Toulon, Clermont seal play-off places
Sat, 11 Jan 2014 16:42
Leicester and Ulster in pool decider
Defending champions Toulon and heavyweight French rivals Clermont both secured places in the quarterfinals of the European Cup on Saturday.
The day's results also ensured Ulster will advance as at least one of the two best runners-up.
A Jonny Wilkinson-skippered Toulon side had too much power for Cardiff Blues in Pool Two, running out 43-20 winners thanks largely to a completely dominant scrum.
A bonus point for a fourth try at the death - unusually a third penalty try, set Toulon atop their pool on 20 points, with the Blues in second on 13.
"We had a big point to prove after last week," said Toulon No.8 Steffon Armitage in reference to last week's 22-21 Top 14 loss to Grenoble which had incensed coach Bernard Laporte.
"All the boys were really up for it and hopefully we'll come back better next week."
* Clermont overcame a 10-point half-time deficit to claim a narrow 16-13 away victory over Harlequins.
The win meant the French giants will top Pool Four, having already amassed 19 points from their five games, seven ahead of second-placed Quins with a game in hand.
"We got the result and qualification as well, it's a very good thing. It wasn't a perfect match but what mattered was the four points," said Clermont coach Vern Cotter, immediately turning his sights on the team's final pool encounter against Racing-Metro.
"If we play well, we could have a home quarter-final, which is not negligible."
* In Pool Five action, two-time Cup winners Leicester withstood an early onslaught from Italian outfit Treviso to run out 34-19 bonus-point winners.
* Magical Munster clinched top spot in Pool Six to secure a Heineken Cup quarterfinal place in front of their passionate fans who were full of voice at a sold-out Kingsholm.
We look at Saturday's drama!
Harlequins 13-16 ASM Clermont Auvergne
Clermont Auvergne came from behind at The Stoop to secure their place in the European Cup quarterfinals and become the first team to win a Pool this season. With four successive wins, and 19 points, they cannot now be caught.
Harlequins led from the 22nd minute until the 72nd but a Sitiveni Sivivatu try and late penalty from Brock James means Clermont are the first side to book their place in the knock-out stages.
Last season's European Cup finalists looked like they were going to pay the price for a number of missed chances but they showed their class with a dramatic finish.
The visitors had started strongly and were in front after two minutes through a James penalty.
Clermont then put down two great chances to score the game's opening try with Naipolioni Nalaga and Fritz Lee the guilty parties, both after excellent work from James.
Quins soon punished Clermont for the mistakes thanks to a moment of magic from Danny Care. Care started a move from inside his own half before collecting Chris Robshaw's chip and flicking an incredible pass behind his back as he fell into touch to find Matt Hopper and he raced over.
Evans converted the score and kicked two more penalties before the end of the half to give Quins a deserved 10-point lead at the break. But it was Clermont who came out firing after the interval and quickly hit back with a try.
Quins full back Mike Brown misjudged a kick over the top and Nalaga took advantage to chip ahead and collect to score his 23rd European Cup try in 28 games. James failed to add the extras with the boot but Quins were dealt a further blow when Care was forced off shortly after with a leg injury.
A missed penalty from James on the hour mark let Quins off the hook as the French side started to put them under pressure. Evans had a chance to ease their worries 10 minutes before the end but he also missed a straightforward penalty from 35 metres.
It proved to be costly as Clermont went straight down the other end and after going through 10 phases they shifted the ball out wide for former All Black Sitiveni Sivivatu to dive over in the corner. Yet another missed kick from James kept the score level at 13-13 but he finally hit the target four minutes from time to nudge the visitors in front and they held on for the win.
Pens: Evans 2
For Clermont Auvergne:
Tries: Nalaga, Sivivatu
Pens: James 2
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Charlie Walker, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ollie Lindsay-Hague.
