Gloucester went into the match bottom of group 5, yet to record a win in Europe following two narrow defeats to french sides Montpellier and Toulouse.
Gloucester Rugby comfortably saw off Connacht with a bonus point win in what was a ‘must win’ match.
Johan Ackermann had said prior to the match that his side “needed to win regardless of the competition”. The Cherry and Whites were on a 5 game losing streak before yesterdays game so a win against Connacht was the only option.
The match started quickly at Kingsholm with Gloucester playing some impressive expansive rugby. It took only 4 minutes and moment of brilliance from New Zealand born Tom Marshall to spot a mismatch in defense and finish off a great individual score.
It took only a further 4 minutes, a loose Gloucester line-out and some silky hands from Connacht Outside Half Jack Carty to put Australian born John Porch through under the posts. This tied the game up at 7-7 before the ten minute mark.
The rest of the first half was heavily Gloucester dominated however neither side was able to break the deadlock until a Jack Carty penalty put the men in green ahead. 7-10 at halftime.
The second half got off to a much slower start, two minutes slower to be exact. Connacht once again winning the ball back from the Gloucester line-out, they built the phases up and looked certain to be marching to a second try. However, out of nowhere, Danny Cipriani plucks the ball mid-flight from a Jack Carty pass and races clear for the interception try but selflessly hands the ball off to Louis Rees-Zammit to walk the try in to score his first ever European try.
The next Gloucester try came at the 60 minute mark, Connacht winger Kyle Godwin was sent sent to the bin for an offside offence and Gloucester made no mistake in capitalising from the scrum that was called. A simple move from the base of the scrum saw Tom Marshall throw a lovely dummy and go over for his second try. Cipriani was unable to add the conversion from out wide
It took only another 3 minutes for Gloucester to score their bonus point try, as Italian international Jake Polledri burst through two tacklers just inside the Connacht half and canter in unopposed. Ciprani added the extras.
Gloucester then went down to 14 men after Billy Twelvetrees was sent to the bin for the same offense as Kyle Godwin earlier in the game, despite only being on the field a matter of moments. Connacht then built up the phases and as the clock turned red, second row Quinn Roux carried himself over the line for a consolation try. Final score 26-17.
Gloucester head Johan Ackermann said after the game: “We were far from perfect but we hope that this win can kick-start our season”.
Man of the match Tom Marshall also said: Its always nice to get over the line but it was a great team performance and more importantly we got those four tries and the bonus point”.
More from the players and coaches to follow…