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Glorious Gloucester slight Saracens

03 Jan 2009
Glorious Gloucester slight Saracens

Gloucester did the GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP double over Saracens at Kingsholm as Olly Barkley landed five penalties on a bitterly cold day to secure victory.

Gloucester had beaten Saracens 25-21 at Vicarage Road on November 16 and made it five wins out of six league games this time out.

There was some doubt whether the match would go on at all. Kingsholm had been covered right through the Christmas and New Year period but still there were hard patches around the ground before the start.

The first half claimed a couple of casualties with England internationals Andy Farrell, for Saracens, and Lesley Vainikolo both coming off injured, former rugby league wing Vainikolo being stretchered off with a painful leg injury.

Saracens went into the break 16-13 ahead after being 10-3 down midway through the period.

England centre Barkley opened the scoring with a penalty only for Saracens fly-half Glen Jackson, who was to enjoy an excellent 40 minutes, to retaliate with his own shot at goal.

Young Gloucester scrum-half Dave Lewis was a livewire in the initial stages but it was a two-man combination that set-up the home team’s opening try as the ball was swung to the left for centre Mike Tindall to race down the touchline.

He passed out to Vainikolo and he was able to get the ball away to full-back Olly Morgan for his sixth try of the season just as wing Kameli Ratuvou brought the England winger down. Barkley ploughed over the conversion and it was all going to plan for the Cherry and Whites.

Saracens, though, began to get their act together and put pressure on their opponents’ line. Jackson pulled them back to within four points with a second penalty before a terrific piece of ingenuity caught Gloucester cold.

It looked like Jackson was going to try for goal when his side were awarded a penalty 40 metres out but the New Zealand-born stand-off kicked to the touchline for wing Richard Haughton to catch and go in unopposed under the sticks.

His conversion put the Londoners into a three-point lead and that was how they stayed after another penalty each from the respective kickers.

Another Barkley penalty levelled matters at 16-16 before the ex-Bath man putting his side ahead on 63 minutes with a 40-metre penalty after a period of stalemate between the teams.

Gloucester had much the better of the second period and again Barkley’s boot was accurate from 40 metres on 68 minutes.

Saracen not help themselves either when replacement Andy Saull was sin-binned, giving his side an uphill task in the last 10 minutes.

The only serious try-scoring opportunity of the half came with two minutes to go when home number eight Luke Narraway knocked a pass on with the line at his mercy.

But the Cherry and Whites had done enough, although Sarries had the consolation of a losing bonus point for their troubles.

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