Northampton Saints fans were left seething following a controversial ending to one of the most talked about matches of round 3 in the Aviva Premiership, as Gloucester snatched a 26-24 victory with a late penalty goal at Kingsholm.
Gloucester claimed their first win of the season despite looking dead and buried after George North sparked a brilliant Saints counter-attack that ended in a Jamie Elliot sprint for the line. The try of the season candidate seemed to be the match winner, but controversy followed.
A number of players appeared to be in front of the kicker at the restart, but it wasn’t picked up and Saints knocked on. With the clock well into injury time, referee Martin Fox awarded a scrum penalty to the hosts, which Billy Twelvetrees duly slotted.
“It is a shame when games are decided by the referee in the last couple of minutes,” said Northampton Saints coach Jim Mallinder. “We were disappointed when we had the change of referee at short notice, but sometimes that happens.
“What we have got to make sure of is that we control what we can control. The refs are out of our hands. My reading of the scrum at the end, particularly the second scrum, was that we had control of the ball, so the reset should have been our put-in. I don’t want to say any more, really.
“I have taken my frustration out – I kicked whatever was at the side of the pitch. We came close, we will win some and we will lose some. Clearly, the penalty count didn’t go in our favour.”
Controversy aside, we saw a fantastic try by Saints as Elliot crossed, and a brilliant bit of play from James Simpson-Daniel to set up young Gloucester lock Elliot Stooke.