts that made Cook's conversion a formality.

Matt Kvesic scored Gloucester's second try. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Disjointed Harlequins needed a spark, and Botica's tactical kicking proved a factor with a couple of booming touchfinders putting the home side on the back foot.

And, as the match turned into a scrappy affair, Quins regained the iniative as the quick-thinking of scrum-half Karl Dickson saw him tap a penalty to himself, dart past the defence and set up Lindsay-Hague for a try under the posts which Botica comfortably converted.

There were a few things for the respective coaches to ponder in the changing rooms at half-time while, on the pitch, former Gloucester player Andy Hazell was given the city's highest honour by the local mayor on retiring from a 17-year career with the club.

The home side came out firing again as they piled on the pressure inside the Quins half, taking the lead when Mike Tindall altered the tactics and went for the points. Cook obliged with a 35-metre kick.

Shortly afterwards, an attacking line-out drove the Quins' eight back over their own line for Kvesic to touch down with ease.

Quins had few chances to add points to their total and, as the hour mark arrived, they found themselves further behind as Gloucester started to run them ragged.

Murphy charged his way over from three metres after being set up by scrum-half Dan Robson at an attacking maul, and, from another quick home attack across the backs, replacement Louis Grimoldby was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on.

Cook kicked the penalty after Grimoldby's indiscretion and it took all of Quins captain Nick Easter's experience to keep the Cherry and Whites away from the line for a bonus-point try.

Eventually, Quins got on the scoreboard again when Ward drove over from a maul, with Botica adding the conversion, but it was only a losing bonus point for the Londoners and a solid win for the home club.

We are now creating so many opportunities in games and there is a good momentum about us at the moment.

Quins are a dangerous side and have been up at the top of the table for a while. They have good belief and structure so a victory against them is satisfying.

– Nigel Davies, director of rugby, gloucester

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