Premiership: Saracens 28-21 Gloucester

Alistair Hargreaves
Alistair Hargreaves scored his first Saracens try since becoming captain in the summer
Saracens (15) 28
Tries: Wyles, Hargreaves, Ashton Cons: Hodgson 2 Pens: Hodgson 3
Gloucester (13) 21
Tries: Cook, Savage Cons: Laidlaw Pen: Laidlaw 3

Saracens recovered from their first Premiership defeat of the season to overcome a resolute Gloucester.

Following last week's loss to Bath, Sarries were slow to start as Rob Cook crossed for the Cherry and Whites.

But the hosts hit back through Chris Wyles and Alistair Hargreaves before the break and, with Nick Wood in the sin bin, Chris Ashton added a third.

Tom Savage snatched a losing bonus point for Gloucester at the death but Saracens moved up to second.

Gloucester, unbeaten in their last two games, can take heart from their battling performance in a game that may have hinged on Wood's second-half yellow card for pulling back his man during a Saracens break.

Saracens subdue Gloucester
Saracens did the double over Gloucester last season, and the Cherry and Whites have won just one of their last nine Premiership meetings (including play-offs).

While Sarries' response after their setback at Bath will have pleased director of rugby Mark McCall, he would have been concerned at losing influential hooker Schalk Brits early on with a rib injury in his first game since returning from international duty with South Africa.

A pair of quick Greig Laidlaw penalties had Gloucester in the ascendancy and although Charlie Hodgson responded with one of his own, England centre Billy Twelvetrees sent a superb long pass out for Cook to cross in the corner amid a frantic opening.

Twelvetrees swiftly undid his good work though as Wyles charged down his attempted kick and raced 40 metres to touch down, before Ernst Joubert released skipper Hargreaves to complete the turnaround before half-time.

Hodgson and Laidlaw traded penalties after the break, but after Wood saw yellow Hargreaves capitalised by rushing into space to put Ashton through under the posts.

Hodgson added another penalty and, even though Saracens battered the Gloucester line in pursuit of a bonus point, it was the visitors who plundered a late score as Savage broke free in the final seconds.

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall: "I thought we bounced back really well.

"We went from 13-3 down to winning the game 28-16 (before Savage's late try), so we won that period of the game 25-3."

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys: ""The charge down was a big turning point.

"Huge credit to Saracens. Against lots of other teams, you'd maybe count yourself unlucky but they get a lot of charge-down kicks over the course of the season.

"We've come a long way in six weeks. Now we've shown that we can compete with the top teams.

"Now it's about establishing some belief within our squad that we can go out and perform at a level which allows us to put a team like Saracens under pressure."

Saracens: Ransom; Ashton, Wyles, Barritt, Strettle; Hodgson, Wigglewsorth; Barrington, Brits, Longbottom, Hamilton, Hargreaves (capt), Joubert, Brown, Vunipola.

Replacements: George, Gill, Johnston, Kruis, Fraser, De Kock, Bosch, Goode.

Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Purdy, Twelvetrees (capt), May; Hook, Laidlaw; Wood, Hibbard, Afoa; Savage, Palmer; Kalamafoni, Kvesic, Morgan.

Replacements: Dawidiuk, Thomas, Puafisi, Stooke, Moriarty, Robson, Atkinson, Meakes.

Attendance: 7,579

Referee: Dean Richards (RFU).