George Pisi scored two tries as Northampton began the Premiership season with victory at Gloucester.
Pisi went over for the game's first try, followed by Dylan Hartley, while Ryan Lamb kicked seven points to help the visitors lead 17-6 at half-time.
Freddie Burns kicked two penalties after the break for the hosts to add to his first-half brace before Pisi scored his second try, converted by Lamb.
A Gloucester penalty try closed the gap again but the Saints hung on.
Former England captain Mike Tindall, who is combining his playing career at Gloucester with learning the coaching ropes, formed a new centre partnership with ex-Leicester midfield man Billy Twelvetrees.
Northampton had five players starting a Premiership match for the first time, with Samoan wing Ken Pisi joining his brother George in the backs.
The visitors took the lead when Hartley sent Pisi clear on the left and the centre cut inside to cross over.
Hartley then turned try scorer in the corner after taking a pass from the base of a ruck and Lamb kicked his second conversion.
Two penalties from Burns closed the gap for Gloucester but Lamb's kick saw the Saints lead by 11 points at the break.
Burns took his tally to 12 points with two more penalties after half-time but, just as the hosts had thoughts of a comeback, Pisi went over again after collecting a pass from Soane Tonga'uiha - a try Lamb also converted.
Gerrit-Jan van Velze and Paul Doran-Jones were both sin-binned as Saints were reduced to 13 men and they gave away a penalty try for collapsing a scrum, converted by Burns.
Northampton's depleted side saw the game out to secure an opening-day victory.
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Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies told BBC Radio Gloucestershire.
"We put a lot of pressure on ourselves in the first half, we played in the wrong areas and we gave Northampton exactly the type of platform they thrive on.
"We changed things round in the second half and I was delighted with the way the boys went about their task.
"We gave them a soft try which was the difference at the end of the day. Arguably we maybe should have won that game.
"We were behind for large periods of the game, but we fought back strongly and the boys will take positives from that."
Northampton coach Jim Mallinder said:
"It's a relief. We played really well in the first half but in the second half, we didn't kill the game off. We need to learn from that.
"In a way, we're fortunate to get away with the win.
"But we've come down to Kingsholm and not played particularly well and won the game. We'll go up the motorway happy.
"In the season, you won't remember the performance, just the four points. We'll take that. We've got loads to work on."
May; Sharples, Tindall, Twelvetrees, Simpson-Daniel; Burns, Robson; Wood, Dawidiuk, Harden, Savage, Brown (c), Matt Cox, Akapusi Qera, Ben Morgan
Trinder for Tindall (59), M. Thomas for Burns (79), Lewis for Robson (51), Murphy for Wood (59), Knight for Harden (41), James for Brown (59), Kalamafoni for Cox (51). Not Used: Edmonds.
Foden; K Pisi, G Pisi, Waldouck, Artemyev; Lamb, Dickson; Tonga'uiha, Hartley (c), Mujati, Manoa, Day, Dowson, Wood, van Velze
Burrell for Waldouck (76), Myler for Lamb (62), Waller for Mujati (74), Sorenson for Day (59). Not Used: Haywood, Doran-Jones, Oakley, Roberts.
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