Munster see off plucky Gloucester
January 11, 2014
O'Mahony's second-half score was decisive for Munster © Getty Images
Munster secured their place in the last eight but were made to work hard for the win in a 20-7 victory over Gloucester at Kingsholm.
With the travelling fans making a superb atmosphere both sides looked up for the occasion but the opening half hour was limited to an Ian Keatley penalty. That changed on 32 minutes when Keith Earls found a way over, but the impressive Charlie Sharples scampered free at the other end after good build-up play from Gloucester on the stroke of half-time to narrow the visitors' lead to 10-7 at the interval.
The intensity remained in the second half as both teams made crucial handling errors in the opposition's 22. The Kingsholm faithful had been spurred into life by Gloucester's performance - uncharacteristic of the side which has struggled this season - but Munster eventually made the vital breakthrough when Peter O'Mahony bulldozed over from close range on the hour mark.
Keatley's conversion and a further penalty gave the Irish side breathing space and, despite good pressure in the closing ten minutes, Gloucester were unable to cross the whitewash again as their Heineken Cup campaign came to an end early for another season.
In the other Pool 6 game Edinburgh beat Perpignan 27-16 but missed out on a crucial bonus point as their own Heineken Cup hopes came to an end.
Tom Brown scored an early try for the home side, while Perpignan were limited to three penalty kicks from James Hook in the first half. The boot of Greig Laidlaw gave Edinburgh a 13-6 lead at half-time and they moved clear after the restart, with Cornell Du Preez and then Dougie Fife crossing to increase their advantage.
A Maxime Delonca try six minutes from time was a consolation for Perpignan, but Edinburgh were unable to find a final try of their own - which would have left them five points behind pool leaders Munster ahead of their trip to Ireland next week.
Perpignan flanker Dan Leo is stopped in his tracks by Edinburgh © Getty Images
Leicester Tigers overcame a massive scare in Italy as they defeated Treviso 34-19 to keep their Heineken Cup destiny in their own hands.
Despite a bright start the Tigers trailed at half-time but rallied in the second half to finally kill off Treviso's challenge in the closing stages of the match, earning a bonus-point to move within two points of pool leaders Ulster ahead of the Irish side's visit to Welford Road next week. A win against the RaboDirect Pro12 side will put Richard Cockerill's side through to the quarter final as winners of the group.
Leicester - who had never lost to an Italian side in Italy - started off as expected with a ninth-minute try from flanker Julian Salvi. But Treviso were not about to go down without a fight and took the lead nine minutes later as prop Lorenzo Cittadini powered over from close range to put them 10-5 ahead.
Mat Berquist and Owen Williams then exchanged penalty kicks as the Italian side went in leading 13-8 at half-time, but Leicester came out fighting from the restart and Miles Benjamin had soon crossed for his side's second try after a blistering 40-yard run. Treviso had only scored 16 points in four games in this season's competition coming into this encounter but they surpassed that mark on 49 minutes through another Berquist penalty to stretch their lead to 19-13.
Leicester's performance in all areas of the game had been error-strewn for much of the match but two David Mele penalties brought the scores level at the hour mark. Treviso then lost full-back Brendan Williams to the sin-bin as the wheels started to fall off their challenge, and Leicester took the game away from the hosts, first with a penalty try and then through Benjamin's second of the evening.
Thomas Waldrom advances for Leicester © Getty Images
Two tries in the first-half were enough to hand Glasgow Warriors an impressive 15-10 win at the Exeter Chiefs.
It was the home side who started the better of the two teams with Fetu'u Vainikolo dotting the ball down after 16 minutes but Glasgow soon struck back with Sean Maitland scoring in the 18th minute and Sean Lamont crossing six minutes before the break.
Stuart Hogg's 49th minute penalty gave Glasgow the five-point lead proved to be enough. Exeter did their best to hammer away at the Warriors' line in search of the win, but they were held out as Glasgow were left to celebrate.
Elsewhere, tries from Matt Healy and Robbie Henshaw were enough for Connacht as they saw off fellow RaboDirect PRO12 outfit Zebre 20-3 at Rodney Parade.
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