Gloucester Rugby played hosts to Northampton Saints on Saturday afternoon at Kingsholm with both sides hoping to bounce back from losses in the previous weekend of Gallagher Premiership fixtures. A win for Gloucester would boost their hopes of a top-four finish, while Saints themselves were hoping for a win that would keep them in what is a very tight and tense race for the playoffs as well as European Rugby.
It was the host who’d land the first blow and thanks to a line-out turnover on the five-metre line as Prop Harry Elrington found himself crossing the whitewash after just two minutes on the clock – Saints hooker Sam Matavesi with the overthrow. Fly-half Adam Hastings added the extra’s and to the roar of the Gloucester faithful, it was the perfect start for George Skivington’s men.
Saints had an opportunity to reply just five minutes later as Gloucester were pinged for a penalty just outside their own 22 but Wales international Dan Biggar couldn’t convert. There was an opening shortly after for Saints again to register their first points of the afternoon but Sam Matavesi, who was clear on the overlap was adjudged to have received the ball via a forward pass.
Gloucester Rugby defeat Saints
It wasn’t long before Saints were to get on the board though and in a 15 minutes period where they were in complete control, they went on to find themselves well in front. First, a penalty from Biggar got them on the scoreboard but tries from Matty Proctor and Fraser Dingwell – both converted by Biggar saw the visitors quickly see the lead well and truly in their hands. Saints with five minutes left in the half up by 20 points to 7!
Despite the visitors’ being in control, Gloucester’s Tom Seabrook provided us with a moment of pure magic as straight from the kickoff, he left the Saints defence in his wake as he broke the line and dummied his way over the line. Hastings converted the much-needed extras and Gloucester were back in the game. Score at halftime – Gloucester 14-20 Northampton.
Instant response! @T_seabz spots the gap, dummies the last man and races over!
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) March 5, 2022
Unlike the first half, it would be the Saints who would strike first in the second half and strike well they did! Winger Tom Collins blew past the Gloucester defensive line to go the length of the field to touchdown and arguably score Northampton’s try of the season! That try would be worldie number two on the day and it wasn’t to be the last!
With his team down 27 points to 13, Gloucester head coach George Skivington rung the changes with 19 minutes to go and it was one replacement in particular who would make his mark in an instant and in his traditional true style too! With his first touch of the game a minute after coming on, Wales international Louis Rees-Zammit, just as he did against Newcastle Falcons a few rounds ago, left everybody in the dust, dodged tackles and raced for the line from the Saints 22. Hastings added the extras and Gloucester were back in the game. 22-27 Saints lead.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) March 6, 2022
The hosts were now back in the game and with Kingsholm in full voice, it was their team’s turn to pile pressure and assert dominance on the opposition and take control of the game.
After getting penalized at the breakdown, Saints found themselves well and truly under pressure as Hastings booted Gloucester deep into Northampton territory and from five meters out, you just knew what was coming and it did! Gloucester in true Gloucester style put the squeeze on from the lineout maul and with plenty of momentum, got themselves within inches of the line. Referee Ian Tempest judged it to have been brought down illegally by the visitors and as a result, awarded Gloucester a penalty try. Saints prop Emmanuel Iyogun found himself in the sin bin and his team were down to 14 as well as now down 27-30 on the scoreboard.
Saints down to 14 but not out of the game as moments later they found themselves level thanks once again to the boot of Biggar. Scores level and with 10 minutes to go, it was anybody’s game for the taking.
With eight minutes to go, it felt like a sense of Deja Vu as Northampton found themselves once again defending their own try line due to another penalty conceded at the breakdown. Hastings booted Gloucester into Saints territory and Gloucester had the chance to strike the final blow.
That is exactly what they did too as once again, with Kingsholm behind them, Gloucester where inside the Northampton five-metre line and the drive for the line was on. Of course, it’s been a huge go-to party trick for Skivington’s men this season and for good reason. It’s ruthless! After big shift from the Gloucester pack, the Cherry & White’s were finally rewarded as they drove over to touchdown. Perhaps the greatest part of it is that no one had/has any idea of who scored the decisive try. Some say Alex Craig, some say Santi Socino, some even say it was Matias Alemanno.
Either way, the Gloucester faithful will not be bothered and with the clock running down, Saints threatened to ruin the Glaws’ party with a half chance of a line break. However, the Gloucester defence which had been solid all game, did enough to turn the ball over and with an almighty raw from the Kingsholm crowd, Alex Craig booted the ball into touch and Gloucester were victorious in what was a fantastic afternoon of rugby but even better from them, a comeback bonus point win was firmly in the bag.
Cue that victory song..
🎶 𝙒𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙂𝙡𝙤𝙪𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧… pic.twitter.com/HfI8s8HTaG
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) March 5, 2022
Man of the match: Tom Seabrook
Official attendance: 12,127.
What they said:
Gloucester Head Coach George Skivington:
“I thought it was a great spectacle for a neutral, a big stressful for both coaches I’d say but I was really please with the boys. We’ve had a couple of losses on the trot and a week off in between that so not too much to celebrate there albeit I wasn’t upset with the way we are playing I just think Exeter and Leicester were the better teams on the day and we took a lot of lessons from that.”
“I think the half backs really managed the game well today, I think there was a few switch off moments as we call them and Saints also pulled some sear class out of nowhere, when they are down here in this corner (in the corner of their own 22) and then they are up the other end scoring.”
“It was fast and furious and it was just really nice to get a win today.”
Man of the match, Gloucester’s Tom Seabrook:
“It’s probably the best one I’ve had (game in a Gloucester shirt), I love being out there every week and to do it in front of a crowd like that is amazing. I’m just happy to do my bit for the team really, I know that’s a bit of a boring answer but we speak about it all week and it’s about converting those opportunities we get. I was very please to get over the line and score.”
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