Gloucester 33 Northampton Saints 33 (Half-time 23-9)

League leaders Northampton Saints managed to claw their way back for a thrilling 33-33 draw at Kingsholm in front of 16,000 spectators, after trailing heavily by 23-9 at half-time to Gloucester in the English Premiership. The draw leaves the Saints now nine points clear of Exeter at the summit of the league, after the Chiefs outclassed bottom team London Welsh 74-19 to move into second place. It could prove to be a costly slip up by the home side, after they had looked likely to take the victory, as it drops them back to ninth and well off the all-important top four places. The draw did at least preserve their fine home form, with five wins in all competitions since the turn of the year.

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Saints left it late to deny them the victory, as the ever-dependable Stephen Myler converted Samu Manoa's try with time running out.

Gloucester built a solid platform in the first period, as Scottish international Greig Laidlaw was successful with three penalty kicks and two conversions, after tries from England winger Charlie Sharples and Welsh hooker Richard Hibbard. Welsh international James Hook made the try for Sharples, avoiding the challenges of three players before kicking accurately towards the wing, where his teammate was able to collect and go over the line. Hibbard scored while the Saints were reduced to 14 men, after James Wilson had been sin-binned by referee Greg Garner.

Saints could only manage three Myler penalties in response during the first forty minutes, as the sides changed ends with the home side handily placed at 23-9 ahead.

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Their advantage was trimmed to just a converted try in front after James Wilson had crossed Gloucester's line and Myler added the extra points with his boot.

The hosts stretched that lead again as Dan Murphy grabbed a try, but could not shake off the persistent visitors as Wilson claimed his second try of the night to keep the league leaders in the contest. Myler and Laidlaw then landed penalties to keep the match tight, before the crucial intervention of Manoa to bring the tussle to an exciting climax.

The home side thought that they had sealed their victory before Manoa's late try, when Henry Purdy had gone over out wide, but the play was pulled back for an alleged infringement before the try was scored. #Rugby