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Gloucester show thrills boss Davies

Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies was delighted as his side climbed into ninth place in the Aviva Premiership after a 25-20 home win over Harlequins.

Tries from flankers Sione Kalamafoni and Matt Kvesic plus one from replacement prop Dan Murphy, with full-back Rob Cook adding 10 points with the boot, gave the home side their first league win since December.

Harlequins, whose points came via tries from full-back Ollie Lindsay-Hague and replacement hooker Dave Ward plus two penalties and two conversions from fly-half Ben Botica, now find themselves in a major fight with Leicester and Sale Sharks for the fourth play-off place .

Gloucester dominated territory and possession, while Harlequins were their own worst enemies as prop Mark Lambert and replacement Louis Grimoldby spent 10 minutes in the sin bin at crucial times.

Yet the Londoners refused to give up from being 25-13 down at one stage and, with Gloucester replacement Yann Thomas also going in the bin, gained their bonus point.

It was, though, Gloucester's day, as they said farewell to long-serving flanker Andy Hazell, forced to retire through injury. Hazell received Gloucester Council's highest honour at half-time.

It was also the occasion of the 200th club appearance for former England centre Mike Tindall.

Davies said: "A lot of what we are now is about character and the boys fought hard for a worthy cause today in Andy Hazell. We talked about this all week.

"We are now creating so many opportunities in games and there is a good momentum about us at the moment. Quins are a dangerous side and have been up at the top of the table for a while. They have good belief and structure so a victory against them is satisfying."

The win came after a good display in defeat against Leicester at Welford Road last week, and Davies added: "That performance last week was important. We lacked momentum at the start of the season but we have got our structures right now."

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea said he was proud of his players' performance in "adversity".

The Londoners had to play for 20 minutes with 14 men on the park after Lambert and Grimoldby were sin-binned.

According to O'Shea, the losing bonus point they picked up could prove crucial when the play-off places are decided.

He said: "I am very proud of our players. Given the adversity we were dealt for a multitude of reasons, I thought our reaction and pride they showed in fighting tooth and nail at a difficult place to come, was incredible.

"The fact that we finished fighting and looking for something from the game leaves me incredibly frustrated but proud of our players and that will be a valuable point come the end of the season.

"Well done to Gloucester but you cannot control some of those things that were happening out there."


From Belfast Telegraph