GLOUCESTER 50-5 SAINTS
Gloucester came with an unchanged team from that which had won Group B at Kingsholm, and their cohesion in the shortened format told throughout what turned out to be a tough 14 minutes for Sam Olver’s team.
It was not for the want of trying from the Saints, but the Cherry and Whites were simply too good. Aside from a pair of breaks from Josh Skelcey and Sam Olver that bookended there was precious little for the Northampton travellers to cheer.
Gloucester, on the other hand, controlled the ball, and thereby the territory, and got their rewards with tries for Bill Meakes (2), Dan Thomas and Rhodri McAtee.
However they started the second half a player down following Steph Reynolds’ yellow card, and Saints made the extra man count quickly. Half-time replacement Matt Goode had an immediate impact with a neat offload to fellow substitute Will Allman for the score.
But when they returned to full strength Gloucester got back to the scoring habit, and with further tries from Henry Purdy, Ben Vellacott (2) and Lloyd Evans the west country outfit sealed the win and a place in the Cup quarter finals, with Saints heading into the Plate and an East Midlands derby against Leicester.
GLOUCESTER Rowan (capt), Meakes, McAtee, Reynolds, Thomas, Braley, Purdy
SAINTS Skelcey, Dickson, Cardall, Hutchinson, Harrison, Olver (capt), Packman
GLOUCESTER Tries - Meakes (2), Thomas, McAtee, Purdy, Vellacott (2), Evans; Cons - Braley (3), Evans, Vellacott
SAINTS Tries - Allman
LEICESTER 21-12 SAINTS
In contrast to the balmy quarter final conditions, the Plate semi-final kicked off in a torrential downpour. And when the opening exchanges featured a number of penalties awarded to the Tigers it looked like the Saints’ early hopes would be washed away.
But they were first on the score board, Scotland Under-20 international Rory Hutchinson powering over in the corner. This prompted a good period of pressure inside the Leicester 22, and although the Tigers had the ball the green and gold defence stayed firm, forcing a turnover and a try for Teimana Harrison.
Hutchinson landed the conversion, but if Saints were thinking things were easy they were given a sharp reminder when Oli Byrant burst through a tackle and took off to the try line in the last play of the first half.
Andy Bulumakau followed suit in the opening minute of the second half - despite Matt Goode’s despairing attempted tackle - and Phil Woodhead’s conversion gave Leicester the lead for the first time.
Bulumakau continued to be a dangerous figure, setting up the score for Dan Rundle which sealed the win for Leicester.
Owen, Dipple, Tressider (capt), Fowles, Bulumakau, Williams, Byrant
SAINTS Cox, Dickson, Hutchinson, Harrison, Olver (c), Packman, Goode
LEICESTER Tries - Byrant, Bulumakau, Rundle; Cons - Byrant, Woodhead (2)
SAINTS Tries - Hutchinson, Harrison; Con - Hutchinson