Gloucester claimed a thrilling 40-31 win against Northampton, joining the victorius Exeter, Wasps, Saracens, Bath and Sale in the English Premiership.
This was Gloucester’s first win in Northampton since 2013 and it consolidated their place in the top three. The result was enabled by star performances from the club’s South African quartet of Franco Marais, Franco Mostert, Ruan Ackermann and Jaco Kriel.
Marais and Ackermann each scored one of Gloucester’s six tries, while Mostert anchored the lineout, with 100% receipt at the set piece, and made the most tackles in the match (19).
Kriel’s destructive running game was on display, with the flank chalking up 61m – more than any other forward – to go with his two try assists.
A hat-trick by centre Mark Atkinson, coupled with Ackermann’s try put Gloucester 26-19 up at the break. Atkinson achieved the first first-half hat-trick by a Gloucester player in Premiership history.
Both sides added two more tries after the break, including Marais’ effort for Gloucester.
In other results, the Exeter Chiefs continued to set the pace at the top of the log with a 52-20 hammering of the Leicester Tigers, Wasps beat the Worcester Warriors 28-16, Saracens overturned a one-point half-time deficit to beat the Newcastle Falcons 26-12, Bath beat rivals the Bristol Bears 26-19 and the Sale Sharks inflicted a 28-17 defeat on Harlequins.
Round 18 results:
Northampton Saints 31 Gloucester 40
Leicester Tigers 20 Exeter Chiefs 52
Wasps 28 Worcester Warriors 16
Saracens 26 Newcastle Falcons 12
Bath 26 Bristol Bears 19
Sale Sharks 28 Harlequins 17