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Gloucester boss Johan Ackermann says bonus point could be key to top-four hopes

The home side piled on the points late on.

Gloucester head coach Johan Ackermann believes the late bonus-point try that capped a 37-9 win over struggling Harlequins may prove crucial as the Premiership season approaches its climax.

The victory moved Gloucester up to sixth place, three points behind fourth-placed Newcastle with a home derby against Bath and a difficult trip to Saracens to come.

Despite being dominant, the home side made desperately hard work of quelling a spirited Quins side. With nine minutes remaining they only led 16-9 before three late converted tries more accurately reflected their superiority.

Callum Braley, Jake Polledri and Jason Woodward scored tries for Gloucester before the coach’s son Ruan Ackermann grabbed the last-minute fourth, with Billy Twelvetrees adding three penalties and four conversions to the points tally.

Johan Ackermann said: “It was a good ending to an arm-wrestle but they hung in there and showed a lot of fight.

“At times we were our own worst enemies as we made 18 errors and gave away 12 penalties.

“We needed to score another try in the second half to give us some breathing space but every forward who came on made a difference.

“Our decision-making in the back-line was much better but we lost a bit of patience at times.

“The competition is so tight and every point is vital so that closing try was massive especially as missed kicks in our last fixture against Newcastle cost us but hopefully this will soften the blow.

“We can’t get over-excited but we’ve still got two avenues alive to try and get European qualification.

“We’ve got Newcastle next week in the Challenge Cup and we know that enemy and know what they will bring as they keep the ball well, so we are not taking anything from granted.”

Quins could only reply with three penalties from Marcus Smith as they remained on their miserable run, which has seen them win only once in their last eight games.

That run has seen the resignation of their director of rugby, John Kingston, news that emerged this week after the embarrassing home defeat to bottom club London Irish. However, he remains in charge until the end of the season.

Kingston said: “We were stunned by the level of performance last week so I knew there would be a reaction today as the boys are proud of this club.

“It was on a knife-edge when it was only 16-9 but we made too many errors and they deserved to win.”

Quins’ miserable day was summed up when England international Jack Clifford was helped off early on.

He had only just returned from a five-month absence with a shoulder injury and Kingston reported the bad news.

Kingston said: “He’s torn his hamstring off the bone and is out for the season and will need an operation.”


From Belfast Telegraph