Owen Farrell held his nerve from the tee at Kingsholm but Saracens owe much to a fine defensive performance as they saw off an impressive Gloucester Rugby.
Mike Ellery’s third Aviva Premiership Rugby try of the season and a Charlie Hodgson penalty put Sarries in the ascendancy early on before Gloucester grew into the game.
Farrell took over kicking duties from Hodgson and slotted a penalty before the first half ended, while Billy Twelvetrees had slotted two of his own.
The Gloucester centre kept chipping away from the tee however and had his team in front on the hour, but Farrell kept his cool and kicked a further two penalties to Twelvetrees’ one to seal the game late on.
And Saracens have the likes of Will Fraser and George Kruis to thank as their all-action efforts prevented Gloucester from sniffing out the whitewash.
This fixture last season could not have been any more dramatic, as James Hook’s last-gasp penalty secured the win for Gloucester.
But there was more intensity than intrigue in the opening stanza – the hosts enjoying much of the possession and not getting the points to show for it.
Twelvetrees, who booted 29 points off the tee against Newcastle Falcons last Friday, did have an early penalty chance but he miscued horribly after catching the turf.
And in the 14th minute, Sarries’ first real chance turned out to be a points-scoring one – Richard Wigglesworth’s quick distribution following a line-out the key, before a lurking Ellery piled over in the left corner.
Charlie Hodgson was off-target with the conversion and Gloucester responded well, though with Sione Kalamafoni in on the charge Jackson Wray ripped the ball away.
Nick Tompkins was throwing his weight around with ball in hand for Sarries at the other end and under pressure, Gloucester conceded a penalty which Hodgson made no mistake firing over.
The Cherry & Whites were pounding on the door in the 25th minute with a rolling maul and though Saracens repelled that effort, the hosts won a scrum against the head. Twelvetrees promptly got Gloucester off the mark with the penalty.
England No.8 Ben Morgan then came alive with a bullocking run and Twelvetrees had clearly sorted out his kicking radar with a sublime penalty after Chris Ashton failed to roll away.
With the final action of the half however Farrell stretched Sarries’ lead back to five with his own fine effort.
It continued tit-for-tat in the second half and the back-rowers were quite literally stealing the show, with fine work at the breakdown resulting in Fraser and Matt Kvesic turnovers.
And Gloucester should have been over the whitewash in the 50th minute, but Twelvetrees chose to carry into the tackle with Jonny May in space on the wing.
Twelvetrees was still proving effective with the boot, bringing Gloucester to within two after Saracens killed the ball a metre out.
The away side continued to look threatening in spells, Ellery and Tompkins in particular, though it was Twelvetrees who completed another penalty on the hour to edge Gloucester in front for the first time.
The game could not have been more finely poised and Farrell put Saracens on charge again in the 67th minute, nailing a penalty from 40 metres after an infringement in the line-out.
But anything Farrell could do, Twelvetrees could do just as well as his long-distance penalty with five minutes remaining sneaked over the bar.
Some more brilliant breakdown work from Fraser almost immediately from the restart though presented Farrell with another chance and the England fly-half maintained his cool.
Saracens were spot on with their discipline in the dying embers, and Al Hargreaves stole the ball away to all but settle a fascinating clash.
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