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Dublin: 0°C Thursday 6 May 2021

Sensational Joey Carbery guides Munster to superb five-try win in Gloucester

Johann van Graan’s men were excellent against the Premiership outfit.

Gloucester 15

Munster 41

Murray Kinsella reports from Kingsholm

THE VISION, THE decision-making as he glided across the pitch, the skill, the almost nonchalant execution.

In front of a febrile sell-out crowd of over 16,000 people at Kingsholm, Joey Carbery was the star of the show as Munster convincingly dismantled Gloucester, scoring five tries to solidify their position at the top of Pool 2 of the Heineken Cup.

Joey Carbery celebrates scoring the opening try Carbery was sensational for Munster. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The 23-year-old out-half enjoyed a 26-point haul, scoring two tries and kicking 100% off the tee. Carbery put others into brilliant positions too, most notably with his delightful left-footed grubber kick to tee up Andrew Conway’s try.

Munster fans have taken to Carbery quickly since his move from Leinster last summer, but this performance on the road will see him move into an even deeper place in their hearts.

His individual brilliance was part of a superb collective effort from Munster as the likes of Tadhg Beirne and captain Peter O’Mahony – until he worryingly departed injured in the 46th minute – leading a destructive performance.

CJ Stander and Jean Kleyn were ball-carrying machines for Munster, but the entire pack deserves their share of the credit as they bullied Gloucester physically for large portions of the game.

Chris Farrell’s fitness was a pre-match boost and he too carried the ball well, while Keith Earls’ growing influence as a creator in phase play was to the fore again in a backline that is now fizzing with potential and confidence.

Gloucester fullback Tom Hudson will be having nightmares about Conor Murray’s box kicks for some time yet. Though Johan Ackermann’s side battled well and scored tries through pacy wing Ollie Thorley and prop Fraser Balmain, they were clearly second best.

Munster’s five match points lift them eight clear of next best Castres, who face Exeter away on Sunday, and Johann van Graan’s men will hope they can seal a home quarter-final with victory against the Chiefs next weekend back in Limerick.

Keith Earls celebrates scoring with Conor Murray Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

For now, they can simply enjoy the satisfaction of a job superbly done. Carbery’s rise continues and his potential is thrilling.

Munster’s first half was outstanding and left them with a 20-3 lead that could perhaps have been even greater.

They started poorly when the fired-up Gerbrandt Grobler won Danny Cipriani’s kick-off over Mike Haley, followed by a penalty for not rolling away, but Beirne’s spoiling quickly impressed as he turned over the ensuing Gloucester maul.

Munster’s scrum advantage started early but it was the home side who opened the scoring, Billy Twelvetrees firing over a 45-metre penalty after Beirne was denied a possible turnover penalty and instead pinged by Romain Poite for not rolling away.

Carbery levelled on the quarter mark when Lewis Ludlow was penalised for diving on the ball in an offside position, then followed the three points up with a converted try of his own.

Stander carried superbly from a lineout platform to surge into the Gloucester 22, while Farrell was prominent too, helping to bring Munster to within metres of the tryline, where Kleyn ran a clever decoy line and Murray picked out Carbery with a sharp pass that allowed the out-half to dive over to the right of the posts.

Carbery extended the lead out to 13-3 in the 26th minute from around 43 metres out after another Beirne poach led to Franco Mostert coming in the side.

Ed Slater competes for a line out with Tadhg Beirne Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

O’Mahony and his partner in crime, Beirne, continued to be a thorn in Gloucester’s side as they looked to build into the game, although Munster were frustrated to leave the Cherry and Whites’ 22 empty-handed coming towards half time – Murray’s pass intercepted by Mark Atkinson.

But there was still time for one more opportunity as Hudson dropped a Murray box kick for the third time.

Munster’s scrum was around 35 metres out but they were willing to fight for every single inch upfield over the course of the next 26 meaty phases, the likes of Stander, O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell, Stephen Archer, Farrell and Dave Kilcoyne making progress with direct carries.

