Spirited Cherry and Whites
Hook snatches last-gasp win
Gloucester 24 Saracens 23
Friday, January 9 2015 - 1945 hrs

With Gloucester trailing by just two points at 21-23, the clock had wound down and the wind blowing a gale James Hook lined up an optimistic penalty from just inside his own half. The deathly silence gave way to tumultuous applause as the ball sailed between the posts to give the Cherry and Whites a deserved last-gasp victory in an enthralling encounter from a roller coaster of a rugby match with high flying Saracens.
However the eventful night’s win, with five tries, four yellow cards and two serious looking injuries, came with a cost as the home side lost both Ben Morgan and Nick Wood who were each stretchered off in an hour long second half.
Saracens were hot favourites but were disappointing on the night basing their limited efforts on their pack and a strong rolling maul which, just as in previous matches this season, was once again too much for the hosts’ defence. Despite their strong organised defence on this display Saracens' style of rugby did not impress as much as either Wasps or Bath have done at Kingsholm this season.
The visitors game plan was soon evident when Alex Goode, in for Owen Farrell, declined kickable penalties to kick to the corner and when after a succession of penalties a driving maul was brought down on the line referee J.P.Doyle awarded a penalty try
With Greig Laidlaw absent through illness the kicking duties were taken over by James Hook who kicked a couple of penalties and hit the post as Gloucester came more into the game before Goode slotted two kicks.
Twelvetrees messed up a chance to set Jonny May free before an inspired virtuoso try from late replacement Wasps bound Dan Robson who beat the visitor’s defence with a kick ahead to score in the corner so despite no shortage of effort from Gloucester they were 13-11 behind at the break although the visitors had lost David Strettle to the sin-bin.
However the hosts also had Tom Savage yellow-carded after the break and again the driving maul was used by Saracens to good effect for Billy Vunipola to go over for their second try but the increasing wind was too strong for Goode’s attempted conversion. 11-18.
Gloucester immediately responded with pressure on the Saracens but Ben Morgan sustained a leg injury close to the line and after a lengthy delay for treatment was stretchered off the field.
Hook added a penalty before Jonny May broke out from deep in Gloucester territory for replacement Gareth Evans on in place of Morgan, burst through the Saracens’ mid-field to off-load to replacement scrum half Callum Braley to race clear for a terrific length of the field converted team try on the hour to snatch the lead.

The visitor's George Kruis was sin binned for a dangerous tackle but sadly the hosts were hit with another serious looking injury as Nick Wood also left on a stretcher before Jonny May became the fourth player to be sent to the bin and Saracens made the extra man count when a series of driving mauls to the Gloucester line ended with a try for prop Mako Vunipola to stretch over and score with ten minutes remaining. 21-23.
Spirited Gloucester then mounted a sustained period of pressure on Saracens but referee J.P.Doyle declined to award any penalties before a drop goal attempt from Hook went well wide and some spectators started to leave thinking the game was all over.
Saracens believed they had secured the win when winger Chris Ashton went over after a kick ahead but was clearly offside, being in front of the kicker, a decision upheld by the TMO.
The referee took play back to close to the half-way line for the Gloucester penalty with just seconds remaining. Talk about a pressure kick but Hook was equal to the task and made no mistake as he duly slotted the penalty with his best kick of the evening.
Kingsholm went wild with the Cherry and Whites’ first Premiership win at home since beating Leicester back in October.
The start of this New Year has gone better than the start of this season.
Let's hope it continues.

T.H. 10/1/2015 - More Photos v Saracens

Pricey's Postscript
So the game was decided on the last kick given for the first offside called in the game. And before I go any further I think that Sarries DoR, Mark McCall was talking nonsense when he said that the ref should have awarded a scrum for a knock on which occurred before the kick and subsequent offside happened. Sarries were given advantage for the knock-on which they kicked. End of advantage – simple
Gloucester had the large rump of possession so they must be doing something right in the tactics department but they do need to improve on the basic drills at drop out, line-out and ruck/maul. I believe that Saracens were far more accurate and effective in those areas.
Beside that criticism I thought Gloucester played well and on balance deserved the win, which I would say anyway!
I was impressed with Callum Braley when he came on with quick and accurate passing and Charlie Sharples had a much better game at full back.

J.G.P. 10/1/2014
More from Mike
Well that Christmas present of Rose Tinted Glasses paid off again. What a fantastic game of rugby from Gloucester, who thoroughly deserved to win.
A real team effort saw the Cherry & Whites home, despite,the attempts of Sarries to spoil the game with their maul dominated game, continual cheating (offfside how many times!!!), 
Mr J P Doyle's attempts to gift them the game and the loss of Woody & Morgan with serious injuries. These games are the ones that have to be won and Glos played some of the best rugby seen at Kingsholm this season if not for several seasons, and deserved to run out winners. A big squad effort, especially after losing Palmer and Laidlaw before the game then to lose Woody and Morgan in the game, this meant the replacements had to step up to the plate and step up they did. Stooke proved what a great player he's going to be, Wasps bound Robson produced another sublime try, Evans showed he will be an ample replacement for the injured Morgan and Callum Braley showed he is going to be some scrum half in the future.
Finally the Kingsholm crowd gave their all in raising the roof when Braley crossed for his try and celebrating that fantastic last seconds penalty from James Hook.The good times are on their way back to Kingsholm and the faithful are going to be rewarded.
Oh am I dreaming again or is it those Rose Tinted Glasses?I think not, this was the Cherry & Whites proving they can compete with and beat the top teams, there is still a long way to go but the signs are looking good.

Mik
e

Gloucester
Charlie Sharples;
David Halaifonua, Mark Atkinson, Billy Twelvetrees (capt), Jonny May;
James Hook,
Dan Robson ;
Nick Wood, Darren Dawidiuk, John Afoa;
Tom Savage, Tom Palmer;
Sione Kalamafoni, Matt Kvesic, Ben Morgan

Replacements
Richard Hibbard, Yann Thomas, Shaun Knight, Elliott Stooke, Gareth Evans,
Callum Braley, Billy Burns, Bill Meakes

Tries: Robson, Braley

Con: Hook
Pen: Hook (4)


Half-Time:
11-13

Referee - J.P.Doyle

Attendance - 12,500

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