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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 18 January, 2019
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Good evening and welcome along to our live coverage of tonight’s Heineken Champions Cup clash between Gloucester and Munster from Kingsholm.

The race for the quarter-finals intensifies this weekend as we enter the penultimate round of pool action, with Johann van Graan’s side bidding to take a big step towards the knockout stages this evening.

Munster head into this round five encounter top of Pool 2 but it’s particularly tight in this group, with all four clubs still mathematically in contention to advance. 

The southern province are in pole position to advance but Exeter Chiefs’ win at Gloucester in December now means just four points separate top and bottom.

It’s all to play for and we’re set for a big evening of European rugby under Friday night lights at Kingsholm. Kick off is at 7.45pm. 

TEAM NEWS: The home side have been able to name a number of players returning from injury in their starting XV tonight, including out-half Danny Cipriani.

The England international was sent off at Thomond Park in the round two meeting between the sides but returns to boost the Premiership outfit, as they look to keep their chances of progression alive.

Other changes from the side that started at Welford Road against the Leicester Tigers last weekend see Henry Walker come in at hooker, Franco Mostert move to the blindside flank from the second row with Ed Slater taking Mostert’s place in the engine room and Lewis Ludlow back at openside flanker.

Ben Morgan captains Gloucester, while Gerbrandt Grobler comes up against his former side.

Gloucester:

15. Tom Hudson
14. Charlie Sharples
13. Billy Twelvetrees
12. Mark Atkinson
11. Ollie Thorley
10. Danny Cipriani
9. Callum Braley

1. Josh Hohneck
2. Henry Walker
3. Fraser Balmain
4. Ed Slater
5. Gerbrandt Grobler
6. Franco Mostert
7. Lewis Ludlow
8. Ben Morgan (captain)

Replacements:

16. Franco Marais
17. Alex Seville
18. Ciaran Knight
19. Freddie Clarke
20. Gareth Evans
21. Ben Vellacott
22. Owen Williams
23. Henry Trinder.

TEAM NEWS: As for Munster, the big news is that Chris Farrell is fit to start in midfield after an injury scare in Galway last weekend. 

Van Graan has been able to name a near full-strength side for tonight’s game, with Chris Cloete the only notable absentee after he failed to shake off injury. 

Tommy O’Donnell instead takes up the openside slot alongside Peter O’Mahony and CJ Stander.

Conor Murray partners Joey Carbery at half-back while Mike Haley is recalled to form a back three with Keith Earls and Andrew Conway.

Rhys Marshall has returned from injury and heads up the replacements ahead of what will be his first appearance since the October win over Gloucester in Thomond Park. 

Munster:

15. Mike Haley
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Rory Scannell
11. Keith Earls
10. Joey Carbery
9. Conor Murray

1. Dave Kilcoyne
2. Niall Scannell
3. Stephen Archer
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Tadhg Beirne
6. Peter O’Mahony (captain)
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. CJ Stander

Replacements:

16. Rhys Marshall
17. Jeremy Loughman
18. John Ryan
19. Billy Holland
20. Arno Botha
21. Alby Mathewson
22. Tyler Bleyendaal
23. Dan Goggin.

Munster have arrived at Kingsholm.

Keith Earls arrives Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Conor Murray arrives Source: Inpho

Johann van Graan Source: Inpho

AS IT STANDS: Munster were beaten 13-12 by Castres in December to end their unbeaten record in this season’s competition, but they remain top of Pool 2 with 12 points.

Gloucester, on the other hand, are bottom with eight points, but they could overtake Munster with a bonus-point success tonight. Exeter host Castres on Sunday. It’s tight.

Screen Shot 2019-01-11 at 19.08.30

Munster have won each of their last five meetings with Gloucester, those victories all coming by more than 12 points — but which way do you see this one going?


Poll Results:





A little under half an hour until we get underway, and the atmosphere is really building at Kingsholm. To whet your appetite further, here are some of our pre-match offerings:

The Munster fans have taken over the Kingsholm Shed.

