Gloucester upset Connacht in Heineken Cup

Gloucester kept their Heineken Cup campaign alive when they beat Connacht 10-14 in Pool 6 of the Heineken Cup at Galway Sportsground.

In a nail-biting encounter at the Galway Sportsground it was the boot of Freddie
Burns that proved the difference. The fly-half slotted two penalties before
James Simpson-Daniel grabbed the opening try.

Gavin Duffy hit-back for the hosts to close the gap to 11-7 at the interval.

Niall O’Connor cut the deficit to a point with a well-struck second-half penalty
but that was nullified by Burns as Gloucester hung-on for their first Heineken
Cup Pool Six win of the season.

Connacht started the clash with plenty of endeavour, but with a strong win
at their backs Gloucester got the scoreboard ticking after just six minutes
thanks to a Burns penalty.

O’Connor had the opportunity to level the scores on 14 minutes but was off-target
with a relatively straight-forward penalty.

The Cherry and Whites fly-half stretched his team’s lead with another penalty
on 16 minutes, just moments after missing a previous shot at goal.

Gloucester then grabbed the game’s first try to open up a commanding lead.
Following several phases the ball was spread wide and Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu
drew two men and offloaded to Simpson-Daniel for the try.

But the visitors shot themselves in the foot moments later as Duffy pounced
for a crucial try. Burns and Narraway hesitated under a high-ball and the Connacht
captain collected it on the bounce, before stepping passed Olly Morgan and racing
clear.

O’Connor added the simple conversion to cut Gloucester’s lead to 11-7. The
English club almost snatched a second try just before the interval following
a Henry Trinder chip but the ball beat Sharples over the dead-ball line.

O’Connor struck with a penalty within three minutes of the restart of play
to cut the deficit to a single point.

A deadlock ensued for the next 28 minutes as both sides were let down by mistakes
in the final-quarter.

Mark McCrae thought he had snatched a crucial interception as he raced clear
from his own twenty-two but Neil Paterson called play back for an earlier offside
offence and Burns stretched Gloucester’s lead to 14-10.

Both sides squandered opportunities in the closing stages but the Cherry and
Whites had done enough in the first-half to clinch the victory.

Final Score Connacht 10 (7) Gloucester 14 (11)


Scorers


Connacht
Tries: Duffy
Penalties: O’Connor
Conversions: O’Connor


Gloucester
Tries: Simpson-Daniel
Penalties: Burns 3


Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)


Connacht Rugby: G Duffy [capt]; M McCrea, K Tonetti, D McSharry, T O’Halloran; N O’Connor, F Murphy; B Wilkinson, E Reynecke, R Loughney, M McCarthy, G Naoupu, D Gannon, J Muldoon, R Ofisa


Replacements: A Flavin, D Buckley, R Ah You, M Kearney, E McKeon, P O’Donohoe, M Jarvis, F Vainikolo


Gloucester Rugby: O Morgan; C Sharples, H Trinder, E Fuimaono-Sapolu, J Simpson-Daniel; F Burns, R Lawson; N Wood, S Lawson, D Chistolini, P Buxton, J Hamilton, B Deacon, A Hazell, L Narraway


Replacements: M Cortese, D Murphy, R Harden, W James, A Qera, N Runciman, T Taylor, J May


With thanks to ERCRugby.

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