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Gloucester turn on the style to beat Harlequins as new era approaches

Published 13/02/2016

Conor O'Shea accepted Harlequins were thoroughly outplayed
Conor O'Shea accepted Harlequins were thoroughly outplayed

Gloucester will announce a new owner on Monday to take over from the era of the Walkinshaw family.

And that new owner must have been as delighted with the team as director of rugby David Humphreys was after a comprehensive 28-6 victory over Harlequins.

Gloucester produced a performance that even had opposite number Conor O'Shea praising the Cherry and Whites.

Welsh fly-half James Hook scored 18 points via a first-half try, three penalties and two conversions, while discarded England number eight Ben Morgan got the second touchdown and wing Steve McColl went over for a third two minutes from time.

Quins fly-half Nick Evans kicked two first-half penalties, but O'Shea summed up how dominant Gloucester were by saying: "I think the scoreline flattered us."

It was a completely different affair to the scoring feast at Twickenham on December 27 when the sides drew 39-39.

All around, from attack to defence, Gloucester dominated, with former England wing Charlie Sharples almost scoring a try inside 18 seconds of kick-off, only to be denied by last-gasp cover from Marland Yarde.

Humphreys said: "It was a fantastic performance. I thought we were comprehensive winners.

"The risk of coming into this week's game, on the back of the emotion of the Bath win last week, was how we would respond to a different week.

"Charlie Sharples set the tone right from the first kick-off with that lift and the energy we brought to the first half was superb. The result was, though, built on our defence."

That ability to stop attacks has been inspired by defence coach Johnny Bell.

Humphreys said: "We have talked over the last few weeks (about) how we have been getting better and better in defence as we start to understand the systems that Johnny Bell has brought in.

"Last week, we were very good but particularly this week, we were able to negate the threats that Quins had right across the pitch and that laid the foundations for victory."

The belief is that, when the new Gloucester owner is announced, Humphreys will have new cash to spend on his squad, among other things.

But the director of rugby has not planned for that yet.

He said: "This year, the club have been awaiting the outcome of the sale and, once that is done (announced), it will be a chance to sit down with the new owner and see what the plans for the future are.

"But we are in a good place and we are very excited about not just what the next few months but the next few years hold."

O'Shea admitted Quins were outgunned. He said: "Gloucester were better in every facet of the game on the day. We were thoroughly beaten. I was delighted to see the fight in the team, that they did not just fold.

"They played a much better way in the second half than they did in the first half but, at that stage, the game was done.

"We have to dust ourselves down and say we will never play like we did in the first half again, but credit to David and the Gloucester team, they were fantastic. But you look at yourselves and we are just thoroughly hacked off by the way we played."

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