Brits sees red but Saracens prevail

Date published: February 20 2016

Saracens v Gloucester Rugby - Aviva Premiership

Despite having Schalk Brits sent-off on 29 minutes, Saracens fought their way to a 25-12 home win over Gloucester in the Premiership on Saturday.

A much changed Saracens side scored the only try of the match with the first attack of the game.

From then on, it was a game for the kickers, and Charlie Hodgson was the difference between the sides, scoring six penalties.

That was despite playing with a man less for the majority of the match following Brits' first half sending off.

Having conceded three tries in eight minutes last time out, Saracens turned the tables, with Ben Ransom collecting his own kick forward and touching down. Hodgson added the extras.

Midway through the first half, Saracens' Brad Barritt was sent to the sin-bin for a tip tackle.

Gloucester initially looked like taking advantage, with James Hook scoring a penalty, but the seven point advantage was soon restored for the hosts via Hodgson's own effort.

The game exploded into life for all the wrong reasons, as late in the half, Brits was given his marching orders for a punch on Gloucester's Nick Wood following an in-play altercation. Hook's resulting penalty reduced the deficit to four points.

Hodgson put seven points between the sides once more with a simple penalty, 13-6 to Saracens at the break.

From the restart, Gloucester pulled themselves back to within a try of their opponents through Hook's third penalty of the match.

Both sides traded penalties as the home team struck first through Hodgson, having been frustrated in their attempts to score a try.

Almost immediately though, the Cherry and Whites' James Hook hit home his fourth penalty of the day, leaving it all to play for.

The kicking game continued, and that seven-point gap was opened up yet again as Hodgson made no mistake from the tee, before the same man made it 22-12, all but handing Saracens a hard-fought victory.

With minutes remaining, 14-man Saracens put the game beyond their opponents, with Hodgson's penalty making it 25-12.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Try: Ransom
Con: Hodgson
Pens: Hodgson 6
Red Card: Brits

For Gloucester:
Pens: Hook 4

Saracens: 15 Ben Ransom, 14 Mike Ellery, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Michael Rhodes, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Hayden Smith, 3 Petrus Du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Titi Lamositele, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Jacques Burger, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Marcelo Bosch

Gloucester: 15 Billy Burns, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Steve McColl, 10 James Hook, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Nick Wood
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Henry Trinder, 23 Rob Cook

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Robin Goodliffe, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Rowan Kitt

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