ASM Clermont Auvergne: 15 Jean-Marcel Buttin, 14 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 13 Aurélien Rougerie (captain), 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Napolioni Nalaga, 10 Brock James, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Julien Bardy, 5 Nathan Hines, 4 Jamie Cudmore, 3 Davit Zirakashvili, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Clément Ric, 19 Julien Pierre, 20 Gerhard Vosloo, 21 Ludovic Radosavljevic, 22 Mike Delany, 23 Benson Stanley.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway (Ireland), Brian MacNeice (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)
Benetton Treviso 10-34 Leicester Tigers
Leicester and Ulster Rugby are all set for a mouth watering Round 6 encounter at Welford Road next week after the Tigers took maximum points from their trip to Treviso.
Ulster's lead at the top of Pool 5 is now just two points ahead of next Sunday's potential fire cracker, with Leicester knowing that a victory of any sorts will see them jump above Ulster into top spot.
The 2001 and 2002 tournament winners were made to work hard for a fourth straight victory in the current campaign but they turned a 13-8 half-time deficit into a 34-19 success at the Stadio di Monigo.
A brace of Miles Benjamin tries were accompanied by an early effort from Julian Salvi and a penalty score, with Owen Williams adding a penalty and David Mele kicking three penalties and a conversion as Treviso faded late on.
Matt Berquist contributed 14 points for Treviso, with prop Lorenzo Cittadini claiming their solitary first-half try.
Berquist opened the scoring with his first successful European Cup kick at goal after five minutes but it was Leicester who grabbed the game's first try after turning down a shot at goal in favour of an attacking lineout. Salvi emerged with the ball in hand when Treviso had no answer to Leicester's catch and drive and you sensed that the Tigers would kick on after their promising start.
That scenario didn't materialise, though, as Williams' missed conversion was followed by a fine response from the hosts.
Cittadini made light work of Benjamin's tackle to dive over from just a metre out and Treviso were back in front after 19 minutes. Wing Luke McLean and flanker Christian Loamanu cut loose to put Treviso on the front foot and Leicester eventually ran out of numbers at a close-range ruck.
Berquist added the extras from halfway between the right touchline and the posts and the New Zealander then landed a long-range penalty to stretch the lead to eight points at 13-5 with 25 minutes gone.
Both sides enjoyed their fair share of possession in the final 15 minutes of the half but it was Leicester who finished the stronger as Williams kicked a straightforward penalty as the clock ticked into the red.
Treviso were off the mark first in the second period thanks to a third penalty from Berquist but Leicester raced away for a superb second try five minutes in.
Niki Goneva's initial burst created space for Benjamin out wide on the left and the former Worcester wing supplied a stunning finish from distance, dummying between two men and then holding off two more to stretch over a metre in from touch. Williams was off target with the difficult conversion attempt but Leicester were back to within three points at 16-13.
Berquist pushed Treviso six points clear with his fourth and final penalty with half an hour left but it was all Leicester from there on in.
Replacement scrum-half Mele cut the gap again with his first penalty after 55 minutes and things swung Leicester's way when Treviso full back Brendan Williams saw yellow for failing to roll away after bringing Benjamin to ground 60 seconds later.
Mele kicked Leicester level on the hour and another lineout brought their third try four minutes later. Salvi again emerged at the bottom of a huge drive but referee Romain Poite made Mele's life easier by awarding a penalty try for Treviso's attempts to bring down the maul.
Leicester led 26-19 at that point and had a quarter of an hour to secure the bonus point score but they needed just another two minutes as Benjamin dotted down with ease out wide. Anthony Allen marked his first game since October with the crucial burst, with Benjamin one of three men who could have crossed out wide. Mele missed the extras but kicked a third penalty as Leicester eased home late on.
