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Connacht and Gloucester looking to keep hopes alive

Thursday 12th December 2019

1:18 pm (GMT)

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Connacht and Gloucester looking to keep hopes alive

Gloucester's Jake Polledri scores a try

Connacht Rugby and Gloucester Rugby meet in Heineken Champions Cup Pool 5 with both sides needing a win to keep alive their European qualification hopes in Galway.

The match on Saturday at 12:45 GMT will see the Irish province attempt to get revenge on Gloucester after a 26-17 defeat to the English side in Round 3.

Key facts

  • Gloucester have won all five previous games against Connacht in Europe, across both the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, with all five decided by single figure margins.
  • Three of Gloucester’s last four Heineken Champions Cup games have seen the side losing at half-time come back to win the match.
  • Gloucester’s teenage wing, Louis Rees-Zammit, has made 234 metres this season, the third most of any player.
  • Jake Polledri has beaten the most defenders of any forward this season and the third most overall.

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Copeland try gives Connacht last-gasp win

Saturday 14th December 2019

3:17 pm (GMT)

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Copeland try gives Connacht last-gasp win

Connacht’s Robin Copeland celebrates after scoring the winning try

Connacht Rugby kept their Heineken Champions Cup Pool 5 hopes alive after a dramatic 27-24 win over Gloucester Rugby with Robin Copeland scoring a late try to snatch victory for the hosts.

The hosts got off to a strong start and took the lead on 15 minutes when Conor Fitzgerald was able to split the posts from the kicking tee.

It would be another 15 minutes before the scoresheet was troubled again and it would be Connacht who did that as Caolin Blade burrowed his way over for the first try after plenty of pressure on the Gloucester line.

Gloucester responded really well to going behind and immediately responded, with the pick and go working well as they edged left and with the overlap, Gerbrandt Grobler walked in for the try.

It would be Mark Atkinson who would then give Gloucester the lead for the first time on 50 minutes. It came from a delightful intercept inside the Connacht 22 and he would not be stopped, sauntering over the try line.

More outstanding attacking play from Gloucester followed with Louis Rees-Zammit who charged up the right flank, played a no-look offload to Callum Braley who gathered and found Lewis Ludlow who dived over the try line in Chris Ashton-esque fashion.

The visitors went 24-13 ahead soon after as Ollie Thorley split the Connacht line for the initial break and after further phases to stretch the Irish side’s defence, Atkinson dummied and dived over the try line for his second of the match.

But Connacht would not give in and after Shane Delahunt powered over the line on 77 minutes, it was a simply stunning finish to the match.

After collecting the kick-off, the Irish province went the length of the field in remarkable fashion to score the match-winning try.

Bundee Aki made a huge carry and a few phases later, a lovely offload was played to Robin Copeland who escaped his man for the try, sending The Sportsground wild and keeping Connacht’s European campaign alive.

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