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Gloucester 19-13 Saracens

Gloucester (6) 19
Tries: Sharples Cons: Robinson Pens: Robinson 4

Saracens (13) 13
Tries: Short Cons: Farrell Pens: Farrell 2

James Simpson-Daniel
Gloucester held on in the final minutes after losing Nick Wood to the bin

Gloucester maintained their unbeaten home Premiership record with a dogged 19-13 win over Saracens.

Sarries dominated the opening half with two penalties from Owen Farrell and a converted try by James Short after Gloucester's Alex Brown was sin-binned.

After the break Nicky Robinson added a penalty to his two first-half strikes before Charlie Sharples scored a sparkling individual try.

Saracens pressed for a winning try but the hosts' defence just held firm.

The result moves the Cherry and Whites above Saracens and into fourth in the table but they had to come back from 10-0 after half-an-hour.

Farrell kicked the visitors ahead before he was hauled down late by Brown - for which the second row saw yellow.

With the man advantage Saracens put width on the ball and were rewarded when Short raced round the defence for the opening try.

Farrell converted and Sarries were well in control before Robinson got his side off the mark with only their second foray into the visitors' 22.

Hugh Vyvyan spurned a fantastic opportunity for a second Sarries try when his pass to scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth went wayward with the route to the line clear.

Farrell restored a 10-point gap with another kick but soon Vyvyan was on the way to the sin-bin for not rolling away as Gloucester began to find their feet in the game.

Robinson's missed penalty persuaded Gloucester to opt for the catch-and-drive from line-outs close in but twice Gloucester failed to find a way through the Londoners' defence.

Two penalties by the Welsh number 10 either side of half time dragged Gloucester to within four points and with 16 minutes left Sharples produced a moment of brilliance as he defied the enveloping defence with a 30m dash down the touchline.

After the winger rounded the posts he clashed with Kameli Ratuvou in the dead ball area prompting an all-in melee on both sides that saw the Saracens centre depart on a stretcher.

A fourth Robinson penalty increased Gloucester's lead to six points and spurred Sarries to go for the try.

David Strettle was denied a moment of glory by a try-saving tackle by James Simpson-Daniel with just yards to spare before Nick Wood's yellow card ensured a nail-biting finish for the Kingsholm faithful.

Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:
"To get back to 19-13 up from 13-3 down the boys were outstanding and I was delighted with them.

"Today has highlighted that we are a good side, we must believe we can push for the top four, but that will require a lot of hard work, thought and individual toughness.

"I'm chuffed to bits but we must learn from these yellow cards or it means I'll have to change the personnel."

Saracens first-team coach Mark McCall said:
"The first-half performance was very good and a 13-6 lead down here was something you want at half-time. But they were always going to have passages of play.

"Their try came from our turnover. We played all the decent rugby in the game but it is frustrating to come away with a losing bonus point.

"Our performances away at Bath and here today have been two good ones. Kameli Ratuvou has got a serious injury and David Strettle is also injured so we are down in backs. We will have to wait and see what the news is on those two players before we play against Harlequins.

"But if we play like that and show that enthusiasm, then we know we will win more matches than we lose."

Gloucester: Morgan; Sharples, Molenaar, Fuimaono-Sapolu, Simpson-Daniel; Robinson, Lewis; Wood, Azam, Doran-Jones, Attwood, Brown; Deacon, Hazell, Narraway (capt).

Replacements: Burns for Sharples (64), Trinder for Molenaar (56), S. Lawson for Azam (56), Capdevielle for Doran-Jones (56), Cox for Hazell (75), Thomas for Burns (79).

Saracens: Mordt; Strettle, Ratuvou, Barritt, Short; Farrell, Wigglesworth; Carstens, Brits, Nieto; Borthwick (capt), Vyvyan; Melck, Saull, Wray.

Replacements: Cato for Strettle (77), Stanley for Ratuvou (64), de Kock for Wigglesworth (52), Gill for Carstens (52), Du Plessis for Nieto (52), Botha for Vyvyan (52), Burger for Melck (52).

Att: 9,735

Ref: Sean Davey (RFU).

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see also
Newcastle 12-6 Gloucester
21 Nov 10 |  English
Saracens hit with Borthwick fine
23 Nov 10 |  Saracens
McCall hails Saracens youngsters
22 Nov 10 |  Saracens
Bath 13-17 Saracens
21 Nov 10 |  English

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