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Los Pumas star leads Gloucester to victory over Northampton

By PA
Santiago Carreras of Gloucester is held by Fin Smith during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Northampton Saints at Kingsholm Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

A scintillating performance by Argentina international Santiago Carreras inspired Gloucester to a 34-19 victory over Northampton at Kingsholm.

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Carreras was one of the Cherry and Whites’ four try-scorers as he finished with a personal haul of 19 points to ensure his side moved up three places to fourth in the Gallagher Premiership.

They leapfrogged their visitors in the process as Saints endured a disappointing evening in their last league fixture of 2022, and their indiscipline played a part in their undoing yet again.

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Northampton began on the front foot and it needed a smart interception by Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan from Alex Mitchell’s pass metres from his own try-line to relieve some early pressure from the visitors.

Instead, it was Gloucester who opened the scoring after 13 minutes when their captain Lewis Ludlow did well to gather Carreras’ pass over his head before off-loading for Jack Singleton to score.

Saints’ response was swift, however, as Fin Smith spotted a big overlap on the left and flung a long pass out for Tommy Freeman to go over, with Smith adding the conversion to level.

Four minutes later Freeman had his second when he crossed to his opposite wing to sprint clear off James Ramm’s pass and finished in the right-hand corner for an unconverted try.

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It did not take long for the Cherry and Whites to regain the lead as Carreras weaved his way through a fractured Northampton defence before off-loading to give Chris Harris and easy finish, then adding the extras.

The fly-half then had a try for himself to extend the lead to 21-12, meeting minimal resistance on his way through after Morgan had picked up and run off the back of a scrum.

Smith missed a penalty for Northampton on the stroke of half-time and another good opportunity passed the visitors by when tighthead Paul Hill knocked on just a few metres from the line.

The second half proved to be a stop-start affair, partly caused by Saints repeatedly being penalised, which eventually led to Ludlam being sin-binned with an hour played.

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Almost immediately Gloucester had their bonus point when Fraser Balmain was helped over the line by a couple of his team-mates after the initial rolling maul had been repelled.

The hosts were in full control and it was effectively game over when Carreras kicked a penalty, even though the Cherry and Whites finished with 14 men after Ruan Ackermann’s yellow card.

In his absence, Saints were able to pull a try back when Mitchell’s deft pass sent Ramm clear to score under the posts, but it was fitting that Carreras had the final say for Gloucester with a late penalty.

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