Premiership: Gloucester 15-28 Harlequins – Quins guarantee top-eight finish

Premiership: Gloucester 15-28 Harlequins - Quins guarantee top-eight finish

Cadan Murley crossed for Harlequins' first try at Gloucester
Cadan Murley scored the first of Harlequins’ tries in their victory at Kingsholm
Gloucester (3) 15
Tries: Polledri, Alemanno Con: Cipriani Pen: Cipriani
Harlequins (21) 28
Tries: Murley, Lewies, Steele Cons: Smith 2 Pens: Smith 3

Harlequins beat a lacklustre Gloucester to book a top eight Premiership finish and a European Champions Cup spot.

A 1,000-strong crowd at Kingsholm were unable to lift the Cherry and Whites as they failed to take several chances.

Cadan Murley and captain Stephan Lewies crossed for first-half tries as Quins built a 21-3 lead before the break.

Gloucester did reply through Jake Polledri but a Scott Steele try on the counter proved decisive despite Matias Alemanno adding a second for the hosts.

The second crowd pilot match in England following Quins’ game against Bath at the Twickenham Stoop earlier this month provided a chance for a select group of Gloucester fans to return to Kingsholm.

But despite a familiar roar from the stands to greet the teams before kick-off, the hosts made an ill-disciplined and sluggish start.

Gloucester fans inside Kingsholm watching their match against Harlequins
A 1,000-strong crowd were allowed into Kingsholm in the second Premiership match to act as a pilot event

Marcus Smith kicked three penalties in the opening 10 minutes before Murley outstripped Gloucester scrum-half Stephen Varney for Quins’ first try.

Ollie Thorley dropped the ball when set clear by Louis Rees-Zammit in reply and then Danny Cipriani threw a forward pass to Jonny May when the England winger would have had a simple walk-in score.

It got worse for Gloucester when Varney had a pass intercepted on halfway by Lewies, who stretched his legs to win the foot race for the line.

The hosts did up the tempo at the restart when Italy back row Polledri fended off opposite number Alex Dombrandt to score but Harlequins were able to punish them again when they failed to be clinical in their 22.

Joe Marchant intercepted a Cirpriani pass on the hour and despite being hauled down five metres out by Rees-Zammit, he had the awareness to pop the ball up for Steele’s support run and a finish under the posts.

Argentina lock Alemanno went over on his Gloucester debut to reduce the deficit but Ed Slater then had a try disallowed as Steele managed to dislodge the ball from his hands inches before the line.

Quins are sixth, four points clear of Northampton, while Gloucester will need two more points from their last two games to guarantee eighth place.

Gloucester: Rees-Zammit; Thorley, Harris, Atkinson, May; Cipriani, Varney; Rapava-Ruskin, Marais, Stanley, Slater, Garvey, Clement, Ludlow (capt), Polledri.

Replacements: Walker, Fourie, Balmain, Alemanno, Reid, Simpson, Evans, Twelvetrees.

Harlequins: Brown; Murley, Marchant, Northmore, Morris; Smith, Care; Garcia Botta, Gray, Collier, Lewies (capt), Cavubati, Chisholm, Evans, Dombrandt.

Replacements: Baldwin, Louw, Thomas, White, Young, Steele, Esterhuizen, Ashton.

Sin-bin: Gray (22 mins).

Referee: Karl Dickson (RFU).

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