For Benetton Treviso:
Pens: Berquist 4
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Salvi, Benjamin, Penalty try, Benjamin
Pen: Williams, Mele 3
Benetton Treviso: 15 Brendan Williams, 14 Angelo Esposito, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Andrea Pratichetti, 11 Luke McLean, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Paul Derbyshire, 6 Christian Loamanu, 5 Valerio Bernabo, 4 Antonio Pavanello (captain), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Leonardo Ghiraldini, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Alberto de Marchi, 18 Ignacio Fernandez Rouyet, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Marco Filippucci, 21 Francesco Minto, 22 Fabio Semenzato, 23 James Ambrosini
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Toby Flood (captain), 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Sebastian De Chaves, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 David Mélé, 22 Anthony Allen, 23 Matt Smith.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Christophe Berdos (France), Tual Trainini (France)
TMO: Bruno Bessot (France)
Exeter Chiefs 10-15 Glasgow Warriors
Glasgow Warriors did the season's Pool Two double over Exeter Chiefs after coming back from an early 10-points deficit at Sandy Park.
They went on to score 15 points without reply for their second group success overall while the Chiefs went down to their fourth defeat of the campaign and took over the basement place.
Ruaridh Jackson was the catalyst for that comeback although Exeter, who had made 10 changes from team who went down to London Wasps last weekend, saw outside half Henry Slade give the Sandy Park faithful the perfect start with a third minute penalty.
The low lying sun forced Slade to shield his eyes in glorious conditions and then his pack sent the Warriors eight into reverse at a scrum to keep the pressure firmly on the visitors.
The Chiefs did score with the ball in hand, but only after TMO Irishman Seamus Flannery was called into the action to confirm winger Fetu'u Vainikolo had crossed from close range, and although Slade added the conversion Glasgow hit back immediately.
They switched the direction of attack twice before wing Sean Maitland went over for an unconverted try.
And their adventurous approach - with Jackson at the heart of everything, asking question after question of the home defence - paid dividends again just six minutes before the break with Sean Lamont cashing in and Stuart Hogg adding the conversion to nudge them ahead for the first time.
Glasgow, who included 12 internationals - including three 2013 British & Irish Lions - in their starting line-up, had won the Round 2 contest between the clubs 20-16 and Hogg opened up a five-point advantage with his 49th minute penalty goal.
To add to the Exeter pain Slade was off target with a penalty chance of his own before the flood of replacements meant both benches were cleared with 11 minutes remaining on the clock.
Glasgow held firm in the closing stages and will now take on Toulon at Scotstoun Stadium while the Chiefs take on Cardiff Blues at Cardiff Arms Park in Round Six.
For Exeter Chiefs:
Tries: Maitland, Lamont
Exeter Chiefs: 15 Luke Arscott (captain), 14 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 13 Sireli Naqelevuki, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Henry Slade, 9 Dave Lewis, 8 Kai Horstmann, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Damian Welch, 3 Alex Brown, 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 1 Carl Rimmer.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Romana Graham, 20 Don Armand, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Ceri Sweeney, 23 Ian Whitten,
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Byron McGuigan, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Henry Pyrgos, 8 Josh Strauss, 7 Chris Fusaro (captain), 6 Rob Harley, 5 Tom Ryder, 4 Tim Swinson, 3 Ed Kalman, 2 Dougie Hall, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Pat MacArthur, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Jon Welsh, 19 Leone Nakarawa, 20 James Eddie, 21 Ryan Wilson, 22 Niko Matawalu, 23 Duncan Weir.
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Eddie Hogan O'Connell (Ireland), Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
TMO: Seamus Flannery (Ireland)
Connacht 20-3 Zebre
Connacht claimed their third European Cup win for the second season running but missed out on a bonus point at home to Zebre.
Pat Lam, who was a European Champion with Northampton 14 years ago, saw his side run out comfortable victors but they were only able to cross the opposition tryline on two occasions.
Connacht's stunning win at four-times European Cup winners Toulouse in Round 3 means they are still mathematically alive ahead of Saracens' trip to France tomorrow, although a place in the Challenge Cup quarterfinals is a more realistic outcome even if they pick up maximum points in London next week.
