Monday 11 December 2017

European rivals fail to impress in their domestic assignments

John Fallon

It took a last-gasp penalty from Billy Twelvetrees to prevent all three of Munster's Heineken Cup pool opponents being beaten last weekend.

Twelvetrees landed a controversial penalty with the last play of the game to prevent a third successive loss for Gloucester in the English Premiership.

Gloucester, who will be the first visitors to Thomond Park in this season's competition on October 19, looked set for another loss when George North created an opening for Northampton Saints to edge in front in the final minute.

But Twelvetrees, who had earlier got one of Gloucester's three tries, kept his nerve to snatch a dramatic 26-24 win at Kingsholm, with Nigel Davies' men travelling to play Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

Off the field, Gloucester this week announced a profit for the third year in a row, with a pre-tax surplus of £305,336 on a turnover of £11.6m.

Munster's other two opponents suffered heavy defeats at the weekend, with Edinburgh losing 44-10 at Ospreys – the biggest loss by any side in this season's Pro12 – and Perpignan being wiped 31-6 away to Brive.

Edinburgh, who host Munster on the opening weekend in a Saturday lunchtime fixture at Murrayfield on October 12, have now conceded 12 tries in three games, but will hope to get back to winning ways when they host fellow strugglers Scarlets this evening.

Perpignan slipped to their third away defeat when they put up only slight resistance away to Brive and have now slipped to ninth in the French Top 14.

They have already lost once at home this season – high-flying Stade Francais were victorious at Stade Aime Giral – and can expect nothing easy when Toulouse roll into town tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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