Feb 22, 2019
Match Report: Gloucester 30-24 Saracens Men
Saracens fought back with two tries in the closing stages to secure a losing bonus-point at Gloucester.
Matt Gallagher and Jackson Wray added to Mike Rhodes’ earlier try to ensure Sarries headed back to north London with something to show for their efforts.
Ben Morgan’s early try and Billy Twelvetrees’ boot gave a full-strength home outfit a commanding advantage in the West Country and Ed Slater crossed on 55 minutes to cancel out Alex Lozowski’s solitary penalty.
Twelvetrees, who collected 15 points, was further successful from the tee and Morgan added a second, after Rhodes’ dot, to confirm what looked like a big win for the hosts.
However, in true Wolfpack fashion, Sarries rallied to earn a point. Gallagher whizzed into the corner and with the clock in the red, Wray powered home with Lozowski’s conversions making the final score 30-24.
Sarries were dealt an early scare at Kingsholm when Tom Marshall almost scooted into the corner following an away fumble inside the 22. The winger juggled and stumbled before being edged into touch with the line at his mercy.
They had another chance to get the first points on the board through Twelvetrees’ boot only for the outside centre to hook his effort. He did make amends moments later, slotting from a similar position after a second offside call.
A physically demanding period followed as both teams attempted to gain the upper hand in contact, offering little in terms of sparkle until Gloucester split open the away defence, almost putting Ollie Thorley into the corner.
Soon after Johan Ackermann’s side did grab five points; former England Number 8 Morgan burrowing to brush the bottom of the posts with the ball.
Twelvetrees’ extras and two penalties, which sandwiched a Lozowski strike, meant Gloucester took a 13-point lead into the interval and they carried that momentum into the second half, thrice being held up over the line by determined black shirts.
The Cherry & Whites’ fourth spell of pressure inside the Sarries five ended in success. A strong scrum and two denting phases resulted in Slater crashing over.
Mark McCall’s men were strong in their reply. A kick to the corner for an attacking line-out and Rhodes battled his way to a score on his return to the starting XV.
Gloucester went in search of a third to wrap the win and deny Saracens a chance of a remarkable fightback, and they got it with six minutes remaining. Wearing the visiting defence down, Morgan flopped over for his second of the match for what seemed to end the contest as a straightforward victory.
Saracens had something to say about that. With the forwards camped on the Glos line, the ball was recycled to Gallagher to fly over and an unbelievable Lozowski touchliner gave the visitors hope.
The restart went deep to the 22 and Sarries even lost possession at one stage, but instead of ending the match with a punt to touch, Gloucester chased an all-important try bonus.
They spilled in the midfield and a rampaging Will Skelton found Wray on his shoulder and his leg drive saw him go in. Lozowski took his tally to nine, resulting in a happier ending for the Men in Black.