Premiership: Saracens 24-20 Gloucester

Mike Ellery
Mike Ellery runs in Saracens' second try against Gloucester
Aviva Premiership
Saracens (15) 24
Tries: Barritt, Ellery Con: Lozowski Pens: Lozowski 4
Gloucester (17) 20
Tries: Morgan, Burns Cons: Hook 2 Pens: Hook 2

Three second-half penalties from Alex Lozowski proved crucial as Premiership leaders Saracens beat Gloucester.

A first-minute try by Ben Morgan puts the visitors ahead before captain Brad Barritt grabbed Saracens' first score.

Gloucester's Billy Burns and Sarries' Mike Ellery traded tries, and it was the visitors who led at half-time.

Lozowski's accuracy from the tee in the second half swung the game in Saracens' favour as they clung on to secure an eighth league win this season.

All four tries came in an error-strewn opening 17 minutes before the game settled down.

Saracens, who have not lost at home for nine months, went behind when Morgan drove over from close range in the first minute, before Barritt charged down Mark Atkinson's kick for his first try in two and a half years to help bring the hosts level.

Returning England full-back Alex Goode failed to deal with Willi Heinz's kick and Burns nipped in to score Gloucester's second try, but Goode then turned provider as he combined with Schalk Brits to set up Ellery on the right-hand side.

The match continued to go back and forth as Lozowski's penalty put Saracens ahead for the first time, before Hook's three points gave the visitors a two-point lead at the break.

Lozowski's two successful kicks gave the home side a little breathing space after the break but, despite Hook closing the gap, Lozowski's fourth penalty of the afternoon saw Saracens move out to a four-point lead.

Hook dragged an attempt wide as he tried to reduce the deficit to one point and Saracens held firm to complete a tense victory.

Maro Itoje
Injured England and Saracens flanker Maro Itoje was in attendance at Allianz Park

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall told BBC Radio London:

"It was a very tough game for us, a very difficult game which could've gone either way.

"Gloucester are a side who are just improving all the time and their kick-chase and defence were at a very high level.

"But, we just had enough to be resilient and to bounce back from some set-backs and it's a hallmark of this team to show that kind of character and that kind of effort."

On Maro Itoje potentially returning from his fractured hand injury next weekend against Bath:

"He sees his consultant on Tuesday. He hasn't played any rugby since starting his rehab or had any involvement in contact at all.

"But, if the surgeon gives him the all-clear, hopefully he can have some sort of involvement next weekend."

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys:

"It was an unbelievable effort but we're very disappointed.

"Against a team who defend as well as Saracens you have got to take your opportunities. The positive is that we created a lot of opportunities.

"I thought we played some good rugby. I thought the effort and energy made it difficult for Saracens but ultimately it wasn't enough to win the game."

Saracens: Goode; Ellery, Bosch, Barritt (capt), Wyles; Lozowski, Wigglesworth; Barrington, Brits, Du Plessis, Rhodes, Hamilton, Brown, Burger, Wray.

Replacements: Saunders, Lamositele, Figallo, Flanagan, Conlon, Spencer, Tompkins, Fenby.

Gloucester: Hook; Sharples, Scott, Atkinson, Purdy; Burns, Heinz (capt); McAllister, Hibbard, Afoa, Savage, Galarz, Ludlow, Rowan, Morgan.

Replacements: Lindsay, Hohneck, Doran-Jones, Latta, Kvesic, Braley, Twelvetrees, Thorley.

Referee: Greg Macdonald.

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