Joe Marchant sparks Harlequins comeback win over Gloucester

  • Harlequins 28-24 Gloucester
  • Harlequins seal playoff place after Gloucester had led 24-7

It is an understatement to say Harlequins do not always make life easy for themselves but another of their trademark comebacks, inspired by Joe Marchant, sealed the champions’ place in the playoffs and boosted their hopes of a return to Twickenham next month.

Take nothing away from Gloucester’s first-half performance – Harlequins were 17 points down at half-time because the visitors were superior in practically every department – but once they got on a roll and Danny Care and Marcus Smith started to play with the zip they so often do, the visitors capitulated. Harlequins scored three tries after the break, Gloucester failed to register a single point.

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Northampton’s Tommy Freeman: ‘I’m knocking on England’s door and that’s all I can do’

The versatile back on finding his best position, his England aspirations and Northampton’s push for the playoffs

Versatility can be a double-edged sword for emerging youngsters but when Northampton’s director of rugby, Chris Boyd, waxes lyrical about the number of positions in which Tommy Freeman could play, he captures a large part of why Eddie Jones has taken such a liking to the Saints flyer.

In his fledgling career to date, the 21-year-old Freeman has proved himself equally at home on the wing or at full-back and after an untimely injury in January he has hit his straps again, running in four tries in six matches, including eye-catching efforts in the miraculous comeback at Bath and the thrilling win over Harlequins.

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Gloucester to seek compensation for postponed Worcester game

  • Worcester did not try hard enough to stage fixture, panel says
  • Champions’ Cup last 16 will be one-off games next year

Gloucester are to seek financial compensation from Worcester following the late postponement of the Premiership fixture between the clubs on 25 March. An independent panel has ruled that Worcester could have done more to field a team despite several squad members being unavailable because of illness and injury.

The Warriors pulled out of the game citing a lack of tighthead props and Gloucester were subsequently awarded a 20-0 “victory” and five league points. Following the release of the full reasoned judgment by Sport Resolutions UK, however, Gloucester’s chief executive, Lance Bradley, has made clear the club do not consider the matter entirely closed.

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The Breakdown | Rugby union in limbo: ‘Riches at the top and everyone else is starving’

Whether in the Championship or below, the English club game is suffering and needs decisive action from the RFU

Welcome to The Breakdown, the Guardian’s weekly (and free) rugby union newsletter. Here’s an extract from this week’s edition. To receive the full version every Tuesday, just pop your email in below.

The future tends not to wait for the past to pack its bags. It certainly feels that way in English domestic rugby where the winds of change are once again howling around some creaking old institutions. Ask any club below the Premiership where they see themselves in five years’ time and just about all of them shrug their shoulders and say they are in limbo awaiting some clarity from Twickenham.

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