Gloucester pip Saracens in thriller

Date published: February 17 2017

Gloucester overcame the odds to defeat high flying Saracens 31-23 at Kingsholm in the Premiership.

The Cherry and Whites moved up one place to eighth in the league against a Sarries side who faced defeat for the fourth time this season, but it was the manner of the victory which means more to the West Country side. 

The two sides went in on near level terms at the break following a well contested first half which saw Billy Burns kick the first points of the game for Gloucester from 42 metres out before Saracens responded in fine fashion. 

Schalk Brits sneaked through a gap in the home defence after multiple phases to touch down with Alex Lozowski slotting the extras before Marcelo Bosch dispatched a penalty to claim a seven point lead in the early stages. With Sarries dominating the play, Gloucester knew the importance of holding firm and scoring soon and they did just that with a quick attack culminating in Tom Marshall touching down his first try for the club after an incisive pass from Will Heinz with Burns leveling the score from the tee. 

That was the try scoring done for the first half, but Lozowski's penalty from an offside decision, handed the visitors the lead all too briefly as Billy Burns kicked the scores level at 34 minutes before edging the hosts in front at half-time with the last touch of the first 40 minutes. 

The unlikely lead extended even further in the second half, when the hosts forced a mistake from the Saracens and fully took advantage with their second try of the contest as Jeremy Thrush burst onto a loose pass and charged over the line in double quick time with Burns extending the lead into double figures from the tee. 

Gloucester were looking stronger than in previous weeks, but old habits die hard and after straying offside, Lozowski did not miss the chance to bring the visitors right back into the contest and on the hour mark, they were level. 

Just a minute after seeing Paul Doran Jones to the sin bin, Gloucester lost their presence as Will Fraser touched down with Lozowski making it 23-23. 

Going into the last 10 minutes though, the hosts recovered and won the contest thanks to a Billy Twelvetrees penalty and then Richard Hubbard's opportunistic dive over the line, sparking wild celebrations in the West Country.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Marshall, Thrush, Hibbard
Cons: Burns 2
Pens: Burns 3, Twelvetrees

For Saracens:
Brits,  Fraser
Cons: Lozowski
Pens: Bosch, Lozowski 2

Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 David Halaifonua, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 James Hook, 23 Henry Trinder

Saracens: 15 Duncan Taylor, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Mike Ellery, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Will Fraser, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Max Malins, 23 Matt Gallagher

Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace, Nigel Carrick
TMO: David Grashoff