Premiership: Northampton Saints 34-20 Gloucester - Saints begin season with bonus point win

James Grayson
James Grayson's eventful game saw him score 17 points and get a yellow card late on
Gallagher Premiership
Northampton: (10) 34
Tries: Furbank, Grayson, Auterac, Wood Cons: Grayson 3, Furbank Pens: Grayson 2
Gloucester: (5) 20
Tries: Thorley, Reid, May Cons: Evans Pens: Evans

Two tries early in the second half helped Northampton get the new Premiership season off to a winning start as they beat Gloucester 34-20.

George Furbank went over early on for Northampton before Ollie Thorley replied after 25 minutes.

But with Jack Clement sin-binned Saints took advantage as James Grayson and Nic Auterac went over in quick succession.

Jordy Reid and Jonny May hit back for Gloucester, but Tom Wood went over late on for the bonus point.

The victory sees Saints join East Midlands rivals Leicester and the Worcester Warriors in the top three positions of the early Premiership table, with each side having a bonus-point victory.

The early part of the game saw both sides have chances to take command - Furbank's try was almost cancelled out by Clement, but the Cherry and Whites' number eight saw his try in the corner disallowed after a forward pass in the build-up.

Despite having hooker Jack Singleton sent to the sin-bin after 25 minutes it was Gloucester who replaced two minutes later as flying winger Thorley ended an excellent move by Kyle Moyle.

But Clement's yellow for an infringement at the maul right at the end of the first half proved costly - despite Lloyd Evans' penalty soon after the restart.

First Grayson scored in the corner after great hands by Furbank and Tom Collins before Auterac went in under the posts two minutes later.

Jordy Reid cut the gap from short range but Grayson landed a penalty to put Saints 12 points up before May had a 66th-minute effort chalked off by the TMO.

But the England winger did get his first try of the season two minutes later, and the home fans were left to feel nervous after Grayson was sin-binned for a late hit on May as he scored.

However, any fears were allayed three minutes from time as former England forward Wood broke through and a neat flurry of passes with Furbank saw him go over.

Northampton director of rugby Chris Boyd told BBC Radio Northampton:

"From an outcome point of view you can't ask for more than five points in your first home game of the season, from a performance point of view across the board it was probably only a six.

"In that second 20 minutes I think we got into their 22 six or seven times and came out with nothing after it got to 10-0, so we were a little bit impatient and trying to score from everything.

"Some guys made some uncharacteristic mistakes that they wouldn't make normally, but again it was just because I think we were so keen to get away to a decent start."

Gloucester head coach George Skivington told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"We gave away 12 penalties in the first half. We were doing some really good stuff and then we just took the pressure off Saints, gave the penalty away and they took advantage of it.

"We're not where we thought we were at discipline-wise, we got two yellow cards in the first half and Saints capitalised on it. I think it's very hard to play in the Premiership doing that.

"Away from that I was pretty pleased with how the game went, we had some good attacking moments, the defence looked good and the set piece was good, but it's too hard in this league to give away that many penalties, especially early on in the game."

Northampton: Furbank; Proctor, Dingwall, Hutchinson, Collins; Grayson; Mitchell; Waller, Fish, Painter, Ribbans, Moon, Wood, Ludlam (capt), Harrison.

Replacements: Haywood, Auterac, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Augustus, Tupai, Tuala, Coles.

Gloucester: Moyle; May, Seabrook, Twelvetrees, Thorley; Evans, Meehan; Elrington, Singleton, Balmain, Morgan, Davidson, Reid, Ludlow (capt), Clement.

Replacements: Walker, Ford-Robinson, Gotovtsev, Clarke, Ackermann, Varney, Hastings, Kveseladze.

Referee: Karl Dickson.

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