Gloucester's power and dominance in the pack was the difference but it took a late try from the No 8 Brett Deacon to secure the win. The Cherry and Whites should have been out of sight but Nick Evans inspired a recovery from Harlequins. The All Black fly-half finished with 21 points.
The Gloucester pack provided the platform for first-half tries scored by Dave Lewis and Charlie Sharples after Danny Care had given the visitors the lead. The Welshman Nicky Robinson gave a faultless display for the home side, but Gloucester's second-half performance left a lot to be desired, according to their head coach, Bryan Redpath.
"At the end of the day I am just happy to get away with the victory," he said. "We were right on our game and flowing, we had scored a couple of good tries but then we had the sin-binnings and suddenly it was 26-26. We dug in well though towards the end and got the all-important try and I will certainly take the four points."
Care scored the first try of the match after Robinson had kicked Gloucester ahead with a penalty. The Harlequins forwards thwarted a Gloucester attack on their own 10-metre line and the ball fell at the feet of the England scrum-half, who sprinted down the blindside for 60 metres to score, outpacing Mike Tindall to the corner.Evans converted.
When the visitors' defence failed to deal with a Robinson chip, the home pack overpowered their opponents at the resulting scrum. Quins were penalised and Gloucester opted for a second scrum. As the referee, Tim Wig-glesworth, indicatedan advantage to theCherry and Whites, Lewis picked up at the base and crossed the line to score.
Evans replied with a penalty from the halfway line two minutes later. Robinson kicked another penalty won at a scrum and then a third. Sharples got the try he deserved after 33 minutes. James Simpson-Daniel ventured off his wing and created space for Sharples to show the Quins defence a clean pair of heels. Robinson converted. On the stroke of half-time Evans kicked a second penalty.
Another Robinson penalty early in the second half was the only talking point in a quiet period, but then the Gloucester prop Paul Doran-Jones, having been entangled with Harlequins' Joe Marler on the floor, was shown a yellow card for starting the altercation. Evans then spotted a small gap in the defence and burst through to score after 56 minutes. He also converted the try, to bring Quins to within six points, andthen another Gloucester prop, Nick Wood, was shown a yellow card. With the home team a man down in the pack, Harlequins managed to establish some sort of control up frontand Evans kicked a penalty after Gloucester were penalised at a scrum.
In a tense final 10 minutes, the game looked to be heading towards a draw, before Deacon's effort three minutes before time settled matters. From a five-metre scrum, the Gloucester pack, which was back to full strength, drove forward. Deacon picked the ball up and twisted his way over for the match-winning try. Robinson kicked the conversion from out wide to round off a faultless display with the boot, the Welshman finishing with 18 points of his own.
Gloucester O Morgan; C Sharples, M Tindall (capt), H Trinder, J Simpson-Daniel; N Robinson, D Lewis (J Pasqualin, 56); N Wood (M Cox, 72), S Lawson (O Azam, 73), P Doran-Jones, D Attwood, A Brown, A Strokosch (P Buxton, 48), B Deacon, L Narraway.
Harlequins M Brown; T Williams, G Lowe (O Smith 57), J Turner-Hall, G Camacho; N Evans, D Care; J Marler (C Jones, 78), C Brooker (J Gray, 55), J Andress (M Lambert, 49), T Vallejos (T Guest, 52), G Robson, C Robshaw (capt), N Easter, W Skinner.
Referee T Wigglesworth (Yorkshire).