Lewis Ludlow’s late attempt ultimately proved pivotal, as Gloucester scored a first victory at Saracens since 2008 to signal his playoff momentum. Ludlow left with eight minutes remaining and although Alex Lewington’s score in the left corner gave Alex Lozowski a chance to win the match for the Saracens with the conversion, he pushed him out and Gloucester saw the final minutes for seal the victory. It was a tough kick, but Lozowski will regret hitting the post with an easy conversion minutes early.
That said, the victory was nothing less than what Gloucester deserved. Ruan Ackermann and Jordy Reid shone at the rear but had notable performances across the field. A lot of teams have come here, did a decent shift for half an hour or so and fell apart, but Gloucester was resolved to the last and they were worthy winners. The Saracens outpointed their opponents four attempts to three (they can console themselves by racking up two bonus points), but this is considered their first league win of the season at home and ensures they sign for Europe on a sour note. Take nothing away from Gloucester, however, who have moved past last weekend’s narrow loss to the Harlequins and consolidated their position in fourth place.
The Saracens took a slight lead at the half-time break after a first half that took a while to warm up, but soon warmed up to a simmer. Both sides got into the shed with two attempts each; Gloucester is arguably the happier of the two sides after having to endure two yellow cards for Santiago Carreras and Ludlow.
The visitors had scored the opening try with 15 players on the court, achieving where Northampton missed last weekend by boldly kicking two early penalties to the corner, the second conceding an easy try to prop Fraser Balmain. Adam Hastings failed to convert, however, and Carreras was soon in the basket of sin for a deliberate hit. Alex Goode kicked the penalty to the corner and after Ludlow illegally brought down the maul, Dom Morris moved towards Saracens after a good mannequin. Ludlow received his marching orders, but Gloucester nearly held on until Rotimi Segundo danced his way through after another Saracen mallet was repelled.
You already wondered if the writing was on the wall for Gloucester, but from kickoff, Carreras, who had just returned to the field, pulled the restart back, allowing Reid to sweep down the right. At first glance, his pass to Jack Singleton, another impressive performer, looked forward, but after a brief check with the TMO, referee Karl Dickson conceded the try to the former Saracen hooker. Gloucester was optimistic at this stage and another penalty was taken to the corner, resulting in a yellow card for Mako Vunipola for illegally infringing the maul. A Ben Earl fumble ensured the Saracens went ahead at half-time, but the hosts received a fair warning from a resilient Gloucester.
Indeed, Gloucester went ahead with a Hastings penalty in the 52nd minute, but Saracens’ response was emphatic. Within seconds of arriving, Theo McFarland attacked Charlie Chapman’s box shot and the rebound favored the Saracens’ replacement, who came close. However, Lozowski hit the vertical with an easy conversion and it ultimately proved costly as Ludlow had the last word with eight minutes to go. Hastings converted and another late penalty was decisive as, although the Saracens struck back with a good try at Lewington’s left corner, Lozowski was unable to convert from the touchline, ensuring Gloucester held on for a resounding victory.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism