Nick David had only scored one Premiership try all season before his double at TwickenhamGallagher PremiershipHarlequins: (15) 32Tries: David 2, Dombrandt, Lamb, Care Cons: Smith 2 Drop-goal: SmithGloucester: (7) 26Tries: Hastings, McGuigan, May, Penalty Cons: Hastings 2
Harlequins turned on the style to beat Gloucester 32-26 in front of a crowd of 76,813 at Twickenham in Big Game 15.
Nick David scored either side of a try for Gloucester’s Adam Hastings before Alex Dombrandt went over as Quins scored three good first-half tries.
Dino Lamb got the fourth Quins try shortly after the break before George McGuigan pulled one back for Gloucester.
Danny Care nipped in for Quins’ fifth with 25 minutes left before two late tries earned two bonus points for Gloucester.
First Jonny May went over with nine minutes left before a 78th-minute penalty try after Tyrone Green’s deliberate knock-on denied Ollie Thorley a try-scoring chance to set up an exciting finish.
Harlequins’ victory consolidates them in sixth place in the Premiership, drawing them level on points with Saracens.
Meanwhile, Gloucester’s eighth successive league loss – their worst run in the Premiership – keeps them in ninth place despite their two bonus points.
Big Game 15 had the biggest crowd since Harlequins beat Wasps in front of 82,000 in December 2018
Big Game 15 began with a laser lightshow and a set from DJ Joel Corry and it was the local side that began with a bang after only eight minutes.
A quick tap penalty allowed Danny Care to break into the 22 and a couple of passes later David was able to go over on the right as Gloucester were caught napping.
But Hastings replied four minutes later as Ruan Ackermann’s deft chip found Louis Rees-Zammit, who fed South African flanker and he found Hastings for a fine score in the corner.
Quins upped their levels soon after as first Smith sold a superb dummy to break the Gloucester line and fed David for his second try before Care’s no-look kick with the outside of his boot sent Dombrandt away for the third try after 25 minutes.
Gloucester had chances to score as Santiago Carreras was stopped by a superb last-ditch Oscar Beard tackle while they failed to convert when deep in Quins territory before the break.
Lamb bulldozed his way down the left wing four minutes after half-time for the bonus-point try after a fine five-pass move, but injured his shoulder in the process and had to be replaced.
McGuigan went in from close range eight minutes later for Gloucester, but the gap was restored three minutes afterwards as Care went in under the posts unchallenged from the breakdown following a powerful run by Andre Esterhuizen.
Smith – who was again in imperious at fly-half for Quins – added a drop goal with nine minutes left, and from the restart Gloucester were able to spring Jonny May down the right wing for his first try of the season.
The final moments of the game ensured few of the big crowd left early as Green palmed a high pass out of the air and earned himself a yellow card and Gloucester two bonus points that cut the gap to ninth-placed Leicester to four points.
Harlequins coaching coordinator Danny Wilson told BBC Radio London:
“It was brilliant to get over the line and get the job done.
“Such a big occasion, big day, and that kind of adds pressure that with such a big advantage of being at a venue like this with so many fans, and most of them being Quins fans, it’s important you get the win.
“We did that and we certainly entertained, but it was a little bit tight at the end and probably too tight for comfort.
“Fair play to Gloucester for coming back into it, but also maybe we’ll look at ourselves and say, ‘How did we let them back into it?'”
Gloucester head coach George Skivington told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:
“I’m massively proud with the character, the fight.
“We missed a few opportunities in the first half when we put ourselves in good positions and I think you can lose those and Quins score a couple and it’s easy to lose heart.
“But the boys stuck in the fight, stuck to the plan, and did really, really well.
“It is disappointing to lose, I think at the end there we had some good momentum, but the boys showed really good character to get the two points.”
Harlequins: Green; David, Beard, Esterhuizen, Anderson; Smith, Care; Marler ,Walker, Collier, Launchbury, Lewies, Lamb, Evans, Dombrandt (capt).
Replacements: Riley, Baxter, Lewis, Herbst, Chisholm, Porter, Edwards, Anyanwu.
Sin-bin: Green (78).
Gloucester: Carreras; Rees-Zammit, Harris, Atkinson, Thorley; Hastings, Varney; Ford-Robinson, McGuigan, Gotovtsev, Clarke, Alemanno, Ackermann, Ludlow (capt), Mercer.
Replacements: Blake, Vivas, Knight, Jordan, Clement, Englefield, Llewellyn, May.
Referee: Adam Leal.
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