Saints turn on the style as they secure crucial bonus-point win against Gloucester

Saints produced a huge second half performance as they secured a crucial 41-34 bonus-point win against Gloucester on Saturday afternoon.
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The sides, separated by a point and a place in the Gallagher Premiership table going into the game, were locked at 10-10 at half-time.

But Saints stepped things up brilliantly after the break, bagging four tries to add to Alex Waller's first-half effort.

There was a real swagger as the hosts put their play-off rivals to the sword, and the fifth try, from Fraser Dingwall, was a thing of beauty.

However, Gloucester fought back late on and they took a losing bonus point and a try bonus point from the game as Billy Twelvetrees landed a conversion with the final kick.

It took some of the shine off for Saints, as they allowed their top-four rivals to revive themselves from 41-15 down with 12 minutes to go.

But it was still a win to savour for Phil Dowson's side, especially considering the number of absentees they had.

Saints had gone into the game without the likes of Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Juarno Augustus and George Furbank, they they were on top from the off.

Rory HutchinsonRory Hutchinson
Rory Hutchinson

The black, green and gold secured a few early penalties at the breakdown, with James Grayson able to go for goal with one of them, and he landed it.

Gloucester were being put under early pressure, but their defence stood tall and repelled the threat.

It gave the away side a chance to put something together themselves and they turned to the rolling maul to work their way forward.

Eventually, Gloucester went to the corner, and they inevitably went over, with hooker Seb Blake the scorer.

Santiago Carreras missed the conversion from the touchline to leave the gap at two points, and Grayson soon sent a kick of his own wide after Gloucester gave away a penalty.

Saints were dominant though and after another long spell of pressure in the away 22, Waller forced his way over.

Grayson converted and Saints were looking for more.

James Ramm broke the line but his pass was just behind the onrushing Alex Coles and the chance inside the Gloucester 22 was gone.

Saints came even closer soon after as a lovely lineout move resulted in hooker Robbie Smith charging towards the line, but he lost the ball in contact and another opening went begging.

Gloucester were eager to make the most of their multiple reprieves, and they started to crank up the heat on the Saints line.

The home side managed to hold one attack up over the line, but penalties were coming far too frequently.

Eventually, Albert Tuisue broke away from a maul and made his way over the line, but he dropped the ball.

Gloucester still had a penalty coming and they again went to the corner, eventually rumbling towards the line as Blake was awarded his second try of the game.

Saints came out firing at the start of the second half as Ramm did superbly to take the ball in the air and carry the ball close to the Gloucester line.

David Ribbans and Alex Moon carried hard before Callum Braley picked up the ball and dotted it down.

Grayson converted but Gloucester then hit Saints with a sucker punch as Carreras broke away before the ball was worked wide for Ollie Thorley to score.

Carreras missed the conversion and Saints made Gloucester pay at the other end as Alex Moon powered over following a spell of pressure on the away line.

Grayson sent the swirling conversion wide but Ramm was having a huge impact on the game and his fantastic 50:22 soon set up more good field position.

Saints were to profit as their intensity proved too much, with the hugely impressive Sam Graham flying over under the posts for the bonus-point try.

Grayson converted and Saints led 29-15 with 25 minutes to go.

Saints' defence soon forced a loose pass from Gloucester on halfway, and Tommy Freeman needed no second invitation as he pinned his ears back and charged over for the try.

Grayson missed another tough kick from out wide and Gloucester made sweeping changes, bringing on six players at the same time.

Ramm continued his sharp start to the second half as he made a huge try-saving tackle on Jonny May out wide.

Saints then produced the move of the match, started by Lukhan Salakaia-Loto as he offloaded out the back door before Rory Hutchinson, Graham and Braley combined to set up skipper Dingwall for the score.

Grayson converted and Saints were absolutely flying at 41-15 up with 12 minutes to go.

But Gloucester eventually started to play some rugby and after Jamal Ford-Robinson used his power to bag the bonus-point try, a nice move resulted in Matias Alemanno going over.

Billy Twelvetrees converted with a minute to go, and Gloucester knew another converted try could grab them a losing bonus point.

They were to get it as Ford-Robinson scored for the second time, with Twelvetrees holding his nerve to make sure his side would take two points from the match.

Saints: Ramm (Skosan 69); Freeman; Dingwall (c), Hutchinson, Collins; Grayson, Braley (Garside 69); A Waller (E Waller (E Waller 60), R Smith (Cruse 67), Painter (Petch 40); Ribbans (Salakaia-Loto 60), Moon; Coles, Scott-Young (Hinkley 67), Graham.

Gloucester: Evans (Twelvetrees 69); May, Harris (Seabrook 60), S Atkinson, Thorley; Carreras, Meehan (Chapman 53); Rapava-Ruskin (Elrington 60), Blake (Walker 60), Gotovtsev (Ford-Robinson 60); Clarke (Jordan 60), Alemanno; Ackermann, Ludlow, Tuisue (c) (Clement 60).

Referee: Adam Leal