Quins Blog: Gloucester defeat no reason to be downhearted
11:54am Wednesday 29th February 2012 in Harlequins
If your morning trip to IKEA bought you 80 minutes of rugby watching on Saturday afternoon, you no doubt tuned into BBC One for the thrilling England-Wales match, writes Ben Wallace.
On another weekend it may easily have been the best game of the day.
But away from the national limelight an absolutely enthralling encounter was being played at the other end of the M4.
The Quins v Gloucester match – the fourth encounter between the two sides this season – was an absolute delight to watch, even if Quins fell short to lose 29-23.
Dominance from Gloucester's props Nick Wood and Darren Dawidiuk made for some excellent scrummaging for the traditionalists, whilst running flair from the likes of Johnny May and Ross Chisholm matched anything seen at Twickenham.
The game at Kingsholm was littered with England and Saxons rejects and hopefuls.
For the old guard, Mike Tindall was a workhorse as Gloucester's tackle counter passed the 100 mark, twice that of Harlequins.
But that may suggest Harlequins dominated in a game that had spells of open play that were a pleasure to watch.
For the Cherry and Whites, Charlie Sharples continued to look outstanding, running well with ball in both hands he was a constant threat.
Full back Johnny May was a menace when he found space and it seemed he beat every Harlequin on the pitch during his incredible individual try in the first half.
For Quins Nick Easter's form continues to question the decision that saw him overlooked for the England squad.
With his experience and current form he is clearly worthy of consideration and I hope that Lancaster, or his replacement, continue to pick on form and not discount players on age alone.
Having struggled to find form since returning from injury, Nick Evans was back to his best.
Firm kicking was supported by an excellent performance with the ball in hand in which he exploited gaps, often playing a very attacking flat line.
His last minute conversion from the touchline not only secured Harlequins a losing bonus point but also took his personal Premiership tally over 1000 points.
Whilst Mike Brown has been a form player for Quins this year, they have no worries about his absence during international periods.
Five tries in four games, including a superb individual effort in the dying seconds of the game, mean that Ross Chisholm is a worthy replacement.
A mention again for Ugo Monye, whose power in the contact and ability to challenge in the air would, for me at least, have him ahead of Strettle.
As his performances improve since returning from injury I would expect he will have more to offer England.
So whilst ultimately Quins lost it was a game for the rugby fan.
Quins’s bonus point takes them to 56 this season, with 60 generally considered the benchmark for a Premiership play-off place.
Travelling to Newcastle on Friday there will be confidence that Harlequins can secure a play-off by the end of the week.