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There’s more Champions Cup action coming your way today with Connacht taking on Gloucester at the Sportsground.

A win is paramount for Andy Friend’s charges as they have lost both of their away fixtures since their opening-round victory over Montpelier.

They need to get back to winning ways today if they are to have a possibility of getting to the knockout stages of the competition.

We’ll have team line-ups for you in the next few moments with kick-off to follow at 12.45.

Here’s how Connacht are named to line out:

15. Jack Carty
14. Niyi Adeolokun
13. Kyle Godwin
12. Bundee Aki
11. John Porch
10. Conor Fitzgerald
9. Caolin Blade

1. Peter McCabe
2. Dave Heffernan
3. Dominic Robertson McCoy
4. Ultan Dillane
5. Joe Maksymiw
6. Eoin McKeon
7. Jarrad Butler (Capt)
8. Paul Boyle

Replacements

16. Shane Delahunt
17. Denis Buckley
18. Finlay Bealham
19. Niall Murray
20. Eoghan Masterson 
21. Stephen Kerins
22. Tom Daly
23. Robin Copeland

There’s one change for Gloucester ahead of kick-off.

Aaron Hinkley replaces Danny Cipriani on the bench. Cipriani is ruled out with illness.

15. Matt Banahan
14. Louis Rees-Zammit
13. Billy Twelvetrees
12. Mark Atkinson
11. Ollie Thorley
10. Lloyd Evans
9. Callum Braley

1. Josh Hohneck
2. Todd Gleave
3. Fraser Balmain
4. Alex Craig
5. Gerbrandt Grobler
6. Freddie Clarke
7. Lewis Ludlow (Capt)
8. Ruan Ackermann

Replacements:

16. Franco Marais
17. Alex Seville
18. Jamal Ford-Robinson
19. Franco Mostert
20. Ben Morgan
21. Joe Simpson
22. Aaron Hinkley
23. Chris Harris

A bit of light reading to get you through the last few minutes before kick-off as The42′s Sean Farrell previews the tie.

We’re just a few minutes away from kick-off now. How do you see this one going?


Poll Results:

Connacht win (161)
Gloucester win (25)
Draw (3)



Connacht 0-0 Gloucester

Gloucester do well at the breakdown in a Connacht maul to win possession and put in for an early scrum. 

Connacht 0-0 Gloucester

Penalty awarded to Gloucester. They’re winning the physical battle in these early minutes of the meeting in Sportsground.

They recycle the ball out wide and build up the phases. A nice carry from Alex Craig follows but Connacht execute the turnover as Bundee Aki wins a penalty off Gloucester full-back Matt Banahan.

Connacht 0-0 Gloucester

Now it’s Connacht’s turn to start working through the phases and try to push forward. And they are awarded a scrum after a knock-on from Ruan Ackermann.

Connacht 0-0 Gloucester

Nice idea from Connacht as Caolin Blade tries to kick the ball through for Niyi Adeolokun to run onto, but it doesn’t come off as the ball goes out for a Gloucester lineout. 

A box-kick eventually ends up in the hands of Adeolokun but they’re pushed back a bit as Kyle Godwin’s pass goes astray. 

Connacht v Gloucester

Connacht’s Eoin McKeon is given a yellow card for a deliberate foot trip as Gloucester try to take a quick penalty.

That’s a big blow for the hosts so early in the game. 

Connacht 0-0 Gloucester

Very close for Connacht there!

Again, Niyi Adeolokun is lurking on the wing in search of a try. He tries to get on the end of a cross kick from Jack Carty but the ball just bounces out before he can get there.

But there’s a penalty for Connacht coming up now.

Flag

Connacht 3-0 Gloucester

And Conor Fitzgerald splits the posts with ease to put his side in front.

19Mins

Connacht 3-0 Gloucester

Connacht try a chip and chase but it fails to come off. The crowd are not happy as they feel there was a deliberate knock-on to halt the play.

Fitzgerald kicks the ball into touch and they get the rolling maul moving.

Flag 23Mins

Connacht 3-0 Gloucester 

NO TRY!

Connacht’s Blade looked to have grounded the ball and referee Romain Poite seemed to be confident that it was a try but it’s ruled out after checking with the TMO and Gloucester kick the ball clear from the resultant penalty.

Bizarre few moments there. Gloucester did very well to get a turnover inside their own five-metre line but didn’t opt to kick and ended up putting themselves under severe pressure which led to Blade’s attempted try. 

27Mins

Connacht 3-0 Gloucester 

Fitzgerald sends a penalty to the corner instead of kicking at the posts. Connacht obviously looking to try and get a bonus point win here today.

To the maul we go. 

29Mins

Connacht 3-0 Gloucester 

Connacht work through the phases and spread the ball out wide to John Porch. The ball is knocked out of his hand but we’re going back for another scrum as Todd Gleave is dismissed to the sin-bin with a yellow card. 

Flag

Connacht 10-0 Gloucester 

Connacht finally get the try they’ve been working hard to earn. Again it’s Blade who reaches over the tryline. The referee checks with the TMO, and this time there’s no denying the score to the hosts.

Fitzgerald taps over the conversion. 

Connacht have also been forced to make a change as Tom Daly comes on for Adeolokun and Godwin moves to the wing.

33Mins

Connacht 10-0 Gloucester 

Now it’s Connacht who are under pressure as Gloucester work their way inside the Connacht five-metre line.

