Saints see off battling Gloucester

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Northampton Saints withstood a second-half Gloucester fightback to win an entertaining Premiership encounter 23-20 at Franklin's Gardens on Friday.

Saints were hammered 41-7 by Castres in the European Champions Cup last weekend, but responded with only their third victory in the English top flight this season to move up to fifth.

Greig Laidlaw missed two opportunities to put Gloucester in front from the tee and it was Saints who struck first with a Louis Picamoles try, which was awarded after a referral to the television match official despite doubts over whether the France international grounded the ball before going over.

Stephen Myler became the fifth man to reach the 1,500 Premiership point mark when he converted and the fly-half added another two penalties to put Jim Mallinder's men 13-3 up at the break.

The Cherry and Whites turned the tide after the interval, with Jacob Rowan and Charlie Sharples touching down and Scotland captain Laidlaw making it 20- 16 by taking his tally with the boot to 10.

Saints were not finished yet, though, and Tom Kessell took a superb offload from man-of-the-match Picamoles to go over 11 minutes from time and Myler converted.

James Hook then missed with ambitious penalty attempt in the closing stages, leaving Gloucester with only one Premiership win from seven games this season.