Back to List Next PageNorthampton almost out of sight by half-time

Gloucester pay the penalty as Saints pack the punches Northampton 30 Gloucester 17

GLOUCESTER CARRIED ON from where they left off last week in the second half against Leeds, by conceding another raft of penalties at the start of the fixture at Franklinís Gardens against Northampton.
    This week they fell foul of referee Robin Goodlife who set the tone with six penalties awarded in the first six minutes, and frustratingly for the Gloucester team, most of them in favour of the home side.
    Consequently this proved to be meat and drink for fly half Shane Drahm who underlined his position as the leading points scorer in the Zurich Premiership by kicking two early penalties as Gloucester struggled to get their hands on the ball with little possession or territory.
    Pinned in their own half another Northampton penalty saw the home side set up a catch and drive from a line out for prop forward Chris Budgen to score near the corner flag. Drahm converted and landed further kicks to put the Saints firmly in control at 19-0 after just 25 minutes.
    Within five minutes Gloucester had lost Andy Hazell to the sin-bin, yellow carded for a late tackle on Shane Drahm.. Winger Bruce Reihana took over the kicking duties and he in turn added another penalty from wide out.

    Andy Blowers one of Saintsí Southern Hemisphere contingent tackled like a man possessed and won turn over ball inside their own half. Full back Nick Beale came into the line at pace on the short side before passing to John Sleightholme who ran in a good try in the corner to take the score to 27 - 0.
    Northampton were almost out of sight as the interval approached when the playerís frustration boiled over with a mass brawl involving the two packs and joined by replacements from the Saintsí bench. When the mayhem eventually subsided Adam Eustace received a yellow card and Saintsí New Zealand scrum half Mark Robinson got a red card for taking the trouble to run twenty yards join the punch up from which Duncan MacRae emerged with his head bandaged.
    Gloucester did provide some spirited opposition after the break but struggled to break down a dogged Northampton defence, who although one short, were able to contain Gloucesterís attacks until they began to tire as the numbers began to count.
    The Cherry and Whites tried to move the ball out wide at every opportunity but for all their cut-out passes and run around miss moves in the centre, rarely looked like creating enough space or any overlaps to prise open the well organised home defence.
    Towards the end Gloucesterís pack began to take control with the benefit of the extra man. Andy Hazell scored near the corner flag for Henry Paul to convert.
    James Simpson-Daniel got over in the same corner but was this week was again denied a try. Letís hope it doesnít become a habit.
    Jamie Forrester came off the bench in the final quarter and as usual had that magic touch that scores tries. This time a brace of tries but this time not from running with ball in hand but driving over from tight exchanges. Henry was off-target with his attempted conversions before Reihana added a final penalty to give Saints a deserved win.
    A not altogether surprising defeat at Northampton for the Cherry and Whites but the manner in which penalties were accumulated must be of concern to the coaching staff. No one will need reminding that it the side that is a four letter word at Kingsholm next week and a bigger and better effort will be required.


Northampton13 Gloucester 16