Gloucester keep Champions Cup hopes alive
CHAMPIONS CUP REPORT: Gloucester collected all five points as they were too strong for Connacht in a 26-17 Champions Cup Pool Five victory on Sunday at Kingsholm Stadium.
Tom Marshall gave Gloucester the perfect start as he broke the Connacht line with a nice step and then beat the last man with another delightful jink, putting the hosts 7-0 up after five minutes.
Connacht replied almost immediately through John Porch, who made a crucial intercept just and seconds later he collected a neat offload from Jack Carty before darting towards the posts for the equalising score.
On the 20 minute mark, Connacht nudged ahead as Carty slots over the three-pointer for what was the final points of the first half despite plenty of pressure from the hosts.
But it only took seven minutes in the second half for Gloucester to eventually make the pressure tell. It was a wonderful intercept from Danny Cipriani who read a Connacht pass inside his own 22 and sprinted away before handing to Louis Rees-Zammit who dived over the tryline.
Connacht’s Kyle Godwin saw yellow on the hour mark and the hosts immediately used that advantage and scored. It was a well-worked scrum, releasing Simpson who created the overlap and found Tom Marshall who sold the dummy and dived over the try line for his second of the match.
Three minutes later, Joe Simpson picked the gap in the Connacht line and that stretched the away side’s defence, freeing up Jake Polledri to find another hole and sprinted through for the bonus-point try
Quinn Roux would grabs a consolation try for Connacht but it was to no avail as Gloucester grabbed all five points, with the sides meeting again next weekend in a pivotal Round Four encounter.
Tries: Marshall 2, Rees-Zammit, Polledri
Cons: Cipriani 3
Tries: Porch, Roux
Cons: Carty, Fitzgerald
Yellow cards: Kyle Godwin (Connacht, 59) Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester, 73)
Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ben Morgan (captain), 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Alex Craig, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Matt Banahan.
Connacht: 15 John Porch, 14 Niyi Adeolokun, 13 Bundee Aki, 12 Peter Robb, 11 Kyle Godwin, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Caolin Blade, 8 Jarrad Butler (captain), 7 Colby Fainga’a, 6 Eoghan Masterson, 5 Quinn Roux, 4 Joe Maksymiw, 3 Finlay Bealham, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Matthew Burke, 18 Dominic Robertson McCoy, 19 Ultan Dillane, 20 Robin Copeland, 21 Stephen Kerins, 22 Conor Fitzgerald, 23 Tom Daly.
Referee: Pascal Gaüzère (France)
Assistant referees: Maxime Chalon (France), Pierre-Baptiste Nuchy (France)
TMO: Éric Gauzins (France)