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Burns boots Gloucester to a draw

01st January 2012 16:59

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Freddie Burns: Denies Saracens

Freddie Burns held his nerve to kick a late penalty and bag Gloucester a 15-15 draw with high-flying Saracens at Vicarage Road.

Burns and Owen Farrell did their England chances no harm at all as they matched each other point for point.

Despite the attacking talent on display on both sides, some extremely wet conditions dictated that kicking was the order of the day in the first half.

Both teams found it difficult to retain possession and keep their footing and only several indiscretions at rucks and scrums provided opportunities to get points on the board via the boot.

The two young England hopefuls playing at fly-half took advantage of the majority of the chances they were presented in an opening period that was almost bereft of try-scoring opportunities to leave the score 9-6 at the interval.

The game continued in the same vain after half-time and ill-discipline from both sets of forwards allowed Farrell and Burns to exchange penalties once more before Saracens called for a couple of vastly experienced and formidable front row replacements in John Smit and Carlos Nieto.

Gloucester showed real spirit and determination to hang on to the coattails of the reigning Premiership champions though and they finally levelled the scores at 12-12 midway through the second half.

But the concession of another needless penalty soon after allowed the increasingly impressive Farrell to restore Sarries' slender lead.

With a little over ten minutes remaining, the odds on the home side grinding out another ruthlessly efficient victory were shortening.

However, the Cherry and Whites refused to give in and with just two minutes left on the clock Burns knocked over another nerveless penalty to ensure that they travelled back to the West Country with a share of the spoils.

The scorers:

For Saracens:
Pens: Farrell 5

For Gloucester:
Pens: Burns 5

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Wyles, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Peter Stringer, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 John Smit, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 George Kruis, 20 Justin Melck, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Duncan Taylor.

Gloucester : 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway (c) 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Peter Buxton, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Brett Deacon, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Charlie Sharples

Referee: Sean Davey

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