Northampton booked their place in next season’s Champions Cup thanks to a hard-fought 28-20 victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Tries from Lloyd Evans and Ross Moriarty had given Gloucester a half time lead, but George North’s tries either side of the break were added to by the boot of Stephen Myler to seal the victory.
Greg Laidlaw opened the scoring with a penalty, which was soon answered by Northampton’s George Pisi who scored the game’s first try after just five minutes.
Myler missed the conversion, before Laidlaw put the home side back in to the ascendency with another penalty. Myler opened his account for the afternoon with a penalty, before Gloucester saw their side reduced to 14 men as Tom Savage was sent to the sin bin for a tackle off the ball.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, it was the Cherry and Whites who scored the second try of the game as replacement fly-half Evans went over in the corner on his first Premiership appearance.
Laidlaw converted excellently from the touch line. Wales international Moriarty extended the home side’s lead with a superb individual try, as he carried over from 40 yards by stepping past a number of Northampton defenders before slapping down just to the right of the posts, allowing Laidlaw to convert.
North reduced the deficit on the verge of half time, before Myler’s conversion bought the visitors to within five points of Gloucester with the final kick of the half.
Eight minutes in to the second half, North showed a clean pair of heels to the Gloucester backs to carry over, allowing Myler to put the visitors into the lead with his simple conversion from in front of the posts.
Myler slotted two successive penalties of the afternoon to extend Saints? lead to eight points as the game began to peter out.
Tries: Evans, Moriarty
Cons: Laidlaw 2
Pens: Laidlaw 2
Tries: North 2, G Pisi
Cons: Myler 2
Pens: Myler 3
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Ollie Thorley, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Elliott Creed, 10 Greig Laidlaw (c), 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Gareth Evans, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Jacob Rowan
Northampton: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Sam Olver, 23 James Wilson
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Andrew Small, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Geoffrey Warren