Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Lozowski stars as Saracens stretch winning run at home by seeing off Gloucester

Alex Lozowski's boot helped steer Aviva Premiership champions Saracens to a 12th consecutive home win in all competitions but they were pushed hard by Gloucester before coming through 24-20.

Ben Morgan's try after just 60 seconds got the Cherry and Whites up and running and they led 17-15 at half-time after a further Billy Burns try and a penalty for James Hook.

But Saracens, who also dotted down twice in the first half hour through Brad Barritt and Mike Ellery, hit back and ground out the win thanks to three second-half penalties from Lozowski, who finished the game with 14 points.

It was the visitors who got off to the perfect start as Saracens spilled possession from the kick-off and, after pressure from the Gloucester forwards, Morgan powered over with Hook converting for a 7-0 lead.

Saracens peppered their opponents' defensive line in reply and gained their reward when Barritt charged down Mark Atkinson's kick before racing up the posts to score on 11 minutes.

It was the skipper's first try in two and a half years with Lozowski's conversion taking the scores level.

But Gloucester retook the lead again on 14 minutes when Alex Goode failed to collect Will Heinz's kick and Burns gleefully seized on the ball to run in, with Hook adding the extras for 14-7.

The match was being played at full pace and a fourth try of the game arrived just three minutes later following neat work from Saracens duo Goode and Schalk Brits with the former pinging the ball out to hooker Ellery to cross. Lozowski was off target with his conversion but a successful penalty then put the hosts in front on 21 minutes.

Goode's defensive prowess then came to the fore as his last-ditch tackle forced Henry Purdy into touch in the corner to deny a Gloucester try.

But with play being brought back for an earlier penalty, Hook dissected the posts to put Gloucester two points ahead at the break.

Gloucester nearly got a breakthrough nine minutes into the second half when the ball was turned over in midfield and Burns broke through the middle, but he got caught in two minds and his kick through went out of touch.

Charlie Sharples then almost found space near the corner but Barritt made a vital tackle as Gloucester looked to turn the screw.

And in a sucker punch, Saracens turned defence into attack with their forwards earning a penalty and Lozowski putting the hosts in front.

The visitors' challenge was made harder just past the hour mark when John Afoa was sin-binned for an infringement at the scrum and Lozowski made no mistake with his penalty to open the lead up to four.

Gloucester, who ended a four-game winless streak in the Premiership with victory over Wasps last Saturday, refused to let their heads drop and Hook's 69th-minute penalty reduced the gap to one.

But Saracens replied with pressure of their own and, after strong work by the forwards on the Gloucester line, won a penalty which Lozowski again converted to help see Saracens home, with Gloucester taking a losing bonus point.


From Belfast Telegraph