Gloucester picked up a vital 29-28 Guinness Premiership win over Saracens on Saturday, which was inspired by young Freddie Burns.
Gloucester picked up a priceless 29-28 Guinness Premiership victory over Saracens on Saturday, which was inspired by young Freddie Burns.
The 19-year-old utility back kicked 19 points as the home side just hung on for victory after being 11 points in front at one stage.
Much of the pre-match talk centred around the contract row between Saracens and Northampton over the services of Tongan prop Soane Tonga'uiha.
And, if third-placed Saracens needed any incentive to win, it lay in the Premiership table where the Saints were nine points above them before kick-off in second position. The teams meet at Franklin's Gardens on April 24.
With that in Saracens' minds, and with Gloucester unwilling to lose without a fight at Kingsholm, the opening period was excellent despite the wet conditions.
Saracens started at a real pace, and after full-back Alex Goode's corner try effort was ruled out by the video referee, fly-half Glen Jackson boomed over a 40-metre penalty to open the scoring.
Burns levelled with a penalty before home flanker Apo Satala took a long line-out throw and burst 40 metres into the visiting 22 before the move fizzled out.
Gloucester took the lead with another Burns penalty but Saracens countered on the half-hour mark with a sizzling try.
The ball passed through a multitude of hands around the halfway line before it went wide where wing Chris Wyles just kept himself the right side of the touchline before sending centre Brad Barritt over under the posts.
That got Gloucester focused and they countered to regain the lead when centre Tim Molenaar blasted through the Saracens defence and nearly got over the line himself.
When the ball was recycled, centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu sent a long pass out to wing Charlie Sharples to slip over in the corner.
Burns sent over a touchline conversion before Jackson levelled the game at 13-13. Then, on half-time, the Gloucester full-back booted an outstanding penalty from the left touchline to give his side the lead.
The game showed no signs of slowing down into a bore either after the break as Goode went through a gap to race 50 metres downfield but a resultant penalty went wide from Jackson.
And, when Gloucester turned on the power, Burns put a cross-kick to the right for Sharples to grab, get past scrum-half Neil de Kock and score in the corner.
Burns converted to put the Cherry and Whites 10 points in front and place Saracens under real pressure.
Yet a brilliant try, when Saracens created space on the right for skipper Ernst Joubert to put in Wyles, put the visitors back in the match.
That was sandwiched by two penalties from the boot of Burns.
But a third Saracens penalty of the match, this time from replacement Derick Hougaard, put the visitors just eight points behind at 29-21.
The match deserved a blistering climax and it got one as Goode grabbed a try five minutes from the end, Hougaard converted and Saracens were suddenly one point away from Gloucester.
Hougaard had a 52-metre penalty to win the game but it went wide as the home players threw their hands in the air in delight at a breathtaking victory.
Tries: Sharples 2
Con: Burns 2
Pen: Burns 5
Tries: Barritt, Wyles, Goode
Con: Jackson, Hougaard
Pen: Jackson 2, Hougaard
Gloucester: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Tim Molenaar, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Tim Taylor, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Adam Eustace, 7 Andrew Hazell, 6 Jake Boer (capt), 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Will James, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Olivier Azam, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Pierre Capdevielle, 19 Alex Brown, 20 Apo Satala, 21 Jordi Pasqualin, 22 Nicky Robinson, 23 James Simpson-Daniel.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Michael Tagicakibau, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Glen Jackson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert (c), 7 Andy Saull, 6 Jacques Burger, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Hugh Vyvyan, 3 Petrus du Plessis, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Fabio Ongaro, 17 Matias Aguero, 18 Richard Skuse, 19 Tom Ryder, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Moses Rauluni, 22 Derick Hougaard, 23 Richard Haughton.
Referee: Dave Pearson
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Roy Maybank
Television match official: Matt Peters, David Matthews
Assessor: Paul Bridgman