Harlequins’ head of rugby Paul Gustard made no excuses as his side crashed to a surprise 29-7 defeat at the hands of a rampant Gloucester at the Stoop.
The win moved fourth-placed Gloucester to within two points of Harlequins, who sit third in the table with six Premiership games remaining.
The Quins could only manage a consolation try from Nathan Earle which Marcus Smith converted with Jason Woodward, Tom Marshall, Danny Cipriani and Ruan Ackermann scoring tries for Gloucester. Billy Twelvetrees added three conversions and a penalty.
Gustard said: “We were caught with our pants down at home and got what we deserved.
“We were well-beaten, outmuscled, outfought and didn’t work hard enough as we made 29 errors.
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“We had no energy and we gave away soft tries. The first was a missed tackle, there was a forward pass for the third and it was bad defending from a set-piece for the fourth.”
The defeat meant Quins’ run of five wins come to an abrupt end and they now face second-placed Saracens at Allianz Park in a vital game in a fortnight’s time.
“We will approach that game in the same way as we approach any other and we are still a good side,” said Gustard.
“We are still in third position and have recently been the form team in the competition so whilst today is a setback in terms of losing momentum and valuable points, it changes nothing for the rest of the season.”
In contrast, Gloucester’s head coach Johan Ackermann was unsurprisingly upbeat after his side’s impressive performance.
He said: “We wanted to bounce back from last week’s defeat at Bristol as there we actually played well but they scored three very good tries from our defensive errors.
“Today was one of our better efforts of the season as in very difficult conditions, we made nearly all the right decisions.
Ackermann explained that after each game a cap is awarded to the player who they believe was the best in that particular match.
Gloucester’s skipper Willi Heinz was the official choice but the Gloucester coach said: “Win or lose, we choose and we don’t always agree with the broadcasters so today it was Tom Marshall, who despite his yellow card had a really lively game.”
Gloucester’s win was crucial in continuing their quest to secure a play-off spot by finishing in the top four but Ackermann was not getting carried away.
“The league is so competitive so we must stay focused on ourselves. The sides below us are only one win away and there is a lot of rugby still to be played,” he said.
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