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Saracens 28 Gloucester Rugby 21 Saracens 28 Gloucester Rugby 21

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Saracens 28 Gloucester Rugby 21

Charlie Hodgson registered his 500th Aviva Premiership Rugby point for Saracens as they got back to winning ways at the expense of Gloucester Rugby.

Scores from Chris Wyles, Alistair Hargreaves and Chris Ashton secured the win for the home side who recovered from defeat away to Bath last Friday night.

In a physical encounter Gloucester, who beat Leicester Tigers 33-16 at home last week, defended admirably for large parts of the match.

And tries from full-back Rob Cook in the first half and Tom Savage in the dying seconds were enough to earn the Cherry & Whites a losing bonus point.

Gloucester started brightly and with great intensity, forcing two kickable penalties within the first five minutes which Scottish scrum-half Greig Laidlaw duly sent through the uprights for an early 6-0 lead.

Hodgson, who came into the game on 499 league points for Sarries, then added the hosts’ first points of the match, the fly-half settling for three when his side were unable to penetrate the Cherry & White defence from two previous penalties.

But Gloucester extended their lead on the 20-minute mark, England centre Billy Twelvetrees slinging a wide pass to Cook who exploited the overlap on the left wing expertly to touch down – Laidlaw added the extras to take the visitors into a ten-point lead.

Gloucester were then caught resting on their laurels however, as American international Wyles intercepted in midfield and ran in under the posts to dot down, Hodgson adding two to tighten the gap.

Saracens upped the intensity after Wyles’ score and quick phase play brought the overlap, with captain Hargreaves finishing a fine move down the right, a missed conversion followed but the home side led for the first time.

Saracens took this two-point advantage into half time after an even and exciting first half, leading 15-13 at the break.

Hodgson broke the early second-half deadlock, stroking over a simple penalty from 35 metres out which took the score to 18-13 in favour of Saracens.

Laidlaw then added an easy three from the tee for Gloucester, reducing the deficit back down to two.

With Saracens trying to protect their formidable record at Allianz Park and Gloucester looking for their third successive victory in the league the match took on a nervy edge, Cherry & White prop Nick Wood was sent to the bin as Saracens looked to force home their slender advantage.

And the home side made their one man advantage pay, drawing in the rushing Gloucester defence and then striking with Hargreaves bursting the midfield to feed Ashton who hit the ball at pace and finished between the sticks for his 50th Aviva Premiership Rugby try.

With a Hodgson conversion Saracens now had a 25-16 lead but were still seeking that all-important fourth try for the bonus point, however, they were unable to find it as Hodgson knocked over a penalty to take them into a twelve point lead.

And Gloucester secured a solitary bonus point with the clock dead, Savage breaking the line and scoring, but James Hook could not add the conversion.

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