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Gloucester Rugby: Miracles and misery against Munster in the Heineken Cup

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 07, 2014

Munster pulled off the impossible in the Miracle Match

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GLOUCESTER take on arch European rivals Munster on Saturday, with their Heineken Cup hopes hanging by a thread.

A win would keep the Cherry and Whites alive and fighting ahead of their Round Six clash with Perpignan.

Gloucester have a rich history of matches against the two-time champions and Mike Brown looks back at the story so far.

Gloucester 35-16 Munster – October 10, 2002

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THE Cherry and Whites marked their return to the Heineken Cup following a two-year absence with an emphatic bonus-point triumph over the Irish province.

Kingsholm favourite Ludovic Mercier orchestrated with aplomb on the back of dominant pack and created the first try with a sublime grubber for turbo-charged wing Marcel Garvey.

The mercurial French fly-half grabbed a try of his own, in between a Jake Boer brace, and booted 15 points. But Peter Stringer snatched a late consolation which came back to haunt Gloucester.

Gloucester: Paul; Garvey, Fanolua, Todd, Beim; Mercier, Gomarsall; Woodman, Azam, Vickery (capt), Eustace (Pearce 65), Cornwell, Boer, Buxton, Forrester.

Munster: Staunton; Kelly, Mullins, Henderson, Lawlor; O'Gara, Stringer; Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, Galway, O'Driscoll, Williams, Quinlan, Foley.

Referee: J Dume.

Attendance: 11,000

Munster 33-6 Gloucester – January 18, 2003

THE miracle match. Gloucester, riding high in the Premiership, travelled to Munster with their qualification to the knockout stages all but sewn up.

To stop that and seal a place of their own, Munster had to score four tries and win with a margin of 27-points and they achieved the impossible.

Local legend has it that Munster’s task was made all the more achievable after a Gloucester team play book allegedly fell into the Irish province’s hands.

John Kelly, Mossie Lawlor and Mick O’Driscoll all scored tries to put Munster in contention and when Mercier miscalculated the points difference and turned down a kickable shot at goal you knew it would be a bad day.

White full-time approaching Stringer sent Kelly over to seal Gloucester’s fate with the Irish province qualifying as a result of their head-to-head points difference.

Munster: Staunton; Kelly, Mullins, Holland, Lawlor; O'Gara, Stringer; Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Driscoll, Williams (capt), Quinlan, Foley.

Gloucester: Paul; Simpson-Daniel, Fanolua, Todd, Delport; Mercier, Gomarsall; Roncero, Azam, Vickery (capt), Fidler, Cornwell, Buxton, Boer, Paramore.

Referee: J Jutge

Attendance: 13,300

Gloucester 22-11 Munster – January 10, 2004

Gloucester avenged their ‘Miracle Match’ defeat and drew first blood in their latest pool encounter in difficult conditions at Kingsholm.

James Simpson-Daniel claimed the Cherry and Whites’ only try, while Henry Paul booted 17 crucial points to secure victory and keep alive their hopes of qualification.

Gloucester: Goodridge, Garvey, Fanolua, Paul, Simpson-Daniel, MacRae, Gomarsall; Woodman, Collins, Deacon, Brown, Cornwell, Boer, Buxton, Paramore.

Munster: Payne, Kelly, Mullins, Henderson, Horgan, O’Gara, Stringer; Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Williams, Foley, Wallace

Referee: N Williams

Attendance: 11,000

Munster 35-14 Gloucester – January 17, 2004

Munster gained some revenge of their own as they roared to a comprehensive bonus-point victory at Thomond Park.

Marcus Horan, Frank Sheahan and John Kelly all crossed the whitewash while James Goodridge claimed Gloucester’s only try as the Cherry and Whites left Ireland empty-handed.

Qualification went down to the wire once again with Munster edging Gloucester on head-to-head points difference for a second time. The Cherry and Whites did however qualify as a best runner-up but drawn against London Wasps who recorded a 34-3 victory on their way to European glory

Munster: Payne, Kelly, Mullins, Henderson, Horgan, O’Gara, Stringer; Horan, Sheahan, Hayes, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Williams, Wallace, Foley

Gloucester: Goodridge, Garvey, Fanuloa, Paul, Simpson-Daniel, MacRae, Gomarsall; Woodman, Fortey, Deacon, Brown, Cornwell, Boer, Buxton, Paramore

Referee: J Jutge

Attendance: 12,000

Gloucester 3-16 Munster - April 5 , 2008

Under Dean Ryan, Gloucester qualified for the knockout stages for the first time in four years but they were outmuscled by Munster who went on to claim their second Heineken Cup title.

Chris Paterson uncharacteristically missed three first half penalties and an Ian Dowling handed the Irish province an 8-0 lead at the interval.

A Dougie Howlett try put the final nail in Gloucester’s coffin and a late Ryan Lamb penalty was hardly a consolation as the Cherry and Whites were left broken hearted again.

Gloucester: Morgan, Paterson, Simpson-Daniel, Allen, Vainikolo, Lamb, Lawson; Wood, Titterrell, Nieto, Bortolami, Brown, Buxton, Hazell, Narraway

Munster: Hurley, Howlett, Tipoki, Mafi, Dowling, O’Gara, O’Leary; Buckley, Flannery, Hayes, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Quinlan, Wallace, Leamy

Attendance: 16,500

Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

Munster 26-10 Gloucester – October 19, 2013

Having triumphed over Perpignan in Round One, Nigel Davies controversially rotated his squad for the trip to Limerick and was made to pay.

Ian Keatley edged Munster into an early lead with a hat-trick of penalties and they led 16-10 at the break despite Charlie Sharples try.

And a decisive Johne Murphy try put the two-time winners well on the road to victory.

Munster: Jones, Earls, Laulala, Downey, Murphy, Keatley, Murray; Kilcoyne, Varley, Botha, O’Callaghan, O’Connell, Ryan, Dougall, O’Mahony

Gloucester: Thomas, Sharples, Tindall, Mills, May, Bentley, Robson; Murphy, Dawiduik, Harden, Lokotui, James, Cox, Qera, Morgan

Attendance: 23,510

Referee: J Garces (France)

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  • Siglaws  |  January 07 2014, 7:39PM

    This is all well and good but what a club like Gloucester Rugby really needs to do is to ensure that Rupҽrt Hardҽn, our first choice and most talented tight head prop, starts as many games for Gloucester as is possible. They also need to get some decent back up in for him.

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