Planet Rugby

May magic crushes Connacht

17th December 2011 14:31

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SKY_MOBILE Jonny May - Gloucester

Match-winner: Jonny May

Gloucester escaped being left red-faced by Connacht as a late Jonny May try kept their Heineken Cup hopes alive in a 23-19 win at Kingsholm.

Connacht made the better start, dominating possession in the early stages, but Tim Taylor registered the first points for Gloucester with a penalty after seven minutes.

Undeterred, the men from Galway pressed on and got their reward moments later when an excellent attacking move went through a number of pairs of hands before it was finished off by Tiernan O'Halloran.

Having lost three games in a row at Kingsholm, the hosts were visibly lacking in confidence but fly-half Taylor gave the fans something to smile about with an impressive dummy on his way to the line to make it 10-7 midway through the half.

The feeling of positivity in the Shed did not last long though and the Cherry and Whites were greeted by a chorus of boos as they headed in for the interval trailing 13-10, Niall O'Connor having successfully converted two penalties in the last ten minutes.

O'Connor and replacement Freddie Burns then exchanged penalties in the second half but there was little to excite the crowd in a cagey encounter between two out of form teams.

With ten minutes remaining, Burns drew his side level at 16-16 with another well-struck penalty but again O'Connor replied for the Irishmen after a swift counter attack was brought to an abrupt end illegally by the home side.

Connacht had no chance at all of qualification though and began to tire as the game drew to a close. And with four minutes left on the clock, substitute winger Jonny May handed off his opposite number and raced through to score in the corner.

The Irish province remain rooted to the bottom of the table and, despite this hard-fought win, all but the most ardent of Gloucester fans will surely concede that qualification remains extremely unlikely.

The scorers:

For Gloucester:
Tries: Taylor, May
Con: Taylor, Burns
Pen: Taylor, Burns 2

For Connacht:
Tries: O'Halloran
Con: O'Connor
Pen: O'Connor 4

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Tim Taylor, 9 Nick Runciman, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Andy Hazell, 6 Brett Deacon, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Peter Buxton, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Matias Cortese, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Rory Lawson, 22 Freddie Burns, 23 Jonny May.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Mark McCrea, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Tiernan O'Halloran, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Jonny O'Connor, 6 Dave Gannon, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 George Naoupu, 3 Ronan Loughney, 2 Ethienne Reynecke, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Dylan Rogers, 18 Rodney Ah You, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Eoin McKeon, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Matthew Jarvis, 23 Kyle Tonetti.

Referee: Leighton Hodges

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