Last-gasp Ackermann keeps Glos hopes alive
GLOUCESTER scored 21 points in the last nine minutes to keep their Premiership play-off hopes alive.
Ruan Ackermann’s try from a line-out drive was the last play of the game and it secured a vital bonus point, which moves Gloucester up to sixth, three points adrift of fourth placed Newcastle with only two games remaining.
Gloucester head coach, Johan Ackermann said: “The competition is so tight and every point is vital so that final try was massive, but we were our own worst enemies by making 18 errors and giving away 12 penalties.”
Such was Gloucester’s dominance that it was unfathomable that Quins could remain in contention for so long, but the home side were chaotic and would need to play a whole lot better to beat Saracens and Exeter should they reach the semi-final.
However, their combative pack were in control throughout with John Afoa and Ed Slater at the forefront of their efforts which enabled Jason Woodward and Mark Atkinson to display their talent.
Woodward’s elusive running regularly tested the Quins defence while two well-judged passes from Atkinson were the major contribution to two tries.
After last week’s catastrophic performance against London Irish, Quins showed greater commitment but they lacked confidence and cohesion and surely can’t wait for their season to end.
There were a few positives for them with the indefatigable Chris Robshaw refusing to throw in the towel and Joe Marchant showing neat touches in attack, but their big guns, Danny Care, Mike Brown and Jamie Roberts all failed to fire.
Billy Twelvetrees and Marcus Smith exchanged early penalties before Gloucester scored an excellent opening try. On half-way, a well-timed pass from Atkinson sent Twelvetrees through a huge gap before Braley was on hand to race 25m to the line.
Twelvetrees converted before the visitors suffered a further setback when Jack Clifford was helped off with a leg injury.
Joe Marler was briefly absent but passed a head injury assessment to return but it didn’t stop Gloucester dominating the half in which they had nearly 65 per cent of both possession and territory.
However, elementary errors prevented them from capitalising and the only additions to the scoreboard were penalties, two from Smith and one from Twelvetrees, to leave Gloucester with a 13-9 half-time lead.
The second half began with both full-backs making 50m runs. First Woodward evaded a number of opponents before Gloucester surrendered possession at a ruck for Brown to seize his chance and set off for the try-line only for Billy Burns to haul him down.
Twelvetrees extended the lead with his third penalty as the game became increasingly frenetic until Gloucester’s late burst finally killed off Quins.
Henry Trinder made the running for Woodward’s try before Jake Polledri walked through a tiring defence and then there was just time for Ackermann’s crucial effort.
Streamlined: Jason Woodward dives over for Gloucester
Barrier: Quins stop a Ben Morgan break