Flag 36Mins

Connacht 10-7 Gloucester 

The visitors hit back as Gerbrandt Grobler dives over for their first try. Billy Twelvetrees follows it up with the conversion and that’s a big blow for Connacht who had to work so hard for their try.

We’re inside the final five minutes of the first half at the Sportsground. 

39Mins

Connacht 10-7 Gloucester 

Another great piece of defensive work from Aki to win a penalty for Connacht and give Fitzgerald a chance to send the ball to the corner again.

The Ireland international does so well in the ruck to keep his body position low and get the turnover.

41Mins

Connacht 10-7 Gloucester 

The hosts get up as far as the tryline but the referee blows the whistle to signal that they were held up and we’ll be going back for a scrum.

Connacht 10-7 Gloucester 

The home fans aren’t happy as Poite brings the first half to an end. Connacht have their noses in front through that Blade try and penalty from Fitzgerald.

But Gloucester are still breathing down their necks with a try from Grobler. 

The story of the first half 

dominic-robertson-mccoy-and-gerbrandt-grobler-14122019 Source: James Crombie/INPHO

jack-carty-and-conor-fitzgerald-with-billy-twelvetrees-14122019 Source: James Crombie/INPHO

ultan-dillane-14122019 Source: James Crombie/INPHO

ultan-dillane-and-lewis-ludlow-14122019 Source: James Crombie/INPHO

dominic-robertson-mccoy-and-gerbrandt-grobler-14122019 Source: James Crombie/INPHO

40Mins

Kick-Off: Connacht 10-7 Gloucester 

The second half is underway at the Sportsground. 

42Mins

Connacht 10-7 Gloucester 

Early change for Connacht: Peter McCabe is off and Denis Buckley comes into the action. 

43Mins

Connacht 10-7 Gloucester 

Good line from Grobler as he breaks through the line and looked on course to get the tryline. But the pass is forward.

Connacht will put in for the scrum. 

48Mins

Connacht 10-7 Gloucester 

Gloucester turnover!

Superb work from the visitors. Connacht came knocking on the door for a second try and were working patiently through the phases. Tom Daly featured quite well for them but Gloucester’s defence refused to yield. 

54Mins

Connacht 10-12 Gloucester 

Shocking from Connacht there. Godwin throws a hospital pass across the line inside Connacht territory and Mark Atkinson reaches in to snatch the ball and stride over the line.

Tweletrees misses the conversion from a very kicakble position. 

56Mins

Connacht 10-12 Gloucester 

Huge chance for Connacht there!

Dave Heffernan tries to power over the line for a try but he knocks the ball on at the last second.

Flag 59Mins

Connacht 13-12 Gloucester 

A third penalty for Connacht in the last four minutes. This time Fitzgerald opts to go for the posts from a short distance out and puts his side back in front. 

61Mins

Connacht 10-12 Gloucester 

So many errors committed in this game. Twelvetrees concedes a scrum from the kick-off after that penalty as he moves off the line too early.

Connacht have a chance to go on the attack again. 

63Mins

Connacht 13-12 Gloucester 

Ultan Dillane does well to rise highest and intercept a Gloucester lineout. Daly pops the ball off to Fitzgerald but he’s held up. Carty eventually finds touch with a kick. 

65Mins

Connacht 10-12 Gloucester

Fitzgerald tries a grubber kick to try and send Aki through but ends up finding touch instead.

The ball takes a touch off a Gloucester player so Connacht put in for the lineout but it’s not long before they lose possession. 

Flag 68Mins

Connacht 13-19 Gloucester

Gloucester crash in for another try.

A great bit of skill from Louis Rees-Zammit who releases a lovely pass from behind his back to send the captain Lewis Ludlow in for a try at the corner.

Twelvetrees adds the extras to extend their lead to six.

72Mins

Connacht 13-24 Gloucester

And that’s the bonus point secured for the visitors. They exploit the tired bodies in Connacht’s defence and race in for their fourth try, with Atkinson showing some good skills to evade a tackle at the tryline and touch down.

Twelvetrees misses the conversion but it’s hard to see Connacht coming back from this.

75Mins

Connacht 13-24 Gloucester

Yellow card for Ludlow meaning Gloucester will finish the game with 14 men. Connacht go on the rolling maul again.

79Mins

Connacht 20-24 Gloucester

Connacht strike back through substitute Shane Delahunt. Fitzgerald’s conversion cuts the gap to four with just two minutes left.

Surely not?

81Mins

Connacht 27-24 Gloucester

Can you believe that???

Connacht, who looked dead and buried five minutes ago, have rallied with two quickfire tries to snatch a vital win at the death. 

Unbelievable stuff from Robin Copeland to get the offload and sprint through for the match-winning try which Fitzgerald follows up with the conversion.

Connacht 27-24 Gloucester

Well that was something else!

Fantastic late rally from Connacht to get the win and keep their Champions Cup hopes alive. It wasn’t a bonus-point win but it’s a huge relief for Andy Friend’s side who looked to be on the way out.

Bundee Aki deservedly gets the man-of-the-match award after a brilliant and brave display.

Well that’s all for now folks. There’s more Champions Cup goodness coming up as Saracens take on Munster. Adrian Russell will be bringing you through that coverage here.

Before you go, have a look at Sean Farrell’s report from the Sportsground here. 

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