Saracens secured their second successive bonus point win in as many weeks with a resounding five try victory over Gloucester.
The game though will be remembered for the sending off of Gloucester prop Nick Wood, whose stamp on Jacques Burger’s face earned the England Saxon international a deserved red card after 73 seconds, the second fastest dismissal in Premiership history.
Down to 14 men, Gloucester frustrated a Saracens side that included Duncan Taylor at inside centre in the place of the injured Brad Barritt, before second half tries from David Strettle (x 2), Schalk Brits and Billy Vunipola saw off the West Country clubs challenge.
The game began with Freddie Burns adding the first points of the game with a penalty kick, before Joel Tomkins scythed through the heart of the Gloucester defence to score the game’s first try.
Burns and Farrell exchanged penalties again, before the Gloucester and England No.10 kicked two difficult attempts just before half time to give them a surprise 10-12 lead into half time.
With the strong wind behind their backs and the words of the Saracens coaching staff ringing in their ears, Saracens began to gain the ascendancy in what was a feisty contest when England winger David Strettle scored in the left hand corner moments after another Owen Farrell penalty.
Just after Gloucester were reduced to 13 men after Sione Kalamafoni was yellow carded, Strettle finished off a fine move that saw two sumptuous cut out passes from Owen Farrell and Joel Tomkins; with Chris Wyles producing the final ball.
Another score from the returning Schalk Brits extended Saracens lead as they pressed for the bonus point in the 57th minute, but Saracens were made to wait until the 76th minute by their West Country visitors when Billy Vunipola capped off his home debut with the decisive score from the base off the scrum.
The icing on the cake was Strettle’s second of the afternoon as he hacked on a loose Gloucester pass to race away to score.
Final Score – Saracens 44 -12
Saracens (10) 44
Try: Tomkins, Strettle 2, Brits, B Vunipola
Con: Farrell 4, Spencer
Pens: Farrell 3
Gloucester (12) 12
Pens: Burns 4
Saracens: Wyles; Ashton, Tomkins, Taylor, Strettle; Farrell, Wigglesworth; Gill, George, Stevens, Borthwick, Hargreaves, B. Vunipola, Burger, Joubert.
Replacements: Ransom for Taylor (79), Mordt for Farrell (79), Spencer for Wigglesworth (71), M. Vunipola for Gill (14), Johnston for George (56), Brits for Stevens (56), Botha for Hargreaves (57), Wray for Joubert (73).
Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Trinder, Twelvetrees, Simpson-Daniel; Burns, Knoyle; Wood, Dawidiuk, Harden, Savage, Lokotui, Kvesic, Qera, Kalamafoni.
Replacements: M. Thomas for Cook (61), Tindall for Trinder (65), Cowan for Knoyle (60), Britton for Dawidiuk (61), Y. Thomas for Harden (55), Stooke for Lokotui (55), Murphy for Qera (7), B. Morgan for Kalamafoni (66).
Sin Bin: Kalamafoni (56).
Sent Off: Wood (2).
Ref: Wayne Barnes (RFU).