Check out the best pics from yesterday’s disappointing Heineken Champions Cup defeat to Gloucester here.
 
Don’t forget the return fixture takes place this Saturday at The Sportsground in a simply must-win game. You can book your spot in the link below.
 
FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE

Gloucester 26

Connacht 17

A strong second half Gloucester performance turned around Connacht’s three point half time lead as the English side claimed the bonus point win in this Champions Cup Round 3 clash. After the first of the crucial back to back fixtures, the return leg in the Sportsground next Saturday now becomes a must win for Connacht.

Gloucester drew first blood just 4 minutes into the game when Tom Marshall raced onto a pass outside the 22 and ran in under the posts. Amazingly though, Cipriani’s conversion was to prove their final score of the opening half for Gloucester as Connacht mounted a massive defensive display.

Connacht responded with their opening try after 8 minutes when John Porch scored his third try in two games. Porch looked confident in his new full back position and looked an attacking threat throughout.

While Gloucester made a handful of visits inside the Connacht 22 throughout the first half, they couldn’t break down a resolute defence. Connacht had their chances too and their period of pressure was rewarded on 18 minutes when Carty converted a penalty to leave the visitors 3 points to the good – a lead they held to the break.

It was a different Gloucester side that emerged for the second half and within seven minutes of the restart, Louis Rees-Zammit was in for the home side’s second try.

Connacht to their credit tried to stay in touch, but the English Premiership side had found a new level of confidence matched by greater accuracy.

At the game hit the 60 minutes mark, Gloucester were in again just after Kyle Godwin was sent to the bin following a succession of Connacht penalties – the final quarter was always going to be an uphill challenge from here. The home side capitalised on that numerical advantage and in the 65th minute Jake Polledri claimed the bonus point try with Cipriani scoring the conversion to leave it 24 – 10 with 15 to go.

From here Connacht went in search of a losing bonus point but and were unlucky not to have a try with 5 minutes remaining. The try did eventually come though when Quinn Roux drove at the Gloucester line 2 minutes into injury time. Unfortunately though, even with Fitzgerald’s conversion success, Connacht left with nothing.

So Gloucester draw first blood in the back to back battle. Both sides have just six days to regroup for the return leg in the Sporstground next Saturday.

For tickets to the crucial Champions Cup clash clash – Click here

Connacht scorers

Tries: J Porch, Q Roux

Conversions: Jack Carty (1), Conor Fitzgerald (1)

Penalties: J Carty (1)

Gloucester: Tom Marshall,  Louis Rees-Zammit,  Chris Harris (B Twelvetrees),  Mark Atkinson,  Ollie Thorley,  Danny Cipriani (M Banahan), Joe Simpson (Callum Braley ) Val Rapava Ruskin (Josh Hohneck), Franco Marais (Todd Gleave), Fraser Balmain (Jamal Ford-Robinson) Gerbrandt Grobler,  Franco Mostert (Alex Craig), Ruan Ackermann (Lewis Ludlow), Jake Polledri,  Ben Morgan.

Connacht:  John Porch,  Niyi Adeolokun,  Bundee Aki, Peter Robb (Tom Daly,  Kyle Godwin,  Jack Carty (Conor Fitzgerald) , Caolin Blade (Stephen Kerins)  Denis Buckley (P McCabe), Tom McCartney (Jonny Murphy), Finlay Bealham (Dominic Robertson-McCoy) Joe Maksymiw (Ultan Dillane ), Quinn Roux,  Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a (Robin Copeland), Jarrad Butler.

 

Connacht have been boosted by the return of their captain Jarrad Butler to the starting team to face Gloucester in the Heineken Champions Cup on Sunday in Kingsholm (Kick off 1pm).
 
Butler starts at number 8 having come off the bench last week following a knee injury. He joins a back row that includes Eoghan Masterson and Colby Fainga’a at blindside and openside respectively.
 
Elsewhere in the forwards, there is a highly experienced front row with hooker Tom McCartney and props Denis Buckley and Finlay Bealham. In the second row Joe Maksymiw starts alongside Quinn Roux.
 
Bundee Aki has a new partner in midfield with Peter Robb coming into the side, while a late injury to Matt Healy sees John Porch switching from the wing to full back. The former Australian Sevens player, who scored two tries last weekend, is part of a back three with Kyle Godwin and Niyi Adeolokun occupying the wings.
 
