MX23RW : Sunday, October 21 04:28:30

Harlequins edge thriller with Gloucester

Fifteen Danny Cipriani points not enough.

Harlequins won for the first time in the Gallagher Premiership since the first match of the season as a thumping clash saw them overhaul home team Gloucester 27-25.

Two tries from wing Nathan Earle plus the boots of fly-half James Lang, with two penalties an a conversion, plus his replacement Marcus Smith, who landed three penalties, saw the Londoners to victory.

Fly-half Danny Cipriani scored 15 of Gloucester’s points with a try, two penalties and two conversions with wing Charlie Sharples crossing the Harlequins line twice.

After a quiet start, the match exploded with three tries inside six minutes as Gloucester took the lead but found themselves down before they knew it.

Cirpiani went from hero to villain as he finished off a break from Italian international flanker Jake Polledri to rush to the corner and score.

But the former England fly-half’s pass wide was fumbled on the wing for Earle to pick-off and run a full 55 metres to the line.

Seconds later, Earle was at it again with his second in the corner, Lang adding the extras.

Cipriani landed a 22-metre penalty to reduce the arrears as Gloucester upped the ante in front of their baying fans.

Quins were on the rack and penalised a couple of times for persistent offside. Yet another offside penalty was enough for the man in the middle as he sent Quins other co-captain James Horwill to the bin.

Cipriani booted the penalty as Gloucester kept up their relentless tempo.

They were rewarded again when a tremendous offload from centre Mark Atkinson found scrum-half Ben Vellacott to surge into the danger zone and send Sharples to the line, Cipriani adding the extras.

Lang landed a 23-metre penalty on the stroke of half-time to make it 18-15 as the teams went off.

From there, though, Gloucester lost their way for half an hour as poor handling, mistakes and some new-found flair from the Londoners forced the home side to concede penalties that Lang and his replacement Marcus Smith gratefully accepted.

Quins went into a 24-18 lead with 12 minutes left but Sharples second touchdown, converted by Cipriani put them in front for a third time.

But in a gripping finale, Smith slipped when through in the Gloucester 22 with five minutes left before his third penalty put Quins 27-25 ahead.

And a crucial obstruction decision as wing Matt Banahan put a pass inside gave the home team a scrum instead of an attacking penalty which the visitors saw off to grab the win.

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