Premiership: Gloucester 33-33 Northampton Saints

Samu Manoa
Samu Manoa's try against Gloucester was his seventh in 16 Premiership games this season
Gloucester (23) 33
Tries: Sharples, Hibbard, Murphy Cons: Laidlaw 3 Pens: Laidlaw 4
Northampton (9) 33
Tries: Wilson 2, Manoa Cons: Myler 3 Pens: Myler 4

Stephen Myler converted a late Samu Manoa try as leaders Northampton Saints salvaged a draw at Gloucester.

Greig Laidlaw kicked three penalties and converted tries by Charlie Sharples and Richard Hibbard to put the Cherry and Whites 23-9 up at the break.

Myler converted James Wilson's try to reduce the margin to seven points.

Dan Murphy then went in for the hosts, Wilson grabbed a second and Myler and Laidlaw traded penalties before Manoa crucially touched down.

Northampton's Premiership lead was cut to nine points, with Exeter Chiefs thrashing bottom side London Welsh 74-19 to go second.

The draw saw Gloucester slip to ninth, 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Saracens, who face fellow play-off hopefuls Wasps on Sunday.

Gloucester maintain fine home form in 2015
David Humphreys' Gloucester are unbeaten at Kingsholm this year, with the Cherry and Whites winning five games in all competitions before Northampton's visit.

Once-capped England fly-half Myler marked his 148th and club-record setting Premiership appearance with two kicks for the competition pacesetters early on.

However, the lead was short lived with Laidlaw teeing up three penalties in response to put the hosts 9-6 up on 21 minutes.

Both sides seemed to thrive in the sunny and unseasonably warm conditions at Kingsholm.

James Hook orchestrated the game's first try, beating three Saints players before angling an expertly weighted kick out to the right where Sharples collected to cross over. Laidlaw added the extras to make it 16-6.

The try added even greater impetus to the Cherry and Whites' attack, with Sharples almost dashing in for a second before Hibbard was kept out by Alex Corbisiero.

Hibbard's wait to touchdown was short lived, with the hooker making the most of their one-man advantage following James Wilson's yellow card, peeling off the back of a maul to crash over.

Myler slotted his third penalty with the last act of the first-half, then cut the deficit further by adding the extras after Wilson eased over for the first of two tries in six second-half minutes.

A break from Steve McColl set the foundations for Gloucester's third score, with Murphy stretching out to add to the home side's advantage, only for some superb handling from of Manoa and wing Jamie Elliott sending Wilson over again soon after.

Myler followed up his second conversation with his fourth penalty, having missed an earlier straight-forward attempt, to reduce the gap to four points with more than 22 minutes remaining.

Gloucester thought they had sealed the win six minutes from time when substitute Henry Purdy crossed out wide, but the try was disallowed for an infringement during the build-up.

Still Laidlaw edged the hosts further ahead, but it proved too little as Myler secured a share of the spoils following Manoa's dramatic late effort.

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"I think it'll not be for a couple of days when we get a chance to sit down and review it that we'll be able to take a huge number of positives from that and from the way we played.

"We're still searching for that 80-minute performance that will allow us to win games against the top teams.

"With a 23-9 lead, we've got to control the momentum and pace of the game, so maybe that was the time to slow it down.

"It's really the first time we've been in that position and I've no doubt we'll learn from that as a group."

Northampton Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder:

"We showed what a good side we are in that second half. We talked about getting our balance right, and we played some good rugby.

"We got two cracking tries out wide from James Wilson, then to be able to go to the maul at the death and get that score just shows we have got threats all over the field.

"You can't come down to Kingsholm and play as we did in the first-half. They are a proud team and it is a proud rugby city, and we made some fundamental mistakes in terms of our game-management."

Gloucester: McColl; Sharples, Meakes, Twelvetrees (capt), May; Hook, Laidlaw; Murphy, Hibbard, Afoa; Savage, Palmer, Kalamafoni, Kvesic, Evans.

Replacements: Burns for McColl (71), Purdy for Sharples (50), Y. Thomas for Murphy (58), Dawidiuk for Hibbard (68), Moriarty for Kalamafoni (28), Stooke for G Evans (51). Not Used: Puafisi, Robson.

Northampton Saints: Wilson; K Pisi, G Pisi, Stephenson, Elliott; Myler, Fotuali'i; Corbisiero, Haywood, Ma'afu, Lawes, Day, Wood (capt), Clark, Manoa.

Replacements: Tuala for K Pisi (68), L Dickson for Fotuali'i (54), A Waller for Corbisiero (61), Denman for Ma'afu (50), S Dickinson for C Day (50), Dowson for Clark (65). Not Used: Williams, Oliver.

Sin-bin: Wilson (28 mins)

Referee: Greg Garner

Attendance: 16,000