A penalty try with just five minutes remaining gave Northampton Saints a 13-12 victory over Gloucester Rugby and ended the home side’s unbeaten run at Kingsholm.
The South West outfit had not lost at home since Bath beat them back in October and were 12-6 ahead after Billy Burns’ four successful penalties.
But winger David Halaifonua knocked the ball on whilst defending a Saints overlap and was shown the yellow card with referee Matt Carley awarding Northampton the penalty try.
Stephen Myler, making his 300th appearance in a Saints shirt, converted to give his side their first away win in Aviva Premiership Rugby since September.
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) January 1, 2017
Gloucester had the lead when Burns kicked his first penalty of the day after Saints were penalised for not rolling away from the ruck.
The home side’s defence was then tested but they limited the visitors to a single shot at goal which Myler saw his effort drift wide of the target.
With both sides struggling to find a creative spark, Billy Twelvetrees’ cross-field kick was taken well by George North but he was tackled by Halaifonua to earn the hosts a five metre scrum.
A penalty from the resulting scrum gave Burns a chance to double the lead on the half hour mark and he duly obliged and his third penalty made it 9-0 at the break.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) January 1, 2017
A rejuvenated Saints were on the scoreboard within seven minutes of the restart as Gloucester were penalised for a ruck infringement and Myler reduced the arrears to six.
Ben Morgan then forced his way over the try line in a mass of bodies but TMO Graham Hughes’ decision was that no try had been scored.
A penalty from the resulting scrum gave Burns the chance to restore the nine point lead but he hooked his penalty wide of the posts.
And Saints made them pay for that miss with a Myler – whose cross field kick had been won by North to earn them field position – kicked his second penalty just before the hour mark.
But Burns cancelled out that effort with his fourth successful penalty of the afternoon to give his side their first points of the second half with 63 minutes played.
The game turned when Gloucester winger Halaifonua knocked the ball on with the Saints attempting to utilise a major overlap and referee Matt Carley produced a yellow card.
With the help of the TMO, Carley awarded the visitors a penalty try which was converted by Myler to give Saints the lead for the first time in the match which they held to the final whistle.
FULL TIME Gloucester 12 Saints 13!!
HUUUUUGE win for the Saints to start the New Year with!!
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) January 1, 2017