It was the Italians who opened the scoring with a penalty from international outside-half Luciano Orquera after a quarter of an hour at The Sportsground and it took Connacht until the second quarter to get off the mark.
Young playmaker Jack Carty, who was starting ahead of the vastly experienced Dan Parks, made amends for an early miss with a brace of penalties after 24 and 29 minutes to push the Irish outfit 6-3 in front.
The first try of the game arrived six minutes before the break when Heineken Man of the Match Matt Healy touched down out wide, although the TMO made the Galway faithful wait by checking to see if there had been a double movement when he stretched for the line.
Carty's conversion from wide on the left made it 13-3 and it stayed that way until the interval.
Connacht's slow start to the first half wasn't replicated in the second as they celebrated their second try just four minutes after the restart. Highly-rated centre Robbie Henshaw darted through from close range after a fine move that featured a through-the-legs pass from veteran back row Michael Swift.
Carty again added the extras and Connacht were effectively home and dry against a side who jumped above them at the foot of the Pro12 table with victory over Treviso last week.
But they failed to kick on and claim the bonus point they were looking for, though, as Zebre defended resolutely for the rest of the half.
Healy twice went close to grabbing a third try but twice he was denied over the line. The left wing lost control of the ball as he slid over out wide with 66 minutes on the clock before he was held up by David Odiete after intercepting possession deep in his own territory with five minutes remaining.
Tries: Healy, Henshaw
Cons: Carty 2
Pens: Carty 2
Yellow card: Filippo Ferrarini (Zebre, 17 - professional foul)
Connacht: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Jack Carty, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 John Muldoon (captain), 5 Andrew Browne, 4 Mick Kearney, 3 Nathan White, 2 Sean Henry, 1 Brett Wilkinson
Replacements: 16 Jason Harris Wright, 17 Denis Buckley, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Michael Swift, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Gavin Duffy,
Zebre: 15 Gullo Palazzani, 14 Giiulio Toniolatti, 13 Kameli Ratuvou, 12 Gonzalo Garcia, 11 Dion Berryman, 10 Luciano Orquera, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Samu Vunisa, 7 Dries van Schalkwyk, 6 Filippo Ferrarini, 5 George Biagi, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (captain), 3 Dario Chistolini, 2 Davide Giazzon, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Tommaso D'Apice , 17 Andrea de Marchi, 18 David Ryan, 19 Marco Bortolami, 20 Nicola Cattina, 21 Roberto Quartaroli, 22 Ruggero Trevisan, 23 David Odiete.
Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)
Assistant referees: David Changleng (Scotland), Graeme Marshall (Scotland)
TMO: Iain Ramage (Scotland)
Toulon 43-20 Cardiff Blues
The European Cup champions are safely through to the quarterfinals after grabbing an injury time bonus point to ensure they clinched Pool 6 with a game still to play.
Playing at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, in front of their best-ever European crowd of 31,150, Toulon had three penalties tries to thank for their success - and four yellow cards dished out to the battling Blues.
The Welsh region, who had beaten Toulon 19-15 at the Arms Park in the second round, stood up to the test manfully in the first-half and were only 15-13 behind at the break. The boot of Jonny Wilkinson had kicked five of his six penalty opportunities, while Samoan lock Filo Paulo conjured up the first try of the game.
His grub kick into the home 22 caused problems for Aussie full back Drew Mitchell and his attempted clearance kick was half charged down. Robin Copeland gathered the ball, sped for the corner and then passed inside to Paulo when he was tackled.
Paulo easily bumped off Wilkinson and his half back partner Seb Tillous-Borde to reach the corner. Leigh Halfpenny converted off the touchline to add to his two earlier penalties.
English referee Greg Garner had brandished his first card in the sixth minute, sending Chris Czekaj to the sin-bin for a technical offence, and then issued two more in the opening minutes of the second half.
Tight head prop Benoit Bourrust was the first to go after a collapsed scrum and then replacement back row man Ellis Jenkins followed suite for deliberately collapsing a driving maul. Both cards came after Garner had awarded penalty tries.