Munster fans ahead of the game Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

John and Lorraine O'Brien ahead of the game Source: Inpho

Munster fans ahead of the game Source: Inpho

Bernard O'Riordan, Barry Lyon, Aidan Lynch and Phillip Lyon Source: Inpho

Ryan Bailey here guiding you through all the actions as it happens, while Murray Kinsella is in position at Kingsholm. The game is live on BT Sport if you’re near a TV.

Chris Farrell had a fairly prominent strapping on that right knee but he looked to be moving freely enough in the warm-up. The teams are back in the sheds and we’re minutes away from kick-off. 

Ben Morgan and Peter O’Mahony lead their respective sides out of the compact and old-school Kingsholm tunnel, as one of the great European venues crackles with atmosphere and intensity under Friday night lights. Munster are wearing their alternate kit for this one.

2Mins

1 mins – Grobler, the former Munster second row, gets on the end of Cipriani’s hanging kick-off and Gloucester are into attacking mode from the off. The hosts win a penalty, and the out-half kicks for the corner. 

2Mins

2 mins – Gloucester showing their intent from the off, but Tadhg Beirne gets up to put pressure on at the lineout and the Munster pack did brilliantly to stand firm and win the turnover. 

2Mins

2 mins – The sides get to know each other early doors and Romain Poite has to step in and calm things down. From the scrum, Munster get another huge win as they earn the penalty, which Carbery launches down the line. 

4Mins

4 mins – It’s bubbling nicely out there. Murray’s box-kick is fumbled by Hudson and Munster have the scrum just inside their own half on the far side — and then the visitors win a free-kick for an early shove. 

6Mins

6 mins – Prime attacking platform here for the province, as Charlie Sharples grasses another towering Munster kick deep into Gloucester territory. Murray to feed. 

7Mins

7 mins – It’s scrappy as Gloucester — charged up in defence — repel the early threat as Henry Walker hits his opposite number, Niall Scannell, and forces the Munster hooker to knock the ball on in contact. There’s plenty of needle between these two sides.

10Mins

10 mins — This is dangerous. First sight of Gloucester’s lethal backline, as the hosts very nearly cut Munster apart down the left. Cipriani is at the heart of it, dropping deep and catching the visitors narrow, but Thorley knocks on the final pass out wide. 

Flag 14Mins

13 mins — Penalty! Gloucester 3-0 Munster (Twelvetrees)

After a period of sustained pressure, the home side have the first points on the board through the boot of Billy Twelvetrees after Beirne was penalised by Poite. 

16Mins

16 mins – Good response from Munster. Carbery takes the ball to the line and stabs through a clever grubber when the options were limited out wide. It’s perfectly-weighted and sits up invitingly for Conway, who is just beaten to the ball by Thorley, before Gloucester scramble back and clear the danger. 

18Mins

18 mins – Munster asking questions of the Gloucester defence through a multi-phase passage of play. Carbery with lovely hands to keep the ball moving out wide, before the forwards keep it tight and bring it back in field. Into the 14th phase and they’re inching closer to the striking zone.

19Mins

19 mins — And Carbery now has the chance to bring Munster level as Ludlow is blatantly offside as he looked to dive on the loose ball. 

19Mins

19 mins — Penalty! Gloucester 3-3 Munster (Carbery)

And the out-half makes no mistake from the tee. Munster are level. 

21Mins

21 mins – Gloucester are struggling to field Murray’s box-kicking as Hudson fumbles another one inside the Munster half, and then the province’s scrum turns the screw again to win a penalty.

23Mins

23 mins – Off the lineout, Stander crashes through midfield as he makes a big carry and Munster are motoring now. Farrell looks to bludgeon his way over from close-range but is stopped just short, but there are numbers wide for the visitors…

24Mins

24 mins — TRY! Gloucester 3-10 Munster (Carbery)

And Munster are over! Murray delays the pass from under the posts and it opens up beautifully for Carbery to dive over and give Johann van Graan’s side the lead for the first time tonight. 

25Mins

25 mins – Munster are pumped up, and all the momentum is with them at the moment. Beirne wins a penalty on the ground and Stander roars in delight as the second row gets over the ball to earn the turnover. Carbery is calling for the tee.

