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Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Saturday, 5 April 2008 19:20 UK
Heineken Cup quarter-finals
5-6 April, 2008


London Irish 20-9 Perpignan

Gloucester 3-16 Munster


To get involved use 606 or text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Mark Orlovac

1926: That's it from me folks, thanks very much for your company. We will do this all again tomorrow with Saracens v Ospreys and Toulouse v Blues. The wonderful Ben Dirs will take you through the action. See you all soon, take care.

"We were very honest from one to 15, and the guys on the bench as well. It is a special jersey to play in and it is a great day. We were a little bit lucky that Gloucester missed the early penalties but once we got the scores we got momentum."
Munster captain Paul O'Connell

"Well done Munster. Deserved win."
From HarvestMike on 606

FULL-TIME: Gloucester 3-16 Munster
That's it, Owens blows the final whistle and Munster celebrate. Gloucester had their chances early on but the three missed penalties cost them dear and once Munster went ahead, they could not get back into it.

79 mins: Howlett thinks he has scored after he chases O'Gara's grubber kick into the in-goal area. The TMO says no however, ruling that Simpson-Daniel got to the ball first.

74 mins: Munster are dominating as Gloucester start to tire. Scrum-half Tomas O'Leary bursts through the home defence and Olly Morgan has to desperately run across to take his kick into touch near Gloucester's line.

71 mins: Gloucester have a kick charged down near their own line but Lamb touches down in the in-goal area. The conditions are now foul at Kingsholm, the wind is swirling and the rain is pouring down - perfect Thomond Park weather. Anthony Foley replaces Munster number eight Denis Leamy.

66 mins: PENALTY Gloucester 3-16 Munster
Munster infringe at a ruck and after new skipper Tindall elects to go for goal, Lamb slots over the kick.

64 mins: Gloucester scrum-half Rory Lawson is replaced by Gareth Cooper.

62 mins: TRY Gloucester 0-16 Munster
Will James spills a pass on halfway and Munster launch a clinical counter. Denis Hurley sees a space out wide and delivers a perfectly-judged grubber kick for Howlett to pick up and score. That is surely the game, Gloucester's dream looks to be over. O'Gara misses the conversion.

58 mins: Gloucester pile forward. Munster's defence is superb though and Ian Dowling steps up quickly from the line to snuff out the attack and turn the ball over. That was Gloucester's big moment - they had to get something from that.

55 mins: Chris Paterson is put out of his misery with Willie Walker taking his place and Will James replaces Marco Bortolami. James Simpson-Daniel glides through the Munster defence, why he wasn't involved for England in the Six Nations I don't know, but as he charges towards the Munster line, Howlett makes sure he can't get a try-scoring pass away by tracking Vainikolo.

53 mins: O'Gara's clearance kick is far too long and Gloucester can attack again. Ryan Lamb fires a cross kick to the wing but Doug Howlett keeps his nerve and calls the mark despite having Lesley Vainikolo charging towards him.

51 mins: Gloucester get a bit of possession but Munster's forwards are not allowing quick ball and eventually the home side knock on.

50 mins: Buxton now comes off permanently, with Delve his replacement.

49 mins: PENALTY Gloucester 0-11 Munster
Nieto is pinged for coming off his feet at a ruck and O'Gara extends Munster's lead.

46 mins: Munster come forward as the ball goes through the hands out wide to Doug Howlett. The Kiwi wing kicks on and puts the retreating Olly Morgan under pressure, leaving Simpson-Daniel to clear up in Gloucester's in-goal area.

45 mins: That's better from Gloucester. James Simpson-Daniel has a bit of space after a fine miss pass from Ryan Lamb. However, the moves comes to an abrupt halt when Titterrell knocks on.

43 mins: Lots of pick and drive from the visitors as they use the forwards to try and punch a few holes. The ball finally gets a bit of width but the impressive Tipoki knocks on.

41 mins: Ronan O'Gara starts the second half and Gloucester scrum-half Rory Lawson clears to touch. Buxton's injury was a blood problem and he is now back on.

"I'm not a fan of ROG but he has put same brave tackles in today."
From CYMROGLAN on 606

"Gloucester ain't tough enough at the moment!"
From sirshanewilliams on 606

40 mins: HALF-TIME Gloucester 0-8 Munster
Dowling boots the ball out and the whistle goes. Gloucester need to gather their thoughts pretty quickly at the break otherwise Munster will run away with this game.

39 mins: Changes for Gloucester. Mike Tindall comes on for inside centre Anthony Allen while Gareth Delve replaces blind-side flanker Peter Buxton.

37 mins: TRY Gloucester 0-8 Munster
Munster pile on the pressure but it is all a bit scrappy. Lesley Vainikolo cannot hold onto a loose ball in his own 22 but Howlett does and feeds Ian Dowling for the game's first try. O'Gara misses the conversion.

34 mins: Munster's Denis Hurley thinks he has scored in the corner but play is pulled back for crossing in midfield.

31 mins: Denis Leamy knocks from the resulting scrum to hand possession back to Gloucester but superb defence from Rua Tipoki wins the ball for his side. This is tense stuff.

28 mins: Crucial times for Gloucester as they get a series of scrums eight metres from the Munster line. Pucciarello, who was in a shirt and tie before the game, now comes on after Tony Buckley is forced off. O'Connell puts in a fine tackle and the ball is turned over.

