Gloucester were denied a sensational victory as Stephen Myler converted a late Samu Manoa's try for Saints to reclaim a draw, after being down by a two-converted try margin at half-time. The game began at a ferocious pace and former England fly-half Myler marked his 148th and club-record Premiership appearance with two early penalties to open up a 6-0 lead for the visitors.

However, it did not take long for Gloucester's Greig Laidlaw to follow suit, when Saints twice infringing within kicking range and allowing the Scotland captain to level the scores shortly after the ten-minute mark.

The Cherry and Whites continued with more possession and were 23-9 up at the interval following Laidlaw's three penalties and converted tries from Charlie Sharples and Richard Hibbard.

But after the interval Northampton showed exactly why they are champions and league leaders, as they put the pressure on the hosts.

Myler converted a try from full-back James Wilson in the 43rd minute, to reduce the margin to just seven points. The hosts almost immediately hit back, when Dan Murphy scored a try, and Laidlaw converted. But once again Saints responded, and Wilson grabbed a second try for the visitors three minutes later. It was a sensational effort by the visitors and involved Jamie Elliott and Courtney Lawes, before Wilson went under the sticks.

Myler converted and soon added a penalty to bring the scores to 30-26 with over 20 minutes remaining.

Gloucester went on the charge and thought they had sealed the win five minutes from time, when they eventually earned a penalty, which again Laidlaw converted.

But there was more drama to come in this gripping encounter with Manoa's dramatic last-gasp try, which was converted by the Scottish fly-half one minute before the end of the match.

The result means that Northampton Saints stay at the top, but their lead was cut to nine points. Gloucester slipped to ninth place, 11 points adrift of the fourth-placed Saracens, who will be facing play-off hopefuls on Sunday.