Flag 27Mins

26 mins — Penalty! Gloucester 3-13 Munster (Carbery)

And Carbery strikes it sweetly and Munster’s lead is out to 10 points. 

28Mins

28 mins — Munster are on top in all facets and just as the hosts looked to regain a stranglehold, O’Mahony puts the Gloucester jumper under huge pressure at the lineout and it’s knocked on. Another vital turnover.

30Mins

30 mins – Another solid scrum from the Munster pack provides the platform for Murray to send it out to Carbery, who whips it to Rory Scannell, and he uses his big left boot to bring play up to halfway on the far side. Munster are firmly in big-game mode.

32Mins

32 mins – The error count is rising for Gloucester, as they’re pinged again at the lineout. Frustration for the hosts and director of rugby David Humphreys.

33Mins

33 mins – Poite has penalised the Gloucester front row again as they concede a third scrum penalty — and the French official wants a word with Ben Morgan, who is warned a card is coming. Carbery, meanwhile, launches the penalty down the touchline. 

34Mins

34 mins – Kleyn gathers Scannell’s throw and after the maul is brought down, Kilcoyne and Stander put the head down and carry into contact — but Gloucester stand firm and Atkinson intercepts to relieve the pressure. 

35Mins

35 mins – What’s new?

39Mins

39 mins – Oh dear. Tom Hudson spills another Murray box-kick under little or no pressure from the chasers. The Gloucester fullback hasn’t enjoyed his best half. 

40Mins

40 mins – The clock is deep in the red but Munster are probing through 17 phases of possession. 

40Mins

40 mins – Munster are inching their way closer…

Flag 40Mins

40 mins — TRY! Gloucester 3-20 Munster (Rory Scannell)

Incredible discipline in possession from Munster as they remain patient through a huge swathe of phases, before Scannell shows incredible strength to burst through and finish under the sticks. Carbery adds the extras. 

Flag 40Mins

Half-time Gloucester 3-20 Munster

Superb ball retention, and that try was a thing of beauty from van Graan’s side.

Munster are in complete control at Kingsholm as they’ve dominated up front and at the set-piece, with Carbery and Scannell crossing for first-half tries. The bonus point is there for the taking.

40Mins

What did you make of that first half?

41Mins

KICK-OFF! We’re back underway at Kingsholm — but Joey Carbery’s chipped restart doesn’t go 10 and it’s a Gloucester scrum on halfway. 

42Mins

42 mins – The first mistake of Carbery’s night could prove costly as Gloucester turn the screw at the set-piece for the first time, allowing Cipriani to send a booming kick deep into Munster territory. The hosts need to make this count. 

44Mins

43 mins – But Munster are working brilliantly in defence and after initially disrupting ball on the far side, the blue shirts are getting through Trojan work in contact to shut the door firmly on the Premiership side. Excellent stuff from JVG’s men. 

44Mins

44 mins – Gloucester aren’t really going anywhere but Farrell plays the ball on the floor and concedes the penalty.

45Mins

45 mins – Munster are forced to scramble but they’re back into their defensive shape so quickly as they continue to force Gloucester backwards. We’re going back for a high tackle, however. Murray was the guilty party on that occasion. 

46 mins – This is a blow for Munster as Peter O’Mahony is going off holding his ribs, and Billy Holland is on in his place. Not exactly sure what happened to the Munster captain, but it takes a lot to force him off. 

48Mins

48 mins — Incredible defence from Munster as they keep Gloucester at bay as if their lives depend on it. The hosts keep it tight, using one-off runners, but the green wall will not be breached. Big tackles from Archer and Earls in that set, and we’re into the 24th phase now.

Flag 51Mins

50 mins – TRY! Gloucester 8-20 Munster (Thorley)

After 35 energy-sapping phases, the pressure pays off. A phenomenal defensive effort from Munster but, in the end, width unlocks the visitors’ defence as Gloucester move it left and get over in the corner through Thorley. The conversion strikes the post.

54Mins

54 mins — Incredible passage of play. Game on. 

