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Match Report: Northampton Saints 22 Gloucester Rugby 19

06 Jan 2018
Match Report: Northampton Saints 22 Gloucester Rugby 19

A last-minute penalty try saw Northampton Saints snap their seven-game losing run in Aviva Premiership Rugby and claim a dramatic win over Gloucester Rugby.

It had been three months of misery for all at Franklin’s Gardens but Alan Gaffney’s arrival as interim head coach has finally halted their poor run.

A late rolling maul was heading inexorably towards the Cherry & Whites line and when referee Ian Tempest, in consultation with his TMO, spotted Andy Symons dragging it down, he went under the posts for the penalty try and sent Franklin’s Gardens into delirium.

The Saints had started the game with real bite and when Ken Pisi went over in the right corner as the hosts exploited an overlap, the omens were good.

But not for nothing are Gloucester impressing this season and first a rolling maul earned a penalty try before James Hanson went over from close range to turn the game on its head.

At half time the visitors were leading 14-8, a Harry Mallinder penalty trimming the lead for the hosts.

After the break it was Gloucester who struck again for their third try, John Afoa going over after collecting a sumptuous Owen Williams offload.

But the Welshman missed the extras and a kickable penalty in the second half to keep Saints interested.

And when Nic Groom sniped his way over from close range after Pisi collected a re-start, Saints were back in it.

Mallinder’s extras made it only 19-15 to the visitors, who last won at Franklin’s Gardens back in 2013.

The final quarter was end to end, filled with turnovers and knock ons as both sides chased victory.

But when Mallinder kicked a penalty to the corner in the final minute, the rolling maul got to work and though it looked like Mikey Haywood had grounded the ball short of the line, referee Tempest gave a penalty try and Saints were back to winning ways at long last.