Premiership: Northampton 7-31 Gloucester - Louis Rees-Zammit with two tries

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport
Louis Rees-Zammit scores a try
Louis Rees-Zammit, 20, is the youngest player to be called up by the British and Irish Lions since 1959
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton: (0) 7
Tries: Taylor Cons: Hutchinson
Gloucester: (10) 31
Tries: Rees-Zammit 2, Slater, Singleton Cons: Twelvetrees Pens: Twelvetrees 3

Louis Rees-Zammit marked his British and Irish Lions selection with two tries as Gloucester beat lacklustre Northampton 31-7 in the Premiership.

The winger capped a fine 14th-minute move in a poor first half that saw fellow Welsh Lion Dan Biggar fail a head injury assessment.

Ed Slater and Jack Singleton increased Gloucester's lead after half-time.

Rees-Zammit's second try sealed the bonus point before Henry Taylor got a consolation try for Saints.

The result - Gloucester's biggest win of the season - sees them stay 10th in the Premiership as fifth-placed Northampton's play-off hopes took a blow.

With Lions boss Warren Gatland in the stands Billy Twelvetrees' early penalty put Gloucester ahead before Rees-Zammit's try ended the best move of the first 40 minutes.

Mark Atkinson's no-look pass allowed Santiago Carreras to break into open ground before passing to Rees-Zammit who went over in the right corner.

There were worries when Biggar's head clashed with Twelvetrees' shoulder as the pair dived for a loose ball - the Northampton fly-half failed a head injury assessment although he did walk from the field under his own steam.

Slater went in from 15 metres after George Furbank's loose kick was gathered by Jordy Reid and Twelvetrees added a second penalty soon after.

Another Saints penalty set up the short-range line-out for Gloucester's third as Singleton was forced over before Rees-Zammit used his renowned pace to pounce on a Saints fumble as he touched down Willi Heinz's box kick with 20 minutes to go.

A fracas in the aftermath of the try saw Carreras and Saints' Piers Francis sin-binned and Gloucester were further reduced soon after when Tom Seabrook deliberately knocked on.

Gloucester's defence was impressive throughout and with a man down they did well to stop Tommy Freeman going over with 12 minutes left before Taylor snuck in from the back of a ruck inside the final 10 minutes as Saints avoided a first shutout since 2005.

Dan Biggar clashes with Billy Twelvetrees
Dan Biggar's accidental clash with Billy Twelvetrees looked nasty...
Dan Biggar is treated for a head injury
...he required treatment on the field after the incident...
Dan Biggar leaves the field and watches on
...but was able to walk off and watched the rest of the game from the stands

Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd:

"We did not win any aspect of the game and the scoreline reflected that.

"We were embarrassed and it was unacceptable.

"What it means is that we have lost control of our destiny and to get into the top four we need others to lose."

Gloucester and British and Irish Lions winger Louis Rees-Zammit:

"It has been an outstanding week for me.

"Being picked by the Lions did not really sink in until that night when I had dinner with my brother and my parents on their 26th wedding anniversary.

"I had messages from everyone I know, and more, and I cannot thank enough everyone who has helped me, but my focus is playing my part for Gloucester in the final four matches of the season and getting into the top eight.

"I am not someone who gets ahead of himself and the players here keep me humble."

Northampton: Furbank; Proctor, Hutchinson, Francis, Freeman; Biggar, James; Waller (co-capt), Matavesi, Hill, Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa, Wood, Ludlam (co-capt), Harrison.

Replacements: Fish, Auterac, Painter, Moon, Adendorff, Taylor, Dingwall, Naiyaravoro.

Gloucester: Moyle; Rees-Zammit, Kveseladze, Atkinson, Carreras; Twelvetrees, Chapman; Rapava-Ruskin, Singleton, Balmain, Slater, Alemanno, Reid, Ludlow (captain), Ackermann.

Replacements: Socino, Ford-Robinson, O'Connor, Morgan, Clement, Heinz, Barton, Seabrook.

Referee: Ian Tempest

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