Munster produced an excellent team performance to move further clear at the top of Champions Cup Pool 2 thanks to a superb win over Gloucester at Kingsholm on Friday night.
Man of the Match Joey Carbery (two), Rory Scannell, Keith Earls and Andrew Conway all touched down in the victory.
Carbery was again flawless off the tee for the third game in a row with the out-half landing all five conversions along with two penalties.
Gloucester made the perfect start when former Munster man Gerbrandt Grobler claimed the kick-off with the hosts then winning a penalty and kicking to the corner.
Tadhg Beirne did brilliantly to disrupt the Gloucester maul and then a big scrum won Munster the penalty.
Gloucester were soon back on the front foot though and when referee Romain Poite penalised Munster at the breakdown on 13 minutes, Billy Twelvetrees landed the long-ranger for a 3-0 Gloucester lead.
Munster looked to hit back immediately with Conway very nearly latching onto a Carbery chip down the right wing.
The visitors were off the mark on 20 minutes after a good spell of pressure with Gloucester eventually penalised for offside with Carbery making no mistake to level it at 3-all.
Munster kept up the pressure with big carries from CJ Stander and Chris Farrell putting a dent in the Gloucester defence.
Conor Murray whipped out the decisive pass from the base of a ruck under the Gloucester posts with Carbery darting over to score.
The lead was 13-3 after 26 minutes after Stander and Beirne combined to win a penalty at the breakdown and Carbery landed a very difficult penalty to increase the Munster lead to 10 points.
There was no let-up from the visitors and Munster had a commanding 20-3 half-time lead after a clinical finish to the opening 40.
Johann van Graan’s men combined power and patience to score through Rory Scannell as they went through 26 phases as the clock ticked into the red with centre Scannell bouncing off a tackle before finishing expertly.
Carbery’s conversion gave Munster a 20-3 half-time lead.
Gloucester needed a good start to the second half and they got it.
They scored in the left corner through winger Ollie Thorley after 52 minutes having gone through 35 phases virtually camped on the Munster line. Magnificent Munster defence held out for so long but they were finally breached and Gloucester were back in the game.
Twelvertrees was unlucky to see his conversion come back off the near post.
O’Mahony had gone off injured for Billy Holland minutes earlier and the replacement, on his 201st appearance for the province made a huge impact.
The lock offloaded superbly for Earls to score Munster’s third try after 57 minutes with the winger dotting down his 15th European try.
Carbery knocked over the touchline conversion for a 27-8 lead with 23 minutes to go.
Andrew Conway was denied Munster’s bonus-point try on the hour after he chipped ahead to finish superbly but Farrell’s offload was deemed forward in the build-up.
Gloucester kept their hopes alive with a 64th minute Fraser Balmain try from close range after a rolling maul with Twelvetrees’ conversion reducing the Munster lead to 12 points, 27-15.
An inventive Carbery chip in behind the defence was gathered by Conway to score the bonus-point try on 66 minutes.
Out-half Carbery continued his fine form with the boot for a 34-15 lead.
Carbery was over for his second try of the night a minute later as he read the play superbly and picked off a pass in midfield to race clear for a fifth Munster try.
The conversion made it 41-15 and that’s how it stayed. The win sets up a huge clash next Saturday against Exeter at Thomond Park with the Chiefs hosting Castres at Sandy Park on Sunday afternoon.
Champions Cup Round 5 Round-Up
Peter O’Mahony departed with a rib injury and will be assessed by the medical team.
Joey Carbery was awarded Man of the Match.
Munster face Exeter Chiefs in the final Pool game next Saturday at Thomond Park (5.30pm). SOLD OUT
Munster: Mike Haley; Andrew Conway, Chris Farrell (Dan Goggin, 68), Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; Joey Carbery (Tyler Bleyendaal, 71), Conor Murray (Alby Mathewson, 68); Dave Kilcoyne (Jeremy Loughman, 60), Niall Scannell (Rhys Marshall, 68), Stephen Archer (John Ryan, 58); Jean Kleyn, Tadhg Beirne; Peter O’Mahony (C) (Billy Holland, 46), Tommy O’Donnell (Arno Botha, 58), CJ Stander.
Upcoming Home Games
For the second time this season Thomond Park has sold out two weeks in advance of a fixture, with Munster’s Round 6 Champions Cup clash against Exeter Chiefs set for a capacity crowd of 26,267 on Saturday, January 19 (5.30pm).
See full details here.
Fri, February 15 – Guinness PRO14: Munster v Southern Kings, Irish Independent Park, 7.35pm; Early Bird Closes on Wed, January 30 – Buy tickets here
6 Nations Rugby In Cork
Six Nations rugby comes to Cork for the first time in the coming months as the Ireland U20s host England and France at Irish Independent Park.
Friday, February 1, 2019
Ireland U20s v England U20s, Irish Independent Park, 7.15pm; Buy tickets here
Friday, March 8, 2019
Ireland U20s v France U20s, Irish Independent Park, 7.15pm; Buy tickets here