Gloucester pay penalty as Twelvetrees misses with late kick at Harlequins
Billy Twelvetrees missed a simple late penalty at The Stoop as Harlequins held on for a tense 23-19 victory over Gloucester.
Gloucester played the more attractive rugby and a first-half brace from Ollie Thorley gave the visitors reward for their efforts.
However, the Cherry and Whites were left ruing poor discipline that allowed Quins to claim only their second league win of the season.
Up stepped Twelvetrees, on as a second-half replacement, in the closing moments looking to end Gloucester’s losing run that has now stretched to five games in all competitions.
But his simple penalty from in front was pushed wide in the wind of south west London and Smith showed him how it was done to put the icing on the cake.
The first opportunity of the game fell to Lewis Ludlow, who had a chance to go over in the corner in the opening five minutes and he would have if it were not for the sterling defensive efforts of Dombrandt.
It was the home side who took the lead though when Smith converted a simple penalty from in front of the sticks to make it 3-0 with 10 minutes gone.
Some good handling then put Quins on the back foot just on halfway and Thorley spotted some space from the base of the ruck to go himself and went through unchallenged under the posts.
Paul Gustard’s men managed to take an unexpected 10-7 lead against the run of play midway through the first half; a lovely Ross Chisholm run on the 22 saw him slip his defender and give a simple dummy to beat the last man and cross over.
Gloucester recovered and pounded the Quins line for phase after phase until Danny Cipriani found Thorley, who had an easy run into the corner for his second of the day.
They were again left ruing poor discipline though as Smith converted another simple penalty in front of the posts, giving Quins a 13-12 half-time advantage.
A tremendous defensive effort from Quins kept Gloucester at bay for the first 16 minutes of the second half but eventually skipper Ben Morgan slipped a routine tackle and crashed over from short range in a moment.
This time it was the hosts’ turn to hit back immediately as a lovely inside pass from Smith to Dombrandt allowed the number eight to thunder through several tackles and put his side 20-19 in front with 20 minutes to go.
James Lang was offered the opportunity to extend the advantage to 23-19 with just over 10 minutes remaining but squandered a long-range effort.
Gloucester were then awarded a penalty on the 22, but fortunately for Quins Twelvetrees fluffed his lines and shot wide of the right upright.
It was another very tense finish at The Stoop but a third penalty from Smith at the death made sure of it as Gloucester could not complete the comeback.
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