Gloucester 23-19 Connacht

Tim Taylor
Taylor scored Gloucester's opening try

Jonny May's superb late solo try earned Gloucester a thrilling victory over Connacht in the Heineken Cup and keeps alive their qualification hopes.

The result left the hosts three points behind Pool Six leaders Toulouse, who entertain Harlequins on Sunday.

Connacht's Tiernan O'Halloran traded first-half tries with Taylor as the visitors led 13-10 at the interval.

Niall O'Connor kicked four penalties, the last of which seemed set to hand Connacht victory but May intervened.

O'Connor looked to have earned Connacht their first win of the competition when his 72nd-minute penalty put the visitors 19-16 up, but replacement centre May sailed past two defenders for the decisive score.

May's late, score which saw him dance past two defenders, was a bitter blow for a gallant Irish side who were the better team for much of the match.

Taylor kicked an out-of-sorts Gloucester into a seventh-minute lead with a simple penalty.

But the visitors deservedly responded with the opening try when Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu's pass just inside his own half was intercepted by Frank Murphy, who combined cleverly with Gavin Duffy and George Naoupu to send O'Halloran over.

O'Connor converted but Gloucester hit back when Taylor bundled over following a five-metre scrum and added the extras himself.

Two O'Connor kicks saw the hosts lead only for Freddie Burns to level the scores at 16-16 with two penalties of his own.

O'Connor then missed a 20-metre drop goal but a simple kick from in front of the posts seemed likely to secure a win.

However May had other ideas and Gloucester move up to second spot in the Pool Six table, having played a game more than third-placed Harlequins.


Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath told BBC Radio Gloucestershire:

"We didn't perform well at all and lacked confidence for most of the game. Credit to Connacht, they brought a kicking game that put us under pressure.

"A win's a win, and we need to try and generate some confidence within the group while moving on and trying to be better.

"There were some fundamental points that we were so strong on last week such as set-piece, scrum drive and discipline but this week we weren't as strong. That's why we went in 13-10 down at half-time."

Gloucester: Morgan, Sharples, Tindall, Fuimaono-Sapolu, Simpson-Daniel, Taylor, Runciman, Murphy, S. Lawson, Harden, Buxton, Hamilton, Deacon, Hazell, Narraway.

Replacements: May for Sharples (67), Burns for Taylor (41), R. Lawson for Runciman (49), Wood for Murphy (55), Cortese for S. Lawson (77), Knight for Harden (64), James for Buxton (67), Qera for Hazell (49).

Connacht: Duffy, McCrea, Griffin, McSharry, O'Halloran, N. O'Connor, F. Murphy, Wilkinson, Reynecke, Loughney, Naoupu, McCarthy, Gannon, J. O'Connor, Muldoon.

Replacements: Tonetti for McCrea (25), O'Donohoe for F. Murphy (58), Rogers for Wilkinson (78), Flavin for Reynecke (56), Ah You for Loughney (58), McKeown for Gannon (52), Kearney for Muldoon (67).

Not Used: Jarvis.

Att: 10,786

Ref: Leighton Hodges (RFU).