By Thomas Branston
Richard Hibbard scored late as Gloucester secured a famous 31-23 victory over reigning champions Saracens in the Aviva Premiership at Kingsholm on Friday night.
Gloucester moved up one place to eighth in the league after Billy Burns gave the cherry and whites an early lead from the boot before Saracens added a try from Shalk Brits and penalties from Marcelo Bosch and Alex Lozowski gave the visitors the lead.
The cherry and whites added a try of their own with Tom Marshall scrambling his way over the whitewash, this accompanied by three more Burns penalties to give Gloucester a 16-13 lead at half-time.
Jeremy Thrush scored early on in the second-half to give the hosts a ten-point lead before a Lozowski penalty and Will Fraser try levelled the match at 23-23 but a Twelvetrees penalty and late Richard Hibbard try gave the hosts a vital win.
In a scrappy opening affair Gloucester forced a cheap mistake from Saracens and added the games first points with Burns converting his kick as it just found its way over giving the hosts a 3-0 lead.
Saracens responded quickly and scored a superb team try just minutes later. The hosts were unable to react quickly enough.
Quick ball out wide allowed an overlap and Brits strolled through the gap to give the Londoners the lead and Lozowski added the conversion.
Bosch extended the lead with an effort from long range from his right foot giving Saracens a 3-10 lead.
Gloucester remained patient and soon found a way through the visitors defence with the cherry and whites scoring a team try of their own with Marshall scuttling under the hits to score.
Burns added the following conversion in front of the shed to draw the hosts level at 10-10.
Saracens then earned a penalty for continuous infringements and Lozowski made no mistakes with his penalty from close-range as the Londoners regained the lead.
This did not faze the hosts as Burns added two more penalties before the half-time whistle and Gloucester took a deserving 16-13 lead into the break.
The home side forced uncharacteristic errors from the reining champions that led to Thrush picking the ball from the ruck to score.
Burns added the conversion with Gloucester taking a 23-13 lead before Lozowski hit back adding another penalty to creep the visitors back within a converted try of Gloucester.
Gloucester’s Paul Doran-Jones received a yellow card for pulling down the maul and Saracens took advantage with Fraser crashing over from a close-range driving maul and Lozowski added the extras to level the match at 23-23.
Twelvetrees notched Gloucester in the lead with a late penalty as kicking replacement for Burns who left the field on a stretcher.
Hibbard scored late on to secure a Gloucester win after diving over off the back of a driving maul sending Kingsholm into delirium.
Tries: Marshall, Thrush, Hibbard
Cons: Burns 2
Pens: Burns 3, Twelvetrees
Tries: Brits, Fraser
Pens: Bosch, Lozowski 2
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Matt Scott, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 David Halaifonua, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Salesi Ma’afu, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 James Hook, 23 Henry Trinder
Saracens: 15 Duncan Taylor, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Brad Barritt (c), 11 Mike Ellery, 10 Alex Lozowski, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Will Fraser, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Michael Rhodes, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola
Replacements: 16 Jared Saunders, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Petrus Du Plessis, 19 Mark Flanagan, 20 Kelly Brown, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Max Malins, 23 Matt Gallagher
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace, Nigel Carrick
TMO: David Grashoff