Carbery stars as Munster win away at Gloucester
|European Rugby Champions Cup|
|Gloucester (3) 15|
|Try: Thorley, Balmain Con: Twelvetrees Pen: Twelvetree|
|Munster (20) 41|
|Tries: Carbery (2), R Scannell, Earls, Conway, Cons: Carbery (5) Pens: Carbery (2)|
Gloucester’s hopes of making the Champions Cup knock-out stages are all but over after Munster raced away to a 41-15 victory at a rowdy Kingsholm.
After an early trade of penalties, Joey Carbery skipped over for the visitors from Conor Murray’s wide pass.
Rory Scannell pinballed through the hosts’ defence in the final play before the break to establish a 17-point lead.
Gloucester struck back with Ollie Thorley and Fraser Balmain tries, but Munster were always a step ahead.
A superb off-load from Billy Holland put Keith Earls into the corner, a canny grubber kick from Carbery allowed Conway to skate in and finally Carbery scampered in for an intercept score of his own.
Munster are eight points clear of second-placed Castres, albeit having played a game more, and can start planning for the quarter-finals.
However Gloucester’s first campaign in this competition since 2013-14 is almost over after they conceded a club record number of points in a single match in Europe’s top-tier competition.
Carbery trumps Cipriani in fly-half battle
It was a victory to confirm Munster, who lead Pro14’s Conference A, as genuine contenders for Europe’s premier title.
Much of the build-up to the match focused on Danny Cipriani’s return at 10 for the hosts, but he was comprehensively outshone by Ireland international Carbery.
The 23-year-old pulled the strings superbly in attack, serving up Conway’s try with a sublimely-weighted kick and scoring two of his own with opportunistic darts.
After stuttering in the ill-tempered defeat away by Castres before Christmas, he was also immaculate off the tee.
Munster had the upper hand in the set-piece and their defence was also tight and disciplined, holding out heroically for 35 consecutive phases before finally giving up Thorley’s score.
That try moved Gloucester briefly within range at 20-8 down, but Munster headed straight down the other end with scrum-half Murray pouncing on opposite number Callum Braley to set up Earls’ score and restore the cushion.
The only blemish for Munster was an apparent rib injury which forced flanker Peter O’Mahony off just after the break.
Gloucester: Hudson; Sharples, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Thorley; Cipriani, Braley; Hohneck, Walker, Balmain; Slater, Grobler; Mostert, Ludlow, Morgan (capt).
Replacements: Trinder for Twelvetrees (70), Williams for Cipriani (68), Vellacott for Braley (68), Seville for Hohneck (70), Marais for Walker (68), Knight for Balmain (70), Clarke for Grobler (57), G. Evans for Morgan (70).
Munster: Haley; Conway, Farrell, Scannell, Earls; Carbery, Murray; Kilcoyne, Scannell, Archer; Kleyn, Beirne; O’Mahony (capt), O’Donnell, Stander.
Replacements: Goggin for Farrell (68), Bleyendaal for Carbery (70), Mathewson for Murray (68), Loughman for Kilcoyne (59), Marshall for N. Scannell (68), Ryan for Archer (57), Holland for O’Mahony (45), Botha for O’Donnell (57).
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