55Mins

55 mins — After losing their captain and conceding a try, Munster need a settler and Murray delivers a big moment. The scrum-half sneaks around the blindside of the ruck to tackle his opposite number Braley and win the scrum for his side. Great position for the southern province. 

Flag 55Mins

55 mins — TRY! Gloucester 8-27 Munster (Earls)

And they’re over! Stander smashes into Cipriani off the back of another solid scrum and a couple of phases later, Murray whips it to Holland, who offloads brilliantly for Earls to finish in this near corner. Carbery nails the touchline conversion and Munster’s lead extends to 19 points. 

58Mins

58 mins — Earls enjoyed that try as he smashed the ball into the ground in celebration. JVG has looked to freshen things up in his pack with Arno Botha and John Ryan on for O’Donnell and Archer.

60Mins

60 mins — Munster appear to be over for their fourth try in the far corner as Conway creates something out of nothing to latch onto his own kick through — but Poite is going upstairs to have a look at the grounding.

60Mins

60 mins — No try! The grounding looked fine but the officials go back and spot Farrell’s offload to Conway in the build-up was fractionally forward. A real shame, as that was superb from the winger.

60Mins

60 mins – More reinforcements for Munster as JVG sends on Jeremy Loughman in place of Kilcoyne. We’re into the final quarter at Kingsholm. 

62Mins

61 mins – Both Beirne and Kleyn have been immense tonight.

Flag 64Mins

64 mins — TRY! Gloucester 15-27 Munster (Fraser Balmain)

Is the comeback on? Gloucester keep it tight again and punch holes in the Munster defence, before Balmain barrels his way over from close-range. Battering ram stuff, but it’s a seven-pointer for the hosts.

Flag 67Mins

66 mins — TRY! Gloucester 15-34 Munster (Conway)

And, just like they did earlier in the half, Munster find the perfect response. It doesn’t look like there’s anything on for Carbery, but he jinks back onto his left foot and stabs a delightful grubber through for Conway, who latches onto it and there’s no stopping the winger this time. Bonus-point time for Munster!

68Mins

68 mins — TRY! Gloucester 15-41 Munster (Carbery)

Joey’s away! The out-half adds to his tally as he reads the looping pass to intercept and run it home from 60 yards out for his second try of the game. Munster are home and hosed. 

68Mins

68 mins – Munster even have the luxury of taking Conor Murray off with over 10 minutes to play. Alby Mathewson is on. 

70Mins

70 mins – Carbery has been outstanding tonight, as have most of the Munster players. The travelling supporters are really starting to find their voices around Kingsholm. 

71Mins

71 mins – Dan Goggin and Rhys Marshall are also on. Munster coasting.

71Mins

71 mins – Carbery — who finishes with 26 points — is given the final nine minutes to put his feet up. Tyler Bleyendaal is on. 

75Mins

75 mins – Austin Healy on BT Sport unsurprinsgly names Joey Carbery as the man of the match. Keith Earls, meanwhile, very nearly streaks through for another Munster score but the final pass to Goggin didn’t go to hand.

Flag 80Mins

Full-time! Gloucester 15-41 Munster

A brilliant European night for Munster as they score five tries to earn a crucial bonus-point win at Kingsholm, to take control of Pool 2 heading into the final round of action next weekend.

Johann van Graan’s side now hold an eight-point lead over second-placed Castres, with the French side in action against Exeter on Sunday.

Joey Carbery scored 26 points here with a man of the match display but Munster dominated in all facets, as they produced a vintage away performance under the lights. 

80Mins

Job done for Munster!

Peter O'Mahony takes to the field Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Andrew Conway runs in the score a try Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Conor Murray congratulates Andrew Conway after scoring a try Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

80Mins

We’ll have a full report and reaction to come from Kingsholm throughout the rest of the evening, but until tomorrow, thanks for joining us and goodbye! 

Ahead of a huge weekend of Heineken Champions Cup action, Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey assess the provinces’ chances of putting a foot in the last eight:


Source: Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42/SoundCloud

Subscribe to our new podcast, Heineken Rugby Weekly on The42, here:

About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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