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Nick David scored twice as Harlequins delivered an impressive performance against Gloucester.
Rugby union Sport

Nick David scored twice as Harlequins delivered an impressive performance against Gloucester.

Recently, Marcus Smith was still getting used to playing as a fly-half again after the World Cup. However, it is clear that he has found his rhythm now. Smith was the key player in Harlequins’ impressive performance in their yearly match here, although Gloucester fought back and nearly pulled off a surprising comeback towards the end of the game.

It is likely that Steve Borthwick is happy, but as the England head coach, he is also worried about Joe Marler’s arm injury that forced him to leave the game before halftime. Ellis Genge may not be ready for the beginning of the Six Nations, while Bevan Rodd and Val Rapava Ruskin are unable to play due to injuries, leaving Borthwick with a shortage of loosehead props. Harlequins’ head coach Danny Wilson mentioned that there will be scans and they will have to wait and see the severity of the injuries. He also mentioned that they are hoping they are not serious because these players are important for their team.

Smith struggled with his initial tee shots, but that was the only mistake in an otherwise flawless performance. He produced two 50:22 kicks and consistently found openings in the Gloucester defense. His overall skill and talent contributed to Harlequins scoring five tries, including two from Nick David, ultimately leading to Gloucester’s eighth consecutive league defeat. George Skivington, Gloucester’s director of rugby, acknowledged Smith’s exceptional performance, stating, “I believe Marcus Smith was on a different level today. This is not to diminish Quins’ team effort, as I thought they were excellent, but Marcus Smith truly displayed his abilities.”

Danny Care and Alex Dombrandt both had strong performances in all 15 of these matches. Despite a late rally from Gloucester, it has been a difficult season for the Cherry & Whites, who are currently in last place with only Newcastle below them. Quins did not have to play their best in this game, but with André Esterhuizen making powerful runs and David and Oscar Beard making impressive tackles to prevent tries, they were able to overpower Gloucester.

The Harlequins are known for making a big deal about their short journey across the street. The tickets are more affordable, the yearly event is well advertised, and it serves as a fun outing for those who are still celebrating the holidays. However, it is quite impressive that they are able to draw in nearly 77,000 viewers, which is more than what England had for their last visit.

Fireworks and pyrotechnics go off at Twickenham before Harlequins v Gloucester.

Despite the unfavorable weather and Smith’s struggles with accuracy, Harlequins managed to score five-pointers exclusively in the first half. After dominating territory and possession for eight minutes, Quins opened the scoring with a try from Care, who passed it on to Esterhuizen before David was able to score. Gloucester surprised everyone with a quick try by Adam Hastings.

Quins returned to their usual routine when Smith faked a pass and made his way through the opposing team before passing to David on the left. Dombrandt then scored the third goal with the help of Care, who had made a great effort earlier. The experienced scrum-half accurately measured his kick over the advancing Gloucester defense, allowing Dombrandt to charge forward and evade England rival Zach Mercer on his path to scoring.

Dino Lamb, a standout performer this season, scored a bonus point try at the beginning of the second half with a quick sprint down the left side. However, the Italian player injured his shoulder while scoring and had to carefully leave the field.

His departure – coming not long after that of Marler – seemed to take the wind out of Harlequins’ sails somewhat. Gloucester capitalised and the hooker George McGuigan burrowed over for his side’s second from close range.

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Harlequins’s response was emphatic, however. Smith’s second 50:22 of the match gave them a lineout in a threatening position from which Esterhuizen bulldozed over the gainline and soon enough Care was sniping his way over under the posts. Quins huffed and puffed for another but found no way through so Smith notched a drop goal before Jonny May, just on to the pitch as a replacement, ran in Gloucester’s third try of the evening.

Quins were awarded a penalty try due to Tyrone Green’s intentional knock-on, which prevented a try on the left side. This caused some anxiety for Quins, but Gloucester was unable to secure a win that they didn’t really earn.

Source: theguardian.com