Quins take Care of Gloucester
FRIDAY WRAP: Danny Care produced a man-of-the-match performance as Harlequins sent Gloucester crashing to a third consecutive league defeat with a 21-12 victory at the Stoop.
The veteran scrumhalf scored two of his side’s three tries to send the majority of a capacity crowd home happy as Gloucester followed up losses to Sale and Newcastle with another disappointing performance in an error-ridden game.
Harlequins’ win moves them up to third in the Premiership table and the four points gained could ultimately prove crucial in their quest for a play-off spot at the end of the season with Gloucester, one of their main rivals, losing ground by taking nothing from the match.
Dino Lamb was also on the try-scoring sheet for Harlequins with Tommy Allan converting all three.
Ben Morgan and Santiago Socino touched down for Gloucester with Santiago Carreras adding one conversion, as all the scoring took place in the first half.
Quins turned down chances to kick two early penalties in favour of attacking line-outs and were rewarded when Care forced his way over after eight minutes.
Gloucester struggled to get a foothold in the match, the concession of frequent penalties not helping their cause, and it came as no surprise when they fell further behind to a try from Lamb after his second-row partner Irne Herbst had created the opportunity with a quick off-load.
The visitors badly needed a response and they got one from their forte, a driving line-out which ended with Morgan crashing over.
The try was the catalyst for the Cherry and Whites pack to dominate the second quarter and they looked set for a second try when Jake Morris collected a superb cross-field kick from Louis Rees-Zammit but an excellent cover tackle from Quins full-back Nick David thwarted the Gloucester wing.
However, they were not denied for long as, moments later, Socino finished off another unstoppable line-out drive.
Back came Quins with a quick response. Captain Alex Dombrandt played a leading part in a flowing move which culminated with Care spotting a gap to dart over for his second score. Allan was again on target with the conversion to give his side a 21-12 interval lead.
Gloucester controlled the opening period of the second half but they lacked a cutting edge and were forced to introduce scrum-half Stephen Varney and centre Jack Reeves to try and improve their attacking potency.
A featureless third quarter finished scoreless as David brought off another excellent tackle by hauling down Morris, who had intercepted the ball inside his own 22 but lacked the speed to evade the cover defence.
Callum Murley threatened to get the scoreboard moving for the second half with a thrilling burst but Rees-Zammit showed his mettle to race back and save the day, before the Wales wing was forced to leave the field with an injury to complete a miserable night for Gloucester.
* All Friday’s scorers and scorers
Harlequins 21-12 Gloucester
Tries: Care 2, Lamb
Cons: Allan 3
Tries: Morgan, Socino
Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Cadan Murley, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (captain), 7 Will Evans, 6 Jack Kenningham, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 George Head, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 George Hammond, 20 Archie White, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Luke Northmore.
Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jake Morris, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Charlie Chapman, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Santiago Socino, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 George Barton, 23 Jack Reeves.
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys, James Clarke
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Newcastle Falcons 24-21 Exeter Chiefs
For Newcastle Falcons
Tries: McGuigan, Carreras, Pepper
Cons: Connon 3
For Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Van Heerden, Yeandle, Sio
Cons: Simmonds 3
Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Ben Stevenson, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Tom Penny, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain), 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Guy Pepper, 6 Callum Chick, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Richard Palframan, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Sean Robinson, 20 Freddie Lockwood, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Adam Radwan, 23 Matias Orlando
Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Dan John, 13 Sean O’Brien, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Christ Tshiunza, 6 Lewis Pearson, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Ruben Van Heerden, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (captain), 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Dan Frost, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Jack Dunne, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Will Becconsall, 23 Solomone Kata
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Neil Chivers, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Rowan Kitt