Jan 04, 2014
Gloucester 8 Saracens 29
Saracens moved back to the top of the Aviva Premiership table with a 29-8 victory against Gloucester at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Tries from Neil de Kock, David Strettle and Alex Goode earned the visitors and impressive victory and the perfect start to 2014.
The energy and intensity from the visitors in the opening minutes of the game set the tone for the rest of the first half. With just four minutes on the clock and after a series of drives and quick recycled ball, home scrum half Jimmy Cowan prevented the release under the posts. He earned a yellow card and Owen Farrell kicked Saracens into the lead.
Minutes later, the visitors pack drove forward and sucked in the Cherry and Whites defence allowing Schalk Brits to break off the back of the maul and release Neil de Kock to score.
A second try followed and Brits was again at the heart of the play. The hooker took the ball at pace out wide to round off a flowing move and he passed the ball on to David Strettle to score his eighth Premiership try of the season.
Farrell extended the lead with two long range penalties before Billy Twelvetrees got the home side on the scoreboard with time running out in the first half.
The visitors picked up where they left off after the break and a third try followed on 50 minutes. After turning over a Gloucester scrum, the Saracens eight then drilled home the advantage and Billy Vunipola burst from the base of the scrum. Keeping the ball alive, the backs went wide and Alex Goode stepped inside his man to score. Farrell converted.
From a half break, the visitors them found themselves under pressure on their own line and Billy Vunipola earned the wrath of the referee for killing the ball and he was given a yellow card.
Minutes later, Saracens found themselves down to 13 men when captain Steve Borthwick was ruled to have taken a man out in the lineout.
With two Saracens forwards off the pitch, the home side went for the 5m scrum but a massive effort from the six remaining forwards, along with some help from Brad Barritt on the flank, saw them win the ball and a penalty. To add to the misery of the home side, then visitors then broke upfield and won a penalty which allowed Farrell to extend the lead.
Both sides made a number of replacements before the home side, spurred on by a frustrated Shed, finally did cross the line when Matt Cox went over from close range.