The third came at the death after Copeland had been despatched for kicking the ball out of the hands of Fred Michalak at a ruck in front of the Blues posts. At the resulting scrum the third penalty try was awarded.
Sandwiched in between the penalty tries was a corner score from Dave Smith and Wilkinson converted all four. The Blues battled back to grab a second try from Sam Hobbs in the 70th minute, but they were never able to reach the dizzy heights of their round two triumph.
Even so, they can still reach 18 points with a bonus point win over Exeter Chiefs at the Arms Park next weekend and could still clinch a ticket into the Amlin Challenge Cup last eight.
Tries: Penalty try 3, D Smith
Cons: Wilkinson 4
Pens: Wilkinson 5
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Paulo, Hobbs
Cons: Halfpenny 2
Pens: Halfpenny 2
Yellow cards: Chris Czekaj (Cardiff Blues, 6 - professional foul), Benoit Bourrust (Cardiff Blues, 34 - repeated infringements), Ellis Jenkins (Cardiff Blues, 45 - professional foul), Robin Copeland (Cardiff Blues, 79 - professional foul)
Toulon: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Rudi Wulf, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Matt Giteau, 11 David Smith, 10 Jonny Wilkinson (captain), 9 Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 8 Steffon Armitage, 7 Joe van Niekerk, 6 Juan Smith, 5 Jocelino Suta, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Andrew Sheridan.
Replacements: 16 Jean-Charles Orioli, 17 Florian Fresia, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Pierrick Gunther, 20 Delon Armitage, 21 Maxime Mermoz, 22 Frederic Michalak, 23 Konstantine Mikautadze.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Chris Czekaj, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Josh Navidi, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Marc Breeze, 1 Gethin Jenkins (captain).
Replacements: 16 Rhys Williams, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 James Down, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Dafydd Hewitt, 23 Dan Fish.
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant referees: Steve Lee (England), Andrew Pearce (England)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (England)
Edinburgh 27-16 Perpignan
Edinburgh moved up to second in Pool 6 with a convincing win over Perpignan at Murrayfield on Saturday.
The Scottish side were good value for a 27-16 success as they avenged their defeat at the Stade Aime Giral in October thanks to tries from Tom Brown, Cornell du Preez and Dougie Fife and a fine kicking display from captain Greig Laidlaw.
They missed out on a bonus point and saw their Heineken Cup hopes ended courtesy of Munster's win at Gloucester but they could still challenge for an Challenge Cup spot if they can triumph at Thomond Park next week.
Edinburgh struck first with a typically-well taken penalty from Scotland scrumhalf Laidlaw after 11 minutes and they were celebrating further success when the game hit the quarter-of-an-hour mark as Brown raced away for the opening try.
Jack Cuthbert's strong surge following a sharp scissors move put Edinburgh on the front foot and Brown created something out of nothing when he picked up a loose ball at a midfield ruck and sprinted home from 40 metres.
Laidlaw's typically assured conversion made it 10-0 but Perpignan hit back with a brace of penalties from Wales back James Hook after 19 and 32 minutes.
Edinburgh had the final say of the half, though, as a second Laidlaw three pointer two minutes before the break handed them a 13-6 half-time lead.
Hook reduced the gap to four points yet again shortly after the restart as he ignored the difficult conditions under foot to land a long-range penalty but Edinburgh pulled away from there on in.
Indiscipline cost Perpignan dear moments later as skipper Guilhem Guirado saw yellow for coming in at the side of a driving maul and Edinburgh made him pay in the best possible fashion.
Du Preez barged over wide on the left, with Brown ready and waiting to dot down if South African blindside had decided not to back his own strength after quick hands saw the ball moved from one side of the pitch to the other.
Laidlaw's touchline conversion stretched the advantage to 11 points at 20-9 just seven minutes in and the lead was out to 18 when Fife scored a third try after 56 minutes.
