Gloucester Rugby left it late but Billy Twelvetrees’ last-gasp penalty finally kickstarted their Aviva Premiership campaign as they tasted victory for the first time this season against Northampton Saints.
Heading to Gloucester, Saints had won their previous two games and held a narrow two-point lead at half-time as Ben Foden’s try and the boot of Stephen Myler edged the visitors in front, with Gloucester scoring a try themselves through Charlie Sharples.
The hosts burst into life straight after the restart as Twelvetrees went over only for Northampton to go back into the lead as Samu Manoa clawed his way across the tryline.
The Cherry & Whites retook the lead as Elliott Stooke celebrated a first Aviva Premiership start with a try, only for Jamie Elliott to go over after magnificent work from George North with just a minute left on the clock, Myler’s conversion giving the visitors a one-point lead.
However Northampton couldn’t hold on and with time up Gloucester earned a penalty at the scrum and with Freddie Burns having already gone off Twelvetrees held his nerve as the Cherry & Whites avoided their worst ever start to an Aviva Premiership campaign.
The Saints arrived at Kingsholm buoyed by wins over Exeter Chiefs and Harlequins and made a fast start to this game as full-back Foden scored his first try of the season after just five minutes.
Luther Burrell started the move as he broke through and although Gloucester got men behind the ball Myler found Foden with a delightful flicked pass and the England man side-stepped a challenge to score.
Myler added the extras as Saints burst into an early 7-0 lead but this woke the home side up and after some constant pressure Burns kicked a penalty to get his side on the scoreboard.
The Gloucester fly-half then sent another three-pointer wide but he almost made up for it as his grubber kick looked to have sent Henry Trinder over, only for the centre to fumble the ball as he dived over the tryline.
Northampton’s Sam Dickinson was then sent to the bin on 20 minutes for tackling James Simpson-Daniel in the air but Gloucester couldn’t quite capitalise on their man advantage, Sione Kalamafoni’s poor pass missing the opportunity to send Simpson-Daniel over in the corner.
In fact the only score while Dickinson was in the bin came from the visitors as Myler stretched Northamtpon’s lead with a penalty after Twelvetrees was pinged for not releasing.
However with half-time looming Gloucester got themselves back into the game as a flowing move from left to right saw Cook put Sharples in at the corner, Burns missing the conversion for the home side to trail 10-8 at the break.
And Gloucester burst into life after the restart as just two minutes in a quick penalty by Kiwi scrum-half Jimmy Cowan saw Twelvetrees score, Burns adding the extras as the hosts led for the first time in the game.
Bit it didn’t last long as Manoa scored three minutes later, bargin over at the bottom of a Northampton ruck, Myler converting.
Gloucester had Sharples to thank for keeping them in the game on 50m as he tackled North into touch as the Welshman looked like grabbing a try.
Burns then kicked Gloucester back into the lead on 55m with a penalty, but was found wanting with his next two attempts at the posts as he send another three-pointer and a drop goal wide.
But it didn’t look like it would matter as lock Stooke bundled over for a first Aviva Premiership try, owing much to the nimble feet of Simpson-Daniel.
However it looked like being in vain as with just a minute left North side stepped a number of challenge on the left wing before Elliott was sent clear to touch down under the posts, Myler’s conversion giving Saints a one-point lead.
But there was more excitement to come as with 83 minutes on the clock Northampton were penalised at a scrum and centre Twelvetrees held his nerve to send the kick sailing through the uprights for Gloucester’s first win of the season.