Gloucester 7 Munster 20 match report: Gloucester revived but still laid flat by Munster strength



Composure wins matches. Munster, who have so strong a European tradition, possessed it last night and it ensured their progress to the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup yet again, with one round of pool matches remaining. Edinburgh's failure to score a winning bonus point against Perpignan means that the Irish province cannot be caught (though their superior points difference would have kept them clear of pursuit).

Gloucester fought incredibly hard to sustain their interest in pool six, putting behind them their indifferent domestic form. But for all the enthusiasm of their attacking play, they could not break down Munster where it mattered, in their own 22. The scrum statistics tell the tale of a litany of Gloucester turnovers – Munster put down 12 scrums to Gloucester's three.

Munster's back row also denied their hosts the continuity they needed. So often Dan Robson, who enjoyed a wonderful match at scrum-half for Gloucester, had to dig the ball out of the rucks and the young home backs found themselves forcing the pass.

Whatever Nigel Davies, their director of rugby, told his players during the week that followed Gloucester's clinical dissection by Saracens, it seemed to work.

"I would like to think last week was a watershed for this team," Davies, whose aim is now a top-six Premiership finish, said after yesterday's match. "We have set the bar for intensity and work-rate today. If we [continue to] do that, we have a lot of quality and will win more games than we lose."

The Cherry and Whites made a bright start against the team leading the RaboDirect Pro12, playing a positive, confident brand of rugby that belied their lowly Premiership position and Shane Monahan made the first of many dents in the visiting defence.

The home defence lived up to its reputation as the tightest in Europe (if not in England) and even the set piece seemed sounder than of late. The little things let down Gloucester: the timing of the pass, the lateral running from the back while, twice, Twelvetrees saw 40-metre penalties drift wide.

Munster, with the preponderance of line-out possession, concentrated on working their big ball-carriers into space and Johne Murphy proved a downright nuisance from the left wing. Ian Keatley's game management, too, put the visitors into the dangerous areas of the field and the fly-half opened the scoring with a straightforward penalty after Munster drove a maul. He also laid on the first try. Running to the short side of a ruck, Keatley grub-kicked behind the flat defence and Keith Earls had only to collect the bounce to score.

To be 10 points down was scant reward for Gloucester, so it did them no end of good to score on half-time. After excellent phase play, Robson linked with Matt Kvesic, and Charlie Sharples veered inside two defenders for a delightful try converted by Freddie Burns.

After the break, Munster were distinctly fortunate not to lose Dave Foley to the sin-bin after the lock was penalised for a dangerous tackle then escaped without censure for a collar tackle on Twelvetrees.

But the visitors bided their time, absorbed the pressure then raised the bar. Martyn Thomas had to make a try-saving tackle on Earls, and Conor Murray stole away with Gloucester scrum ball to create the position for a five-metre scrum. At the second time of asking, Peter O'Mahony was driven over the line with Keatley adding the conversion and, eight minutes later, the penalty which made the game safe.

Gloucester M Thomas (R Cook, 59); C Sharples, J May, B Twelvetrees (capt), S Monahan; F Burns, D Robson (T Knoyle, 58); Y Thomas (D Murphy, 59), D Dawidiuk (H Edmonds, 45), S Puafisi (S Knight, 62), E Stooke, J Hudson (T Hicks, 75), M Cox (S Kalamafoni, 51), M Kvesic, G Evans (B Morgan, 51).

Munster F Jones; K Earls (J J Hanrahan, 75), C Laulala, J Downey, J Murphy (S Zebo, 68); I Keatley, C Murray (D Williams, 80); D Kilcoyne (J Cronin, 65), D Varley (D Casey, 77), B J Botha (S Archer, 68), D Foley (D O'Callaghan, 68), P O'Connell, P O'Mahony (capt; C J Stander, 75), T O'Donnell, J Coughlan.

Referee Leighton Hodges (Wales)


Try: Sharples

Con: Burns


Tries: Earles, O'Mahony

Cons: Keatley 2

Pens: Keatley 2


  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk