Harlequins seal top four finish after huge second half comeback against Gloucester

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Harlequins staged yet another of their spectacular comebacks, after being 17 points down at half time to beat Gloucester 28-24 and secure a top four finish.

Gloucester raced into a 24-7 lead at the break, before Quins came out with intent for the second half and proceeded to keep Gloucester pointless in the second half with a brace from Joe Marchant cementing their place in the top four in front of a crowd of over 47,000 at Twickenham.

Harlequins kicked off and immediately won a penalty. Marcus Smith elected to kick into corner. With the resulting driving maul, Quins were driven in to touch. Gloucester’s line out was seized upon by the hosts who pushed for the line only to stray offside.

A frantic fast paced opening saw the visitors open the scoring with their first foray into Quins 22. The cherry and whites won a line out with Ben Morgan powering over from the driving maul for his 22nd try of the season.

Four minutes later Harlequins were level when Danny Care intercepted a loose pass before offloading to Alex Dombrandt to go over.

The Cherry and Whites quickly responded shortly afterwards by retaking the lead when Santiago Carreras spotted a gap in the Quins defence to put Freddie Clark through to run in and score.

Harlequins were missing a fair amount of tackles as Gloucester started to get the upper hand. Joe Marler was introduced into the game in the 23rd minute in place of Simon Kerrod in the front row to try and get a foothold into the match.

The momentum was well with Gloucester as they increased their advantage when Lewis Ludlow sent a pass inside to Chris Harris to go over. Adam Hastings fancied his chances with a drop goal attempt that sailed over to give the Cherry and Whites  a useful 17 point lead heading into the break.

The game turned into a tale of two halves with Gloucester winning the first, and Quins showing their Premiership winners class by grabbing the second half.

Harlequins were on the front foot at the start of the second half but not for the first time in the game wasted a couple of good chances with a wayward pass from the final ball.

The visitors almost stretched their advantage even further when a brilliant run from Ollie Thornley was halted by Joe Marchant’s tackle.

Despite this, Quins managed to  get themselves back into the game in  the 50th minute following a scrum, Care chipped the ball behind Marchant to chase down and score.

Harlequins, who are renowned for second half comebacks, drew within three points when the ball was worked wide to an open space on the left hand side for Marchant to run in to score. Smith was successful with the boot to add the extras as Quins looked a much better outfit in the second half than the first fourty minutes.

Gloucester’s  second half problems intensified when Louis Rees-Zammit was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock on.

The visitors were to pay for the ten minutes in the sin bin of Zammit when the ball was passed out wide for winger Cadan Murley to slide over for the try bonus point. Smith kept up his one hundred per cent kicking record as the hosts took the lead for the first time in the game.

A lead which they never let slip with a final scrum won by Quins with Care seeing the ball into touch as Harlequins completed yet another big comeback victory and ensured a top four place in the Gallagher Premiership.

Harlequins 28   Gloucester Rugby  24

Gallagher Premiership   Saturday 21st May 2022

Peter Moore  at  Twickenham

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