|Cherry and Whites' extra efforts not enough|
| Harlequins 20 Gloucester 16
The Stoop. Saturday 14 January 2012
IF, the little word with such a big meaning.
If only Gloucester had played with the same spirit and purpose at Worcester last week but that is history now.
If only that wretched shaped ball had bounced more kindly for Charlie Sharples, Quins' Mike Brown would have been denied the late try that secured the win for the home side.
Life is full of ifs and buts and this game was another collection of messy mistakes, poor quality but high on incident and competitive rugby.
Gloucester's scrum was again up against another larger heavy-weight front row this week and were made to struggle at times. Nick Wood ended up in the sin-bin and must have had a week he would not care to remember. The sad fact is that the regular front-row members, Wood, Lawson, Dawidiuk and Harden are good enough but the replacements Chistolini and Murphy, clearly are not. It is a big ask to expect the regulars to front - up, week in, week out.
Strokosch and Qera worked hard. Tindall and Simpson-Daniel were the pick of the backs, E.F.S almost anonymous, whist Freddie Burns played well but unfortunately had a couple of costly misses with kicks at goal.
If only we had played like that at Sale, Newcastle and Worcester, Heineken Cup rugby for next season would be assured.
If you looked up inconsistent in a dictionary it would probably be spelt - Gloucester!
Pricey's Points -
“Always the bridesmaid , never the bride” could become Gloucester’s soubriquet as they were, once again, the supporting act at The Stoop. Such is Gloucester’s season that a narrow defeat earns the accolades of the supporters and the coaching team. That it was an improvement on last week’s dismal performance at Worcester somehow gives comfort. There are some, including me, who regard it as sentimental tosh, however. Gloucester certainly didn’t get thrashed like they have been in recent visits to West London but in all honesty they never really looked like they would emerge winners in a fast, frenetic and error-strewn game against a team who are struggling to regain their early season form.
The positives from the game outweighed the negatives but whereas the line-out was sound, the scrummage was under intense pressure and as a result failed to provide Gloucester with a safe haven on their own ball. The backs stuttered and spluttered although along the way they scored a good try from Sinbad. Freddie Burns had a “curate’s egg” of a performance but in the good parts of that egg never managed to fire the rest of the threequarter line into action. Tindall tried hard but EFS was anonymous and thus Sinbad and Sharples did not see much ball.
Gloucester remain very much work in progress as they try to put a run of games together but like Petrocelli’s house there are always a number of bricks missing. The opportunity of catching the bride’s bouquet, though, is not that satisfying any more.
Charlie Sharples, Mike Tindall, Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, James Simpson-Daniel;
Freddie Burns, Rory Lawson;
Nick Wood, Scott Lawson, Dario Chistolini;
Jim Hamilton, Alex Brown;
Alasdair Strokosch, Akapusi Qera, Luke Narraway (capt)
Darren Dawidiuk, Dan Murphy, Rupert Harden, Will James, Matt Cox,
Dave Lewis, Ryan Mills, Henry Trinder
Pens: Burns (3)
Referee - P.Gauzere. France
Attendance - 12,772