Bonus point win for Munster against Gloucester in Heineken Champions Cup

Munster Rugby 36 Gloucester Rugby 22

Munster may have won this Heineken Champions Cup Round 2 tie with a bonus point, but the way they allowed 14-man Gloucester back into this game, before showing poor discipline in the latter stages of the clash, must be a cause of grave concern for Johann van Graan as this competition develops.

The eighth meeting of these sides before an official attendance of 23,068 was a slow burner in the opening stages, possibly as a result of the early 1pm start, with Munster losing the first two lineouts on their own throw and taking 10 minutes to enter the Gloucester 22.

French referee Alexandre Ruiz was busy in the opening half as he sin-binned Tom Savage in the 17th minute when the Englishman used his shoulder on Munster’s Dan Goggin, before the official ended Danny Cipriani’s involvement in this Heineken Champions Cup game in the 29th minute when red-carding the Gloucester kicker for a dangerous tackle on Rory Scannell.

Munster full back Mike Haley, in his first season with the club, opened the scoring in the 21st minute as he found himself on the end of a movement instigated by Carbery. The former Leinster player went right to Darren Sweetnam who passed to Earls on his right shoulder. The Limerick native showed his ball-juggling skills as he maintained possession before passing to Haley on his outside.

Danny Cipriani reduced Munster’s lead when scoring a penalty in the 25th minute, but was soon red carded when punished for using his arm on Rory Scannell as he entered a tackle. The referee initially missed the infringement but when he checked with the TMO the decision was taken to send the England international off. The resultant penalty kick was scored by Carbery as he stretched his side’s lead out to 8-3 with 30 minutes on the clock.

Rhys Marshall touched down at the end of a powerful Munster maul to score his side’s second five-pointer of the afternoon. When Gloucester were blown for a high tackle on Carbery, Munster’s playmaker went for the lineout which his side won and then drove the English visitors backwards, before New Zealander Marshall crossed the line for the score. With Carbery converting, Munster were 15-3 ahead.

The luckless Tommy O’Donnell was replaced by South African Arno Botha in the 37th minute when it looked as though the Tipperary man injured an ankle. O’Donnell, who committed to Munster during the week when signing a new contract, left the field to a rousing reception from the Thomond Park faithful.

Joey Carbery scored his first Heineken Champions Cup try in red when crossing in the 51st minute. Alby Mathewson, back from an injury sustained in the Guinness Pro14 game against Leinster Rugby at the Aviva Stadium, passed to Dan Goggin from the base of the scrum, before the Munster centre gave Carbery the perfect pass allowing the number 10 time and space to score his team’s third try of the game. He duly converted his own five-pointer to increase Johann van Graan’s side’s lead to 22-3.

Replacement Sammy Arnold scored the bonus-point try for his side before Carbery again converted for 29-3, with Andrew Conway scoring his side’s 5th in the 67th minute.

Either side of Conway’s score, former Munster player Gerbrandt Grobler scored a try, with Gloucester fullback Jason Woodward finishing off his side’s best phase of play in the game with another try. Billy Twelvetrees converted the first but missed the second to the left and wide.

Sammy Arnold saw out the remaining minutes of the game when yellow-carded in the dying moments of the tie. The Munster man’s outstretched hand failed to catch the ball and in the process knocked on.

Gloucester’s third try of the game came directly after Arnold’s exit when Ben Morgan dotted down before Twelvetrees quickly converted. Stephen Archer then joined Arnold in the sin bin for a high tackle on Ben Morgan.

Final score: Munster Rugby 36 Gloucester Rugby 22

Munster Rugby

15. Mike Haley (JJ Hanrahan 68′), 14. Andrew Conway, 13. Dan Goggin, 12. Rory Scannell (Sammy Arnold 48’), 11. Darren Sweetnam, 10. Joey Carbery, 9. Duncan Williams (Alby Mathewson 48’).

1. James Cronin (Dave Kilcoyne 48’), 2. Rhys Marshall (Kevin O’Byrne 41’), 3. John Ryan (Stephen Archer 59’), 4. Jean Kleyn (Billy Holland 61’), 5. Tadhg Beirne, 6. Peter O’Mahony (captain), 7. Tommy O’Donnell (Arno Botha 37’), 8. CJ Stander.

Gloucester Rugby

15. Jason Woodward, 14. Matt Banahan, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson (Owen Williams 63′), 11. Tom Marshall (Tom Hudson 45′), 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Callum Braley (Ben Vellacott 53′).

1. Val Rapava Ruskin (Ciaran Knight 64′), 2. Franco Marais (Henry Walker 23′), 3. Josh Hohneck, 4. Tom Savage, 5. Ed Slater (captain) (Gerbrandt Grobler 53′), 6. Freddie Clarke (Gareth Evans 61′), 7. Jake Polledri, 8. Ben Morgan.

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