Myler boots Saints to victory against Gloucester

Kahn Fotuali'i was in action for Saints against Gloucester (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)
Kahn Fotuali'i was in action for Saints against Gloucester (pictures: Kirsty Edmonds)

Stephen Myler landed five penalties to propel Saints to a 15-3 victory against Gloucester at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night.

The fly-half made the most of his side’s forward dominance to deliver a second Aviva Premiership success of the season for Jim Mallinder’s men.

Gloucester could only respond through a solitary Billy Twelvetrees effort on a night when the inclement weather wreaked havoc.

Saints had gone into the game on a high following back-to-back Champions Cup wins, with the most recent coming at Glasgow Warriors last Saturday.

That 26-15 success was built on a brilliant performance from the pack, and the Northampton forwards continued in that impressive vein against Gloucester.

The Cherry and Whites lost the power battle on their own put-in early on, and from the resulting penalty Myler put Saints ahead.

Mike Haywood was named man of the match (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

Mike Haywood was named man of the match (picture: Kirsty Edmonds)

From the next scrum, Mallinder’s men again had too much for their opponents and that gave them a platform on which to construct another attack.

John Afoa offended and Myler easily landed the penalty to double his team’s lead.

The scrum was starting to become a real worry for Gloucester and after they again infringed, Myler struck his third three-pointer of the night.

Such was the extent of Saints’ scrum dominance that visiting loosehead Paddy McAllister was hauled off after just 23 minutes.

Gloucester immedately replied, winning a penalty from a maul, with Twelvetrees just getting enough on the kick to earn his team’s first points.

He had the chance to add another penalty on 32 minutes, but failed with the effort that came after Tom Wood had hauled down an impressive Gloucester surge.

Wood was sent to the sin bin, leaving Saints to play the remainder of the first half with 14 men, but with the rain and wind continuing to cause problems, there were no further scores.

The formative stages of the second half were similarly low-key, with neither team able to put any concerted pressure on the opposition.

Jonny May almost broke the monotony as he sprinted from inside his own 22, but the impressive Ben Foden showed pace and composure as he gathered May’s kick ahead.

Saints desperately needed a spark at the other end and they threw JJ Hanrahan into the mix at centre with 22 minutes to go.

Victor Matfield also entered the action for his debut, with no propaganda needed to bring a huge roar from the Saints faithful as the classy South African lock ran on.

Matfield, donning a Saints scrum cap as bright as a salamander, was soon wriggling forward, helping his team to claim a penalty, which Myler landed.

And the fly-half quickly added another to the tally to take the game away from Gloucester, with Saints boasting a 12-point lead with 14 minutes to go.

Myler did eventually miss, but Saints were firmly on the front foot and Cherry and Whites prop Yann Thomas was sent to the sin bin before the end.

Gloucester almost gave away a late try, but a knock on prevented Saints claiming it and they made do with a vital victory.

Saints: Foden; Tuala, G Pisi, Burrell (Hanrahan 58), North; Myler, Fotuali’i (Dickson 50); A Waller (E Waller 68), Haywood (Williams 76), Brookes (Hill 68); Paterson (Matfield 58), Day; Gibson (Harrison 68), Wood (c), Dickinson.

Gloucester: Cook; Sharples, Meakes (Purdy 67), Hook, May; Twelvetrees (c), Heinz (Laidlaw 57); McAllister (Thomas 23), Hibbard (Dawidiuk 65), Afoa (Doran-Jones 58); Savage (Galarza (51), Thrush; Moriarty, Kvesic, Morgan (Kalamafoni 51).

Referee: Greg Garner

Attendance: 14,893