Match Centre: Gloucester Rugby 26-31 Northampton Saints

Taqele Naiyaravoro	scored Gloucester's opening try
Taqele Naiyaravoro scored Gloucester's opening try
©Steve Haag

Gloucester Rugby 26-31 Northampton Saints, Kingsholm

Northampton Saints managed to hold on a late try from Gloucester as they sealed a 31-26 win in the seventh round of the Gallagher Premiership at Kingsholm on Saturday.

A closely contested first half saw the Cherry and Whites have a slender 12-11 lead but Northampton scored three continuous tries at the end of the third quarter which provided them the advantage heading into the closing stages of the game.

This is also the sixth defeat for Gloucester in seven games as they continue to languish at the bottom of the table while Northampton move to the sixth place taking their tally to 18 points.

Dan Biggar started the proceedings with a simple penalty goal in the seventh minute and four minutes later, the hosts levelled the scores with a three-pointer from Billy Twelvetrees. The outside centre also slotted two more penalties in the 17th and 22nd minute to increase Gloucester's lead to 9-3.

The opening try of the game came in the 26th minute when Taqele Naiyaravoro collected a wide ball on his way over the line. Biggar missed the conversion but kicked a penalty goal to make the scoreline 9-11. As David Ribbans was held up before the line, Northampton full-back George Furbank and Gloucester wing Santiago Carreras were forced to leave the field following a collision.

Twelvetrees with his fourth penalty goal in the 33rd minute ensured the home side finished the opening half with a 12-11 lead.

Gloucester extended their lead further with Willi Heinz going under the post in the 49th minute after a good break from Ollie Thorley but the Saints exposed weakness in Gloucester's defence as they slotted three tries in a span of eight minutes.

First it was Rory Hutchinson, who dotted down in the 52nd minute after which he sent a cross field kick to send Shaun Adendorff over the line. There was no respite whatsoever for Gloucester as Northampton sealed a bonus point after Adendorff's second to take the scoreline to 19-28.

Biggar with a penalty goal in the 67th minute increased Northampton's lead to 12 points before Matias Alemanno's try in closing minutes helped Gloucester manage a losing bonus point.

Team line-up:

Gloucester: Woodward; Carreras, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Thorley; Evans, Heinz; Rapava-Ruskin, Walker, Balmain, Garvey, Alemanno, Reid, Ludlow (capt), Ackermann.

Reserves: Gleave, Ford-Robinson, Knight, Craig, Gibson, Chapman, Seabrook, Moyle.

Northampton: Furbank; Proctor, Hutchinson, Francis, Naiyaravoro; Biggar, Mitchell; Waller (co-capt), S Matavesi, Hill, Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa, Isiekwe, Ludlam (co-capt), Adendorff.

Reserves: Haywood, Van Wyk, Painter, Moon, Coles, James, Dingwall, Freeman.

Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the can only be the Gallagher Premiership.

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