Saracens 28-23 Gloucester

Saracens (12) 28

  • Tries: Wigglesworth
  • Cons: Hodgson
  • Pens: Hodgson (7)

Gloucester (13) 23

  • Tries: Murphy, Qera
  • Cons: Twelvetrees (2)
  • Pens: Twelvetrees (3)

Richard Wigglesworth's try helped Saracens defeat Gloucester and move up to second in the Premiership.

Dan Murphy's try, converted by Billy Twelvetrees, gave the visitors a one-point lead at the interval.

Charlie Hodgson put the hosts ahead with his fifth successful penalty before Akapusi Qera crossed to put the Cherry and Whites back in front.

Sarries regained the lead when Richard Wigglesworth raced away to score and they held out for the win.

Hodgson, who had missed the last four weeks with a cheekbone injury, was in imperious form with the boot, kicking 23 points.

Victory was a perfect way for skipper Steve Borthwick to mark his 100th appearance for the club especially given his side's slow start.

They quickly found themselves 6-0 down thanks to two Twelvetrees penalties before a brace from Hodgson levelled the scores.

Gloucester scored the first try of the match when prop Murphy charged down a kick from the former England fly-half and showed neat control with the boot before touching down.

Murphy was then sin-binned for killing the ball at the ruck and Hodgson scored from the resulting penalty and landed another to leave the scores at 12-13 at half-time.

Sarries went in front for the first time thanks to another Hodgson effort but Qera's try, when he crashed over in the corner after a quick attack, made sure the lead was short-lived.

However, Gloucester continued to show poor discipline. Sione Kalamafoni was sent to the sin-bin for the same reason as Murphy in the first period, before Hodgson was able to kick another three-pointer.

He then missed his next attempt but the hosts managed to notch the match-winning score when Chris Wyles released Wigglesworth to power away from the defence.

Twelvetrees and Hodgson exchanged kicks before Wigglesworth was sent to the sin bin in a frenetic finish but Saracens managed to hold on, although Gloucester claimed a losing bonus point.

VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall:

"The team showed a lot of character today.

"We brought on Nick Auterac, who hasn't much Premiership experience, for a couple of scrums on our line - so maybe it wasn't the kindest thing I've ever done to him.

"But that last scrum was amazing. He's a really talented kid who's come through our academy. We're well blessed with looseheads and Nick is going to be the future."

Gloucester director of rugby Nigel Davies:

"It could have gone either way at the end. There were a couple of big calls that the referee had to make. Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't.

"You wonder when the first two scrums (at the end of the match) weren't sufficient to merit a penalty try. On another occasion they would have been, I'm sure.

"On the third one, to be fair, they got the hit and it made it easy for the ref.

"I was pleased with the way my team stuck to their task. We ended up outscoring Saracens two tries to one which is no mean feat here.

LINE-UPS

Saracens: Wyles, Strettle, J. Tomkins, Taylor, Short, Hodgson, de Kock, Gill, Smit, Stevens, Borthwick, Botha, Kruis, Fraser, Joubert.

Replacements: Ratuvou for Taylor (73), Wigglesworth for de Kock (56), Auterac for Gill (76), George for Smit (76), Du Plessis for Stevens (70), Hargreaves for Botha (77), Saull for Joubert (41). Not Used: Mordt.

Sin Bin: Wigglesworth.

Gloucester: Cook, Sharples, Molenaar, Tindall, M. Thomas, Twelvetrees, Cowan, Murphy, Dawidiuk, Harden, James, Hamilton, Savage, Qera, Kalamafoni.

Replacements: Taylor for Tindall (62), Monahan for M. Thomas (52), Britton for Dawidiuk (60). Not Used: Wood, Knight, Buxton, Cox, Robson.

Sin Bin: Murphy, Kalamafoni.

Att: 5,960

Ref: Sean Davey (RFU).