Wiggins inspires Brown to higher gear
Harlequins 28 Gloucester 25
While Harlequins' captain Chris Robshaw, Danny Care, Ugo Monye and Joe Marler had their feet up for this match-up of two Premiership title contenders – in expectation of playing for England next Saturday – the full-back Mike Brown put in an excellent shift for the champions as they beat Gloucester 28-25.
Brown was released from England training last Tuesday evening. His battering try as Quins built a 22-12 half-time lead was typical of the pace in wide channels that his club exploit through the vision of fly-half Nick Evans. "I'll switch back to England mode on Sunday," Brown said, referring to the squad gathering again in Bagshot, "and see what team they pick next week. I can't do any more than what I've been doing." It may be that he loses out to Saracens' Alex Goode, who scores as a playmaker. A player with the pair's combined attributes would be a wonder.
Brown was with England long enough last week to hear the pep talk from cyclist Bradley Wiggins. "He spoke really well," Brown said. "He's a bit of a Jack the Lad and really interesting about how he was so down at some points and worked hard on what people told him to do."
The last few minutes here were all about the scrum and its myriad mysteries and tactics. Ben Morgan, the Gloucester No 8, had just taken 15 stitches to a cut head when he was sent to the sin bin for handling on the ground in his 22. Quins, 28-18 up, chose to scrum against Gloucester's seven men. Quins postponed their intended substitution of Lambert by Daryl Marfo.
There was a reset and a free-kick, then Gloucester swapped their tightheads, bringing on Dario Chistolini. Another free-kick and two penalties in Quins' favour pointed towards a penalty try and a bonus point. But the home side were penalised themselves when Joe Gray was popped up at the sixth scrum. Gloucester broke away with glee to claim a bonus of their own with Billy Twelvetrees' try.
Harlequins: Tries Brown, Hopper, Smith; Conversions Evans 2; Penalties Evans 3. Gloucester: Try Twelvetrees; Conversion Burns; Penalties Burns 6.
Harlequins M Brown; T Williams, M Hopper, T Casson (B Botica, 41), S Smith; N Evans, K Dickson; M Lambert, J Gray, J Johnston, O Kohn, G Robson, M Fa'asavalu, L Wallace, N Easter (capt).
Gloucester M Thomas; S Monahan, M Tindall (capt), B Twelvetrees, J Simpson-Daniel (R Cook, 41); F Burns, J Cowan (D Robson, 70); D Murphy (N Wood, 49), H Edmonds (T D'Apice, 70), R Harden (D Chistolini, 77), T Savage (P Buxton, 70), W James, M Cox, A Qera, B Morgan (G Evans 63-70).
Referee W Barnes (London).
Paul Scholes: Frustrated Steven Gerrard should have started crucial game between Liverpool and Manchester United
Marco Reus becomes Arsenal transfer target to replace Theo Walcott
Paul Scholes: It's amazing Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick has so few caps for England
New kits for 2015/16: Have the Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Barcelona strips been leaked?
England vs Lithuania: Theo Walcott 'at risk of being left behind' in Three Lions pecking order
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 3 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 4 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 5 Jeremy Clarkson calls on trolls to leave producer Oisin Tymon alone: 'None of this is his fault'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest