Gloucester hold off Saracens
Gloucester ran in three tries at Vicarage Road to inflict a first home Guinness Premiership defeat of the season on Saracens.
Last Updated: 16/11/08 6:34pm
Gloucester ran in three tries at Vicarage Road to score a 25-21 Guinness Premiership win against Saracens, the home side's first league loss of the season.
The returning Anthony Allen and Olly Morgan scored two of the visitors' tries and Lesley Vainikolo added a third, while Ben Skirving touched down for the hosts, who also got a penalty try.
Allen, absent from the Gloucester line-up since injuring his ankle against Leicester on the opening day, crossed to set Dean Ryan's men on their way.
But Skirving pegged the visitors back before Morgan, returning from a hamstring injury, broke decisively to score and Vainikolo then extended the advantage.
Although the home side hit back with a penalty try to set up a grandstand finish, they then could not turn pressure into all-important points.
Ryan Lamb should have kicked the visitors ahead in the second minute from 20 yards, but he thudded his penalty attempt into the left upright. However, Hugh Vyvyan's knock-on allowed him to make quick amends and slot Gloucester 3-0 ahead.
Within a minute, Lamb had struck the upright again from out on the right, but after Vyvyan was sent to the sin-bin, the 22-year-old fly-half doubled the advantage.
Glen Jackson then replied with a penalty for the hosts on 19 minutes, but three minutes later Gloucester switched from left to right where Vainikolo found the returning Allen, who squeezed down in the corner.
Lamb threaded the extras from tight on the touchline as Vyvyan returned with his side 13-3 down.
With the hosts under heavy pressure, a hopeful punt forward ran awkwardly for Morgan and, after the ball was recycled, Skirving crashed over to reduce the deficit heading into the interval.
Just 30 seconds after the restart, a flowing Saracens move resulted in Jackson, the Premiership's leading points scorer, adding three more to his tally to drag the hosts back into contention.
But with Saracens threatening to turn the game on its head, Gloucester skipper Mike Tindall found full-back Morgan in full flight and the 23-year-old sprinted 30 yards to pull the Cherry and Whites clear.
Saracens director of rugby Eddie Jones threw on South African World Cup-winning debutant Wikus Van Heerden but Vainikolo enhanced his own chances of an international recall as he collected Lamb's 62nd minute cross-field kick to jog in under the posts.
Jackson soon threaded a penalty before Saracens were awarded a penalty try after they were camped for four phases on the Gloucester line.
But, with the clock ticking, the hosts were unable to score further despite pressure.