The third round will conclude with what is hoped will be something of a thriller as two of the big winners from Round 2 will lock horns at Kingsholm as Gloucester host Harlequins.
Wasps were the latest victims of the Cherry & Whites’- Lee Blackett’s men pitching up hopeful and leaving disappointed and battered after their opponents knocked them over 40-24. It was a hard-fought contest from which Gloucester will derive much encouragement as a scalp of last year’s finalists is not easily procured. Particularly encouraging for George Skivington and co. was the competence in the forwards who rucked, mauled and scrummed Wasps into insignificance at times.
‘Quins pulled up a surprise in Round 2 with a convincing win over Northampton Saints – 49-29. ‘Quins’ level of interplay in the game was truly superb – the ball was kept alive as the team charged down the pitch time and again as Saints, understandably, struggled to defend against it. The impression was strongly conveyed that ‘Quins could have plenty to offer this season if they roll their sleeves up and get busy. The half-back pairing of Danny Care and Marcus Smith is a bright, inventive one when their forwards are on the front foot and the last round showed that there is no shortage of skill within the team as a whole.
While last season’s results might give ‘Quins a cool confidence going into the match, they will definitely steel the resolve of Gloucester who were unable to post a victory against the former. Round 5 saw ‘Quins scamper home with a four-point victory (23-19) at the Twickenham Stoop while the return fixture saw a wider score line at Kingsholm with the same victors, 28-15.
Last season aside, this should be a closely-contested encounter worth a watch.