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Aviva Premiership: Gloucester 17 - 15 Harlequins
O'Shea devastated by defeat
March 30, 2013
Gloucester wing Jonny May dives over the line to score a try. Gloucester v Harlequins, Aviva Premiership, Kingsholm, Gloucester, England, March 29, 2013
Gloucester's Jonny May scores a crucial try for Gloucester © Getty Images
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Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea claimed he felt "devastated" for his players after the reigning Aviva Premiership champions slumped to a third successive league defeat.

Quins lost a scintillating encounter 17-15 against Gloucester at Kingsholm, the first time during O'Shea's three-year reign for them to lose three league games on the bounce. And they will drop to fourth in the Premiership if Northampton beat Leicester at Franklin's Gardens on Saturday.

O'Shea struggled to conceal his anger after a Quins try was disallowed for a knock-on just before half-time. It would have taken them 19-3 in front following earlier tries by hooker Rob Buchanan and wing Sam Smith.

"It was a try, which would have made it 19-3. That's life," O'Shea said. "I can't wait to talk to Ed Morrison (the Rugby Football Union's elite referees' manager), but you don't want to be talking about that now after watching what was a cracking game of rugby. I am devastated for the players.

"Both teams were magnificent in the way they went about the game, with massive ambition. It was like two heavyweight boxers slugging it out, and that's the way to me you want rugby played. There is so much I want to go into about that game, but you don't want to take away from the game.

"If we play like that for the rest of the season, we will be very happy because I think we will be right where we need to be. The feeling at the moment is pretty hard to take, but I thought our boys were absolutely outstanding five days after our previous game (against Saracens).

"If we play like that, I don't think there are many teams who will want to play against us. I am proud of the lads."

An encounter of the highest quality finally went Gloucester's way when flanker Akapusi Qera touched down ten minutes from time. Quins led 12-3 at half-time, but play-off contenders Gloucester refused to lie down and wing Jonny May's 43rd-minute score kept them in contention.

Fly-half Nick Evans chipped in with a penalty and conversion for Quins, while his opposite number Freddie Burns converted both Gloucester tries and kicked a penalty as his team held their nerve to prevail. It was fast, furious and occasionally frantic, and a crowd of just under 15,000 revelled in the attacking intensity that both sides brought to the party.

Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies said: "It is an important result in terms of our season and our challenge, not only from the performance and the result, but the springboard it might allow us for our remaining games.

"If we hit our straps, who knows? We will take each game as it comes - there is a lot of hard rugby to be played. I was delighted with the style and ambition we showed, and more than anything the work-rate of the players.

"The way we moved the ball, the fluency in our attack for large periods of the game and the intent was remarkable. The boys worked so hard for each other."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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