Cherry and Whites' five try bonus
Inspired Gloucester earn win
Gloucester 29 Northampton 24
Saturday, 7 October, 2017. 1500hrs
What a difference a week makes.
When the Cherry and Whites took the field against Aviva Premiership league leaders Northampton there was more than a little aprehension in the Kingsholm crowd following the 57 point drubbing they had received the previous week at the hands of Sale, which was not helped by the announcement that key forward Ed Slater had pulled out just before kick-off and looks set to join the lengthy injury list. Saints too had suffered a fifty points hammering but that was at the hands of Saracens in the opening match of the season.
This week after eighty nerve wracking minutes, Gloucester eventually took the spoils from a match that was so closely contested from start to finish as the lead changed hands six times. Kingsholm erupted with relief and wild jubilant celebrations on and off the field at the end of an utterly enthralling encounter over Saints .
It was a gripping game throughout as Henry Trinder got the first of his two first-half tries from a move that began on halfway and involved Heinz and Twelvetrees. The centre’s pass to found Trinder who broke clear before he was half-tackled 10 metres out but he kept going to dive over.
The visitors went agonisingly close when scrum half Cobus Reinach broke away to sprint upfield but his kick ahead eluded George North thanks to Owen Williams intervention but the Saints were soon in front from a sweeping backs' move which put flanker Jamie Gibson over in the corner as Harry Mallinder added the extras from wide out. 5-7.
However it was the outstanding Trinder who scored again to put the hosts back in the lead with another unconverted try in the corner. Half-time 10-7.
After the break it was more of the same, end to end play as Mallinder fiished off a Northampton drive with a try which he converted to put them back in front.10-14.
Gloucester hit back with some smart play as Willi Heinz spotted space out wide and his superb cross kick was spot on for Jason Woodward to leap and gather for a sharp try in the corner but again Owen Williams was off target with his conversion attempt. 15-14.
The game swung back Saints' way with a penalty from Mallinder but Gloucester mounted a period of pressure on the visitors' line before Billy Twelvetrees scored under the posts. This time Williams made no mistake with the conversion. 22-17.
When Heinz took advantage of poor cover tackling he managed to break away from a scrum for a fine individual try the conversion meant Gloucester had scored 12 points in quick time to put them in front 29-17.
Not surprisingly, never say die Saints hit back in the final ten minutes as replacement hooker Mikey Haywood was driven over from a line out to narrow the gap to a single try. 29-24.
More Northampton pressure put the hosts line back under the cosh again and memories of too many losses in the final minutes came flooding back as the Cherry and Whites were forced to dig deep but referee Wayne Barnes had the last word when he penalised the Saints line-out on the Gloucester line and victory was secured - if only just.
We all breathed again. Gloucester rugby should carry a Government health warning after such damaging emotions - if only we could cut out the mistakes and achieve some real consistency.There is still much to be done!
More from Mike
The relief and frustration on the faces of both the opposing players and fans faces at the end of the game said it all.
15. Jason Woodward;
14. Henry Purdy , 13.Billy Twelvetrees , 12. Henry Trinder ,11 David Halafonua ;
10. Owen Williams , 9. Willi Heinz (capt);
1.Val Rapava Ruskin ,2.Richard Hibbard , 3. John Afoa ; 4.Tom Savage ; 5.Jeremy Thrush ,
6. Lewis Ludlow , 7.Jacob Rowan, 8. Ruan Ackermann,
16. Motu Matu'u, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Gareth Denman, 19.Jake Polledri, 20. Freddie Clarke,
21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Billy Burns, 23. Tom Hudson
Unavailable for Selection
Mark Atkinson, Fraser Balmain, Tom Denton, Gareth Evans, Lloyd Evans, Mariano Galarza, Tom Marshall, Ben Morgan, Ross Moriarty, Matt Scott, Charlie Sharples, Andy Symons, Ollie Thorley
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Tries:Trinder (2), Twelvetrees, Woodward, Heinz
Con: Williams (2)
GLOUCESTER Matches - Match Reports - 2001-2017
GLOUCESTER Matches - Kingsholm Premiership Record
GLOUCESTER Matches - Kingsholm Premiership Attendances
GLOUCESTER Matches - Premiership Record v Northampton