In another breath-taking affair at the Gardens, Saints took a narrow three-point victory after replacement scrum-half Tom Kessell scored a try on 70 minutes to push the home side ahead in the closing minutes of the game.
After sending Jacob Rowan and Charlie Sharples over the line, Gloucester pushed Saints all the way and got close to the tryline again at the close before the winning try-scorer Kessell secured a turnover and the victory for his side.
Gloucester came out of the changing rooms firing on all cylinders and Jonny May does what he does best to get the cherry and whites within ten metres of a score from the off but Saints recovered possession and Gloucester’s first chance was lost.
The away side continued to push and a blistering run from George North nearly got Saints off the mark in style but the referee Tom Foley called having deemed the offload to North from Harry Mallinder to have gone forward.
Saints did not have to wait long before the score came, however, and a break from Ben Foden in the Gloucester 22 set up man-of-the-match Louis Picamoles for the Saints’ first score.
After much deliberation from the television match official, Foley decided that Picamoles had not committed a double movement and awarded the try. Myler sent the conversion through to earn his 1500th Aviva Premiership point.
Myler added to that total moments later when he sent a penalty through, his opposite Greig Laidlaw sent a penalty of his own through the uprights to get his side off the mark and Myler returned Laidlaw’s efforts to send the game into half-time with the Saints ten to the good.
After forcing the home side’s hands, it was Gloucester that got the scoring started in the second 40. Rowan went over after a swift move from the cherry and whites and a touchline conversion from Laidlaw reduced the deficit to just three.
Myler doubled the Saints’ lead with another penalty but Gloucester returned the favour and another Laidlaw kick closed the gap to three points once again.
Gloucester’s will to attack intensified and a whole team effort saw Sharples over in the corner and pushed Gloucester into the lead for the first time in the game. Laidlaw converted to send the cherry and whites four points ahead.
The home side pushed on and after a lot of hard work from the forwards Saints found themselves with an attacking line out ten metres from Gloucester’s tryline. Huge pressure from Saints ensued and eventually Kessell saw a gap in the away side’s defence to slip through and stretch to the line putting his side back in front.
Gloucester were not done with the game and mounted a huge attack on the men in black, green and gold getting deep within Saints’ 22. But as it was Kessell that got Saints back in front, it was Kessell that got over the ball to earn Saints a penalty. The ball was sent straight into the stands to end to game and seal the much-needed win for the home team.
SAINTS Foden; Wilson, Pisi, Mallinder, North; Myler, Dickson; A Waller, Haywood, Brookes, Paterson, Day, Wood, Clark, Picamoles
Subs – Hartely, E Waller, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Gibson, Kessell, Hutchinson, Tuala
GLOUCESTER Hook; Sharples, Scott, Atkinson, May; Twelvetrees, Laidlaw; McAllister, Hibbard, Afoa, Savage, Galarza, Moriarty, Rowan, Morgan
Subs – Matu’u, Orr, Ma’afu, Latta, Kvesic, Heinz, Burns, Purdy
8mins GLOUCESTER Missed Pen Laidlaw 0-0
14mins GLOUCESTER Missed Pen Laidlaw 0-0
26mins SAINTS Try Picamoles Con Myler 7-0
29mins SAINTS Pen Myler 10-0
34mins GLOUCESTER Pen Laidlaw 10-3
36mins SAINTS Pen Myler 13-3
HALF-TIME Saints 13 Glocuester 3
46mins GLOUCESTER Try Rowan Con Laidlaw 13-10
52mins SAINTS Pen Myler 16-10
54mins GLOUCESTER Pen Laidlaw 16-13
58mins GLOUCESTER Try Sharples Con Laidlaw 16-20
69mins SAINTS Try Kessell Con Myler 23-20
FULL TIME Saints 23 Gloucester 20