Nov 27, 2016
Saracens Edge Victory Over Tough Gloucester
Saracens cemented their place at the top of the Aviva Premiership table with a hard-fought 24-20 victory over Gloucester Rugby.
In a see-saw encounter at a chilly Allianz Park, it was Gloucester who went into the break with their noses in front.
Scores from Ben Morgan and Billy Burns both converted by James Hook, who also added a penalty, sending them into the break 15-17 ahead.
Tries from Brad Barritt and Mike Ellery along with five points from the boot of Alex Lozowski ensured that Mark McCall’s men weren’t far behind.
Three penalties from the boot of Lozowski after the break proved vital, their guests replying with an effort of their own through Hook and securing a losing bonus point in defeat.
The visitors rocked their hosts early with a score through Morgan after just two minutes. The number 8 powering over from close range after the home side failed to gather the ball at the kick-off.
Despite a positive start from the cherry and whites, who had been piling plenty of early pressure on their opponents, Saracens were able to get themselves back into the game six minutes later. Skipper Barritt charged down Mark Atkinson’s clearance kick before re-gathering and scoring under the posts, Lozowski’s conversion bringing the game level.
However, the home side’s joy was short lived when Burns took full advantage of an uncharacteristic Alex Goode error to dot down for Gloucester’s second of the afternoon just moments afterwards.
The end to end rugby continued, Saracens hitting back once again when Ellery danced over in the corner, Lozowski’s missed conversion attempt leaving Saracens two points behind their opponents at 12-14 after a frantic opening corner.
Lozowski and Hook exchanged penalties before the break, bringing a yo-yo first half to a close with the score at 15-17 to Gloucester.
The cherry and whites dominated the opening exchanges of the second fourty, going close through Charlie Sharples after a period of sustained pressure inside the Saracens half.
With a new look prop pairing of Titi Lamositele and Juan Figallo, Saracens turned the screw on their opponents in the scrum, earning their side a penalty that Lozowski duly slotted, edging his side into the lead.
The Saracens scrum continued to dominate with Gloucester hooker John Afoa shown yellow for his side’s indiscipline at the set piece by referee Greg MacDonald before Lozowski stepped up to provide his side with a further three points.
Hook added another penalty to his tally for the afternoon with just nine minutes remaining, the one point difference setting up a grandstand finish.
Lozowski continued to keep the scoreboard ticking as the game ticked down to its conclusion dissecting the posts with his penalty attempt, before Hook pushed his final attempt wide.
With the scoreboard in the red Gloucester continued to press their opponents a darting run from Thorley but great work on the floor from the Saracens pack secured the turnover and a hard-fought victory in front of the Allianz Park faithful.
15 Alex Goode; 14 Mike Ellery; 13 Marcelo Bosch (Tomkins 66); 12 Brad Barritt (c); 11 Chris Wyles; 10 Alex Lozowski (Fenby 75);9 Richard Wigglesworth (Spencer 69); 1 Richard Barrington (Lamositele (56) 2 Schalk Brits; 3 Petrus Du Plessis (Figallo 41); 4 Michael Rhodes; 5 Jim Hamilton; 6 Kelly Brown; 7 Schalk Burger; 8 Jackson Wray.
16 Jared Saunders; 17 Titi Lamositele; 18 Juan Figallo; 19 Mark Flanagan; 20 Joel Conlon; 21 Ben Spencer; 22 Nick Tompkins; 23 Andrew Fenby.
Scores Tries Barritt; Ellery.
Cons Lozowski 1/2.
Penalties Lozowski 4
15. James Hook; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Matt Scott, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Billy Burns (Twelvetrees 62); 9. Willi Heinz (capt)(Braley 67); 1. Paddy McAllister(Hohneck 56); 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. John Afoa (Thorley 72) ; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Mariano Galarza(Latta 67); 6. Lewis Ludlow, 7. Jacob Rowan( Doran-Jones 67-72), 8. Ben Morgan(Kvesic 68).
16 Tom Lindsay, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Paul Doran-Jones, 19. Joe Latta, 20. Matt Kvesic, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Billy Twelvetrees, 23. Ollie Thorley.
Scores Tries Morgan; Burns.
Cons Hook 2.
Penalties Hook 2/3.
Yellow card Afoa (61).
Scoring sequence 0-5 Morgan try, 0-7 Hook con, 5-7 Barritt try, 7-7 Lozowski con, 7-12 Burns try, 7-14 Hook con, 12-14 Ellery try, 15-14 Lozowski penalty, 15-17 Hook penalty, 18-17 Lozowski penalty, 21-17 Lozowski penalty, 21-20 Hook penalty, 24-20 Lozowski penalty.
Man of the Match Brad Barritt