Fife had the simple task of picking up half a metre from the tryline after new arrival Carl Bezuidenhout's clever grubber kick was misjudged by Perpignan wing Wandile Mjekevu.
Again, Laidlaw hit the target from out wide to leave Perpignan with a mountain to climb as Edinburgh chased maximum points. But the bonus never came despite the fact that they had more than 20 minutes to find a way through for a fourth score.
Instead it was Perpignan who had the final say courtesy of a try from replacement hooker Maxime Delonca with six minutes left, with Hook's touchline extras ensuring a more respectable scoreline for the Catalans.
Tries: Brown, Du Preez, Fife
Cons: Laidlaw 3
Pens: Laidlaw 2
Pens: Hook 3
Yellow card: Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan, 42 - professional foul)
Edinburgh: 15 Jack Cuthbert, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Greig Tonks, 9 Greig Laidlaw (captain), 8 Dave Denton, 7 Roddy Grant, 6 Cornell du Preez, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 WP Nel, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Al Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Grayson Hart, 22 Carl Bezuidenhout, 23 Matt Scott.
Perpignan: 15 James Hook, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Lifeimi Mafi, 12 Sione Piukala, 11 Wandile Mjekevu, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Karl Chateau, 7 Jean-Pierre Perez, 6 Dan Leo, 5 Luke Charteris, 4 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Guilhem Guirado (captain), 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Maxime Delonca, 17 Jean Baptiste Custoja, 18 Kisi Pulu, 19 Luke Narraway, 20 Tom Ecochard, 21 David Marty, 22 Joffrey Michel, 23 Guillaume Vilaceca.
Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Mark Patton (Ireland), Richard Kerr (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)
Gloucester 7-20 Munster
Magical Munster clinched top spot in Pool Six to secure a Heineken Cup quarterfinal place in front of their passionate fans who were full of voice at a sold-out Kingsholm.
Ian Keatley steered Munster to victory in a game played at break neck speed. Both teams started with purpose and direction as the game swung from one end to the other, full of attacking rugby.
Billy Twelvetrees missed two early long range attempts to put the home side in front and Munster took full advantage as Keatley gave them a 3-0 lead with a short range penalty.
The Gloucester defence was finally broken after a strong spell of Munster pressure. Keatley was again the catalyst as Keith Earls latched onto his grubber kick to score at the posts. That man Keatley added the conversion.
The match continued at a furious pace and Gloucester came thundering back into the contest with a try from England wing Charlie Sharples which Freddie Burns converted. That meant it was 7-10 at half time.
Gloucester had to win the game to stand any chance of qualifying for the last 8 of either tournament and they put Munster under increasing pressure in the second half. After 65 minutes the tackle count was 92-45 in favour of the home team, but the blue shirts were covering every blade of grass.
The crucial moment came in the 60th minute when the TMO confirmed Munster skipper Peter O'Mahony had crossed the line for a try which Keatley improved.
The only other scoring in a tense finish was another penalty from the immaculate Keatley and mighty Munster were on their way to a 15th Heineken Cup quarter final.
Tries: Earls, O'Mahony
Cons: Keatley 2
Pens: Keatley 2
Gloucester: 15 Martyn Thomas, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Jonny May, 12 Billy Twelvetrees (captain), 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Matt Cox, 5 James Hudson, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Tom Hicks, 20 Sione Kalamafoni, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Rob Cook, 23 Ben Morgan.
Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Keith Earls, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 James Downey, 11 Johne Murphy, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony (captain), 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Dave Foley, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damien Varley, 1 Dave Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Duncan Casey, 17 James Cronin, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Donncha O'Callaghan, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 JJ Hanrahan, 23 Simon Zebo.
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmons (Wales)
|South African news|
|» SARU exceed profit forecasts|
|» Unbeaten Shimlas to host Pukke|
|» Hard road for Ikeys and Pukke|
|» Hat-tricks abound in Vodacom Cup|
|» Preview: Vodacom Cup, Round Four|