A late Billy Twelvetrees penalty kick helped Gloucester defeat Northampton Saints in a controversial 26-24 victory at Kingsholm.
A late penalty from Billy Twelvetrees saw Gloucester defeat Northampton Saints in a controversial 26-24 victory at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Northampton thought they had won a pulsating encounter following a brilliant run from George North, which set up fellow winger James Elliott for a wonder try.
Stephen Myler's conversion in front of the posts put Saints a point ahead with less than a minute left on the clock.
Northampton knocked on at the restart to hand Gloucester the put in at the scrum as the clock went past 80 minutes. Two resets followed before referee Greg Garner controversially penalised Northampton for being offside to present Twelvetrees with his match-winning opportunity.
Saints had taken the lead on five minutes when Ben Foden jinxed his way over the line for a try that was converted by Stephen Myler.
Freddie Burns and Myler then traded penalties before Charlie Sharples forced his way over in the right hand corner following a sharp backs move to bring Gloucester to within two points at the interval.
The Cherry and Whites wasted no time in seizing the initiative in the second period with Twelvetrees' converted try putting them 15-10 ahead.
Saints' excellent line-out provided the perfect response as Samu Manoa bundled his way over from a catch-and-drive move. Myler converted to put Saints back in front.
The lead was short-lived though, as Gloucester hit back with a penalty to Burns on 57 minutes following a surging run down the middle from full-back Rob Cook. James Simpson-Daniel's ability to spot a gap and step off both feet saw him set up forward Elliot Stooke for a try on his first Premiership start to make the score 23-17.
North then beat two defenders to create a try out of nothing for Elliott, and with Myler landing Saints looked certain to make it three Premiership wins from three.
But Gloucester took their unexpected lifeline to win their first match in three and avoid what would have been their worst start to a Premiership season.
Tries: Sharples, Twelvetrees, Stooke
Pens: Burns 2, Twelvetrees
Tries: Foden, Manoa, Elliott
Cons: Myler 3
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Matt Kvesic, 5 Elliott Stooke, 4 Tom Savage (capt), 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Jonny May.
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 James Wilson, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Sam Dickinson, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Christian Day, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 George Pisi, 23 Ken Pisi.
Referee: Gregory Garner
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Ashley Rowden
Television match official: Graham Hughes