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Gloucester squeezes into last eight

MATCH REPORT: Fullback Santiago Carreras kicked Gloucester to a 30-25 win over Castres Olympique in their Challenge Cup Round of 16 clash.

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Carreras kicked three penalties and converted all three of the Premiership team’s tries, as a buoyant Kingsholm began to dream of a potential trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 24 for the Challenge Cup Final.

On first impressions, it seemed Castres Olympique had not read the script.

Fullback Julien Dumora finished off a flowing move, with flyhalf Pierre Popelin converting as the Top 14 team took an early lead.

But scores from No.8 Zach Mercer, wing Jonny May and centre Max Llewellyn turned the game on its head.

Carreras kicked all three conversions, while Popelin secured three points for the visitors just before half-time to leave them, 10-21 down at the break.

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Popelin also gave Castres the first points of the second period from the tee, but Carreras responded with two penalties of his own.

Castres struck back with a converted score from replacement Loris Zarantonello, but another Carreras penalty eased any growing tensions amongst the home fans.

The Top 14 team went over for a consolation score through wing Josaia Raisuqe with the clock in the red, but the Kingsholm crowd celebrated nonetheless.

Gloucester will play one of Ospreys and Sale Sharks in a Challenge Cup quarterfinal next week.

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The scorers

For Gloucester
Tries: Mercer, May, Llewellyn
Cons: Carreras 3
Pens: Carreras 3

For Castres
Tries: Dumora, Zarantonello, Raisuqe
Cons: Popelin 2
Pens: Popelin 2

Teams:

Gloucester: 15 Santi Carreras, 14 Jonny May, 13 Max Llewellyn, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Caolan Englefield, 8 Zach Mercer, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Ruan Ackermann (captain), 5 Freddie Thomas, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev, 2 Santi Socino, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Adam McBurney, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Albert Tuisue, 21 Jack Clement, 22 Stephen Varney, 23 Chris Harris

Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Martin Laveau, 13 Adrien Seguret, 12 Andrea Cocagi, 11 Nathanael Hulleu, 10 Pierre Popelin, 9 Santiago Arata, 8 Abraham Papalii, 7 Nick Champion de Crespigny, 6 Mathieu Babillot (captain), 5 Tom Staniforth, 4 Gauthier Maravat, 3 Aurelien Azar, 2 Gaetan Barlot, 1 Wayan de Benedittis
Replacements: 16 Pierre Colonna, 17 Antoine Tichit, 18 Esteban Talalua, 19 Florent Vanverberghe, 20 Yann Peysson, 21 Jeremy Fernandez, 22 Vilimoni Botitu, 23 Josaia Raisuqe

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Keane Davison (Ireland), Robbie Jenkinson (Ireland)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)

Source: @ChallengeCup

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