Jack Carty comes back in at out half where he renews his half back partnership with the impressive Caolin Blade.
 
Commenting ahead of the game, Connacht Head Coach Andy Friend said: “The back to back fixtures in this competition are always critical and the next two weeks against Gloucester will decide our Champions Cup season. Next week will be a huge occasion but first we have to get a result on Sunday. For now, we are solely focused on that away leg and we are travelling to Gloucester with the belief that we can win the game”.
 
“It is great to have Jarrad Butler back in the side. As our captain he has a massive influence on the group and his presence will be important for such a big occasion. We have also made a few positional changes to our side. Matt Healy picked up a knock in training so John Porch will slot in at full back and Kyle Godwin moves to the wing. We have used over forty players so far this season so we know the depth that we have and that will be tested again in the coming weeks.”
 
Connacht Matchday Squad V Gloucester (SUN 8 Dec, 1pm)

(15-9): John Porch, Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Peter Robb, Kyle Godwin, Jack Carty, Caolin Blade (1-8): Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Joe Maksymiw, Quinn Roux, Eoghan Masterson, Colby Fainga’a, Jarrad Butler (Capt).

Replacements: Jonny Murphy, Matthew Burke, Dominic Robertson McCoy, Ultan Dillane, Robin Copeland, Stephen Kerins, Conor Fitzgerald, Tom Daly.

FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE

The squad trained at The Sportsground this morning with all the focus on a massive few weeks in Europe, starting this Sunday at Kingsholm away to Gloucester Rugby.
 
Gloucester repay the visit 10 days from now in a game you simply don’t want to miss!
 
FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE

This Roman influenced city is the gateway to the Cotswolds and the furthest inland port city in England. A city with plenty of charm and history to make it a fun filled weekend.
 
Getting There

Ireland West Airport, who are official partners of Connacht Rugby, offer a route to Birmingham Airport which is just 1 hour and 20 minutes from Gloucester.

You can then book a train ticket with trainline to bring you from Birmingham Airport directly to the city centre.
 
Where to Stay

Gloucester has a range of accommodation to suit any budget. It is an easy city to get around no matter where you stay. The docks and quays area have some good choices. If you chose to stay at the docks, you are a 10 minute drive from Kingsholm Stadium.
 
City to Stadium

Kingsholm Stadium is conveniently located in the city and is no more than a 10-minute train or bus from the centre or the quays. Both the gold and orange line will take you straight to Kingsholm.
 
Tickets

Tickets can be purchased directly from Gloucester Rugby HERE.

The Malvern Tyres and Stowford Press Stand are both covered with seating.
 
Stadium

A lot of supporters gather in the Kingsholm Inn near the stadium before entering the ground. Make sure to catch happy hour at the stadium which runs from the time gates open until 1 hour before kick-off. There is a wide selection of food offerings and pre match entertainment in the fan zone.
 
Bars in the city

The Pelican Inn: For some good ale before or after the game.
The Cider Tree: A restored 15th century coach house.
Dr Fosters Victorian Bar and Warehouse: Located in a warehouse right on Gloucester docks.
The New Inn: A historic bar with great English Ale.
 
Food in the City

So Pie: If you fancy a warm pie on matchday then head to this pie specialist on the docks.
Brewhouse and Kitchen: Brewhouse use their own homemade craft beer in each recipe.
The Old Bell-Tigers Eye: Famous for serving Pan Asian cuisine on a Black Rock grill.
The Grill Shed: Where you will find grilled, high quality meat dishes.
 
Sightseeing

Gloucester Cathedral: A gothic 11th century building that houses the tomb of King Edward II and famous for featuring in many films such as Harry Potter.
Gloucester Docks: Lots of old Victorian dock houses and great for a leisurely stroll.
St Michael’s Buildings: The highest tower in the city where the four main streets meet.
 
Cotswolds

Known for its quaint English towns and rolling hills, this famous part of England has a lot to offer. The picturesque towns of Painwick and others in the Cotswolds are only 1 hour train from Gloucester and perfect for hikers and cyclists.
 

After our trip to Gloucester, there’s just a six-day turnaround before the Premiership side return the favour and visit The Sportsground. It’s set to be another massive European occasion on College Road, so book your spot now before it’s too late.
 
FIND YOUR MATCH TICKETS HERE

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