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).
Manchester United teased by Monaco after claims they could have signed 'Luis Suarez of Neymar' instead or £58m Anthony Martial
Former Manchester United star Karel Poborsky goes full hipster
Manchester United hit back at Real Madrid by claiming they let David De Gea 'slip through their fingers into the back of the net'
Premier League Power Rankings: Eden Hazard and Harry Kane continue to slip but Wayne Rooney has to perform against rivals
Serie B introduces 'green cards' to promote good behaviour, fair play and sportsmanship
- 2 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 3 Malnourished two-year-old found being breastfed by dog in Chile
- 5 YouTube video shows woman verbally abusing takeaway staff 'because they used green peppers'
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees