Home Rugby Cipriani Pulling Strings As Gloucester Get Bonus-Point Win Over Connacht

Cipriani Pulling Strings As Gloucester Get Bonus-Point Win Over Connacht

Connacht travelled to the Kingsholm Stadium to face Gloucester high on confidence after their opening round win over Montpellier followed by an encouraging defeat away to Toulouse in the Champions Cup.

Contrast that to the Premiership outfit who hadn’t won in five games and narrowly lost their opening two games of the Champions Cup campaign.

However, it was the home side who started the brighter as they had Connacht on the back foot early on. Connacht thought they were off the hook when Gloucester were penalised at the breakdown, however, a minute later they fell behind when Tom Marshall jinked his way through the defence to touchdown under the posts, leaving Danny Cipriani with the easiest of conversions.

It didn’t take long for Connacht to hit back and it was John Porch who proved to be the hero.

First, he intercepted a pass to deny Chris Harris from stretching Gloucester’s lead before a beautiful offload from Jack Carty allowed him to bring Connacht back into the game.

A blistering opening 10 minutes and the momentum looked to have swung back in Gloucester’s favour when Marshall blocked down Carty’s chip only for referee Pascal Gauzére to deem Marshall’s block a knock-on.

Mid-way through the half and Connacht took the lead when Carty slotted home a penalty after Gloucester were adjudged to have collapsed the maul.

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The momentum continued to shift back and forth as both sides committed errors with Gloucester particularly poor at the breakdown. However, it was the home side who went closest to scoring again before the break. First, it was Mark Atkinson who broke the gain line only to lose his footing before putting a try on a plate for Joe Simpson ten minutes before the break.

Gloucester then thought they had their second try of the match when Franco Marais burrowed his way over the line, however, the score was wiped out following a knock-on as Connacht survived to take a 10-7 lead in at the break.

It was Gloucester who started the second half brighter when Cipriani found touch in the corner just a minute after the restart but their willingness to commit penalties at the breakdown came back to haunt them once more.

Connacht seemed to be gaining a foothold once more but disaster struck when Cipriani intercepted a Carty pass before setting up Louis Rees-Zammit who put the home side back in front.

In what was an error-strewn game overall, Connacht replacements Conor Fitzgerald and Ultan Dillane were both penalised immediately after coming on for a forward pass and high tackle as Gloucester looked most likely to score the game’s next try.

The home side pegged Connacht back behind their own 22-metre line and it looked as though their pressure was to be awarded when Cipriani chipped in behind for Marshall. However, the TMO ruled a knock-on as Connacht were relieved yet again.

Their respite lasted a minute though as Kyle Godwin was yellow-carded for Connacht’s persistent infringements before Gloucester made use of the extra-player immediately by releasing the backs and sending Marshall over for his second try of the afternoon.

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It then went from bad to worse for 14-man Connacht when Jake Polledri exploited a gap in the defensive line before racing through to score the bonus-point try for the home side.

Cipriani continued to pull the strings for Gloucester as the home side looked to enter cruise control down the home straight. However, they did have Rees-Zammit to thank whose tackled prevented Eoghan Masterson from getting Connacht back into the game.

The western province piled on the pressure in the final 10 minutes as Billy Twelvetrees was yellow-carded for an offside meaning the victors would finish the game with 14 players.

Connacht looked to have scored a try, however, the TMO yet again ruled the ball to have been lost forward resulting in a scrum for the home side. In the end, Connacht got their consolation try when Quinn Roux crashed over before Fitzgerald added the extras to leave the final score at 26-17 in favour of the home side.

Danny Cipriani was a class apart on a day where everything seemed to go right for the out-half. His performance overall was summed up by this beautiful grubber kick in behind shortly before being replaced with the game all but wrapped up.

 

About Michael Corry

Sports Journalist based in Dublin. Hit me up if you have a unique story to tell. Email: michael@punditarena.com Twitter: @Corry_10 Instagram: @Corry_10