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Rees-Zammit takes seconds to send message to Wales in fightback win

By PA
Louis Rees-Zammit (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Louis Rees-Zammit inspired a stunning Gloucester fightback as they kept themselves firmly in the Gallagher Premiership play-off mix by beating Northampton 35-30 at Kingsholm.

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The Wales wing had been on for barely a minute as a second-half substitute when he conjured a magical solo try that underpinned Gloucester’s fightback from 27-14 adrift.

Gloucester also claimed a penalty try, and there were touchdowns for prop Harry Elrington, centre Tom Seabrook and lock Santiago Socino, with fly-half Adam Hastings kicking four conversions.

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Le French Rugby Podcast – Episode 19

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Le French Rugby Podcast – Episode 19

It was Northampton’s fourth successive league defeat – their worst sequence since December 2020.

Saints’ first Premiership win since they toppled Worcester five weeks ago looked to be secured by tries from centres Matt Proctor and Fraser Dingwall, plus a brilliant second-half touchdown by wing Tom Collins.

Wales captain Dan Biggar warmed up for next Friday’s Guinness Six Nations appointment with title favourites France by converting all three touchdowns among a 15-point haul.

But Gloucester were not to be denied, leaving Saints shell-shocked as they continued their impressive resurgence under head coach George Skivington.

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Rees-Zammit, who missed out on Wales selection for last weekend’s Six Nations clash against England, was again among Gloucester’s replacements, while number eight Ruan Ackermann captained a team that included starts for scrum-half Ben Meehan and hooker Santiago Socino.

Biggar featured among three Saints changes, with Scotland international centre Rory Hutchinson lining up at full-back and Karl Wilkins called into the back-row.

The visitors made a terrible start, falling behind after just three minutes, and they only had themselves to blame.

Hooker Sam Matavesi chose to throw long at a lineout just five metres from Northampton’s line, but it only found Elrington, who accepted the gift and crashed over for a try that Hastings converted.

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Biggar missed a chance to cut Saints’ deficit when he drifted an eighth-minute penalty attempt wide, but Northampton dominated in terms of territory and he made amends midway through the first half through a successful 30-metre strike.

Northampton had the bit between their teeth and relentless pressure was rewarded through their opening try 13 minutes before half-time.

Saints’ forwards made repeated attempts to buckle Gloucester’s defensive resistance before they spun possession wide and Proctor scored, with Biggar’s conversion putting Northampton three points ahead.

A second Biggar penalty put daylight between the teams before Northampton claimed a second try when scrum-half Alex Mitchell’s short pass found skipper Dingwall, who finished off.

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Biggar’s conversion opened up a healthy 20-7 advantage, but Saints were undone just two minutes later as Seabrook claimed an opportunist try that Hastings converted to put Gloucester back in contention.

But Northampton lit up the third quarter with a clear contender for Premiership try of the season.

There appeared to be nothing on when wing Courtnall Skosan threw out a long pass from deep inside his own 22, yet Saints attacked with menace through Hutchinson and Biggar before Hutchinson sent Collins sprinting clear as he completed a thrilling 90-metre move.

Biggar’s conversion opened up a 13-point gap, and just when Gloucester needed some inspiration, it arrived in the form of Rees-Zammit.

His first touch of the ball saw him shred Northampton’s defence on a mesmeric solo run, and his try – converted by Hastings – saw Gloucester reduce their arrears to 27-21 with 17 minutes left.

Gloucester’s forwards then took up the challenge, and when they drove a lineout relentlessly towards Northampton’s line, referee Ian Tempest awarded them a penalty try.

Tempest also yellow-carded Saints prop Emmanuel Iyogun for collapsing the maul as Gloucester went ahead, while also enjoying a temporary one-man advantage.

A long-range Biggar penalty edged Saints back in front, but Gloucester were not finished and they claimed a winning try six minutes from time when Socino crossed.

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J
Jon 5 minutes ago
How Maro Itoje terrorised the All Blacks lineout

Yeah England were much smarter, they put their much vaster experience to use in both the scrum (bending/not taking hit) and lineout (Itoje early sacks) law vagaries. Really though, I know what is there, I’m more worried about Englands locks. We only got to see Itoje and Martin, right? Depth allround in the England camp was probably the difference in the series and the drop off when Itoje reached his minutes limit for the season (it was like the plug was pulled from the charger) was up their with keeping Sexton on the park in that quarter final. What happened there? You have a lot of watching hours experience with locks come blindsides Nick, especially with a typical Australian player make up, have you see a six the size of Barrett absolutely dominate the position and his opposition? I can easily see Scott, and even Martin for that matter, moving to the blindside and playing like Tadgh Beirne with the amount of top locks we have coming through to partner Patrick. Still with the English mindset, because despite running the best All Black team I’ve seen in a long time close, they do need to find improvement, and although I thought they had a lot of good performances from their 7’s, I really like the prospect of Cunningham-South in his 8 spot and Earl on the open. Can you see Martin as mobile enough to take over Lawes? I absolutely loved his aggression when Jordie ran upto him to try and grab the ball. That alone is enough reason for me to try him there.

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s
sean 2 hours ago
The bite don't match the bark

Yeah, he has a few good points… I disagree that our 7s haven't done anything, we won Bronze in 2016, and we were virtually unplayable to the backend of the “teens” winning the series. 7s is far more competitive globally than Union, so it's fair to say we haven't dominated, but we are almost always contenders. But I do agree that our national side doesn't perform nearly as well as it should between World Cups, and I do agree that our supporters can be too passionate and the opitimity of what Rugby stands against. I have said so many times. And I also believe some context needs to be taken into account with Saturday's win for Ireland. They're a really good team! Settled coaching staff, and bar a few legends retiring, they've had a full season and plenty of time together. We have some youngsters being groomed for the future, have played only 3 games now under a new coaching team with new philosophies and game plans. I'm excited by what the future of this team holds, as much as I am disappointed by the result. But unlike this article suggests, I am never going to take away from what Ireland has achieved, is achieving, and where they're heading. As a Rugby fan, I love the tight games, like the last two weekends. As a Bok Super Fan, I agree we don't perform as well as we should. And as an aside, you come play a game at 7am on our fields, bud. -2°c and frost on the field that is as hard as concrete…. Then we’ll see just how tough you are. Well done Ireland! They played well, and gave our boys a lot to think about. That's what you want from the top two teams in the world. Rugby won. The fans of this greatbsport won. A'n bullshit like this article is why Rugby is losing its identity. I don't like soccer. This article perpetuates the soccer influences the game of Rugby is starting to see. It's why Wayne Barnes retired, feared for his family, and he isn't the only ref to say so. I have called out many Bok fans for being an embarrassment to the game, and I will continue to do so. Rugbypass.com, this article is close to the same bullshit. You should be better.

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