Finally, Munster opted to go out the back door through Carbery to Rory Scannell and the inside centre burst through Charlie Sharples’ feeble tackle attempt to burst at the tryline, darting through Callum Braley’s despairing effort to dot down with 42:28 on the clock.

With Carbery converting again, Munster were in prime position at the interval but would have been frustrated with their poor start to the second half – Carbery not kicking his restart 10 metres and then Kilcoyne being penalised at the subsequent scrum.

Three more penalty concessions followed in quick succession and Poite gave O’Mahony a team warning just before he had to depart injured, Billy Holland on in his place.

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Keith Earls and Peter O'Mahony celebrate as Rory Scannell scores their second try Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The poor restart and discipline eventually told, although Munster made Gloucester work for it in a remarkable passage of rugby as the home team battered and battered at the tryline, while Munster tackled and tackled.

It was enthralling viewing but Gloucester finally found a way over on the 35th phase as Atkinson linked out the back door to Cipriani, who floated a miss pass wide to Thorley, who finished on the edge.

Twelvetrees couldn’t convert and Munster conjured a prompt reply after Murray cleverly realised there was no offside line and gobbled up opposite number Braley as he prepared to kick clear of the Gloucester 22.

The result was a Munster scrum, upgraded to a free-kick by Poite, allowing Stander and Kleyn to make strong carries before Rory Scannell went close to scoring, only for Holland to slip a skillful pass to Earls in the left corner, the influential wing finishing.

Carbery converted from the touchline for 27-8 and Munster very nearly had a bonus-point score two minutes later as an excellent passage of attack led to Conway hacking forward Farrell’s offload and beating Hudson to ground the ball.

The TMO review, however, showed that Farrell’s offload had just slipped forward and Gloucester responded well to the lifeline.

Rory Scannell, Tommy O'Donnell and Jean Kleyn congratulate Tadhg Beirne on winning a penalty Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

They once again marched up into the Munster 22 and tighthead prop Balmain came away with the score from close-range, Twelvetrees converting to bring Gloucester back to 27-15.

Munster were in no mood to let their opportunity slip, however, and sealed the bonus point with a stunning try as Carbery rolled a beautiful grubber in behind Gloucester off his ‘bad’ left foot for Conway to gather and finish.

The out-half converted again and then put the icing on a sensational solo performance by picking off Gloucester captain Ben Morgan’s forced pass and streaking clear from inside his own half for his second try. 

Gloucester scorers:

Tries: Ollie Thorley, Fraser Balmain

Conversions: Billy Twelvetrees [1 from 2]

Penalties: Billy Twelvetrees [1 from 1]

Munster scorers:

Tries: Joey Carbery [2], Rory Scannell, Keith Earls, Andrew Conway

Conversions: Joey Carbery [5 from 5]

Penalties: Joey Carbery [2 from 2]

GLOUCESTER: Tom Hudson; Charlie Sharples, Billy Twelvetrees (Henry Trinder ’23), Mark Atkinson, Ollie Thorley; Danny Cipriani (Owen Williams ’69), Callum Braley (Ben Vellacott ’68); Josh Hohneck (Alex Seville ’71), Henry Walker (Franco Marais ;75), Fraser Balmain (Ciaran Knight ’71); Ed Slater, Gerbrandt Grobler (Freddie Clarke ’58); Franco Mostert, Lewis Ludlow, Ben Morgan (captain) (Gareth Evans ’71). 

MUNSTER: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell (Dan Goggin ’69), Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Joey Carbery (Tyler Bleyendaal ’71), Conor Murray (Alby Mathewson ’69); Dave Kilcoyne (Jeremy Loughman ’60), Niall Scannell (Rhys Marshall ’69), Stephen Archer (John Ryan ’58); Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (captain) (Billy Holland ’46), Tommy O’Donnell (Arno Botha ’58), CJ Stander.

Referee: Romain Poite [FFR].

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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