A try in each half for Jonny May was enough to secure Gloucester Rugby a rare away win as they stunned Northampton Saints 27-11 at Franklin’s Gardens.
Having lost at home to London Irish in their last Aviva Premiership game a month ago, the result comes as a huge boost for the Cherry & Whites, who moved ahead of the Saints and temporarily into the top four.
Northampton took an early lead when Stephen Myler slotted a fourth-minute penalty after the Gloucester scrum had been penalised.
However the Cherry & Whites hit back almost immediately, Rob Cook making no mistake from the kicking tee to even the scores.
And Cook was on target again four minutes later to give the visitors the lead as Gloucester sought a first away win in the league since September.
The visitors looked to have settled the quicker, and they produced a moment of magic to score the first try of the game.
Mike Tindall’s dummy run in midfield created the space for May, who showed some great footwork to skip away from George Pisi and sprint over for the game’s opening try. Cook missed the conversion but the visitors led 11-3.
Northampton were under huge amounts of pressure, but their scrum was in control, and earned Myler the opportunity to add another three points, and having previously missed a shot at goal, he made no mistake this time to bring the score back to 11-6.
Cook was showing the kicking form that had made him such an important weapon for Cornish Pirates last season, and two more penalties from him increased the lead to 17-6 with half-time fast approaching.
The full-back then went on a searing break down the left touchline as Gloucester poured forward, GJ Van Velze eventually being sent to the bin for killing the move.
However the Saints did have the consolation of holding out just before the break when Gloucester had a series of scrums five metres out.
The respite lasted only as long as the half-time interval though, with May going over for his second score a minute later.
Northampton showed ambition in midfield but a mix-up between Pisi and James Wilson allowed May to collect the ball on halfway, and from there no one was going to get back to stop him. Cook’s conversion made it 24-6.
May then turned from hero to villain as Gloucester came under huge pressure from the Saints and the winger was penalised for coming in at the side and received ten minutes in the bin.
Northampton needed to score with their extra man but they blew an opportunity when Soane Tonga’uiha knocked on as he drove over the line.
They did finally manage to get over the line with 52 minutes on the clock, Phil Dowson on hand to dive over as the Gloucester defence was stretched.
Even with that score, Saints didn’t help themselves, Samu Manoa being sent to the sin bin for a punch after the try was scored, and Myler’s conversion effort going horribly wide.
Despite that, the home side were in the ascendancy and restored to their full complement, and they looked certain to score but after a series of drives at the Gloucester line, Mark Sorenson was isolated and the visitors earned a penalty.
Gloucester continued to manage the game well, and after a period of possession in Saints territory, an infringement at the breakdown allowed Cook to stretch the lead with three more points.