26 mins: It is now Gloucester's turn to apply the pressure. They have men over out wide but wing Ian Dowling stands in the right place to divert the pass to ground - there was a hint of a deliberate knock-on however.

22 mins: Gloucester are handed a reprieve after the touch judge awards a dubious line-out to the home side. However, Andy Titterrell's throw is long and Munster can clear their lines.

19 mins: Here we go again. Gloucester get another penalty, Paterson steps up to take the kick but there is no redemption as the balls sails wide to the left. Oh dear, I think that is it for Paterson in this game. Gloucester should be six points clear - you can't miss three penalties against Munster in the Heineken Cup.

"Paterson's missed kicks will cost Gloucester. Munster take the lead and Nieto sin-binned. Come on Munster."
boonthefence on 606

13 mins: PENALTY Gloucester 0-3 Munster
Munster go through the phases and start to move into Gloucester territory. Prop Carlos Nieto fails to roll away after Tipoki is tackled and is promptly sin-binned. Owens marches Munster forward after Gloucester offer him some refereeing advice and O'Gara can easily slot over the penalty from just 10 metres out. Gloucester have to keep their heads here.

9 mins: Gloucester lock Alex Brown takes out a Munster jumper at line-out time. That was dangerous and this game is simmering. Referee Owens is getting a bit fed up with the antics of both sides and has a quick word with both captains.

7 mins: Gloucester start to make inroads and Munster infringe at a ruck. Paterson gets another chance to put his side in front but the Scotland back misses again. Unbelievable. He might be taken out of the kicking firing line soon.

5 mins: OK lads, we've all had a good night. Things get a bit tasty as a clearly fired up Lesley Vainikolo roughs up Munster outside centre Rua Tipoki. Players from either side start pushing and shoving, all a bit silly really, while Vainikolo takes a while to calm down. Munster get the penalty but Ronan O'Gara fails to find touch and Gloucester attack.

4 mins: Much amusement on the rugby desk here as Munster captain Paul O'Connell is forcibly cleaned out by two Gloucester players after stepping over at a very static ruck. That was a statement of intent I feel.

1 min: Ryan Lamb starts the game but Munster centre Lifeimi Mafi loses the plot and blocks Olly Morgan off the ball. Stupid, absolutely stupid. If that wasn't bad enough, the Kingsholm faithful are then stunned as Chris Paterson, the man who never misses a penalty, inexplicably does. That kick was very, very nervy.

1729: Gloucester skipper Marco Bortolami leads out his side and the noise is deafening. Referee Nigel Owens is about to blow the whistle.

"COME ON MUNSTER!! The Red Machine is marching once again."
From Jim on 606

1728: The volume at Kingsholm goes up a notch as we wait for the teams. Great atmosphere.

1725: There has been a late change to the Munster line-up. Prop Marcus Horan has been forced out after picking up an injury in the warm-up and his place is taken by Tony Buckley. Federico Pucciarello comes onto the bench.

1722: In the text inbox, someone has just asked if anyone wants a kebab. Not sure if the person involved has got a wrong number or not, but just in case, I'll have a chicken shish with all the salad, chilli sauce, garlic mayo as well as a portion of chips. Thanks very much. Actually, putting that order in has got me very hungry all of a sudden.

1714: In case you missed it, here are the team news headlines. For Gloucester, Mike Tindall returns to the bench after two months out with a lacerated liver suffered on England duty in the game against Wales. Iain Balshaw is injured so Chris Paterson is on the wing while forwards Peter Buxton and Andy Hazell come into the back row.

For Munster, Tomas O'Leary is named at scrum-half in place of the experienced Peter Stringer and Denis Hurley takes the 15 shirt.

Gloucester: Morgan; Paterson, Simpson-Daniel, Allen, Vainikolo; Lamb, Lawson; Wood, Titterrell, Nieto, Bortolami (capt), Brown, Buxton, Hazell, Narraway.
Replacements: Paul, Dickinson, James, Delve, Cooper, Walker, Tindall.

Munster: Hurley; Howlett, Tipoki, Mafi, Dowling; O'Gara, O'Leary; Horan, Flannery, Hayes, O'Callaghan, O'Connell (capt), Quinlan, Wallace, Leamy.
Replacements: Sheahan, Buckley, O'Driscoll, Foley, Stringer, Warwick, Lewis.

"It's a daunting task. This is one of the venues you want to play in. We are delighted to be in the quarter-finals and we are going to give it our best shot."
Munster coach Declan Kidney

1706: Gloucester and Munster have played four times in the Heineken Cup, with both sides claiming two wins apiece. Obviously, the stand-out game is that 'miracle' match back in 2003 when Munster - needing a 27-point margin to reach the last eight - defeated Gloucester 33-6 at Thomond Park. Television clips of the match show a delirious Donncha O'Callaghan dancing around like a nutter with Munster fans. Superb.

"Our line-out was brilliant and generally our kicking game was outstanding. Hewat got player of the day today, deservedly so, and it makes people out in Australia look a bit stupid right now. We had to move Perpignan around and it paid off. The control in the second half was outstanding - we managed to squeeze a physical team."
London Irish boss Brian Smith

"This is obviously massive for the club. This is the first time London Irish has reached the semi-finals and the club are ecstatic. The forwards made our life a lot easier. The line-out was superb and to work off a platform like that is brilliant for a back."
Irish full-back Peter Hewat

1650: Deep breath people, we are only halfway through the day's activities and we will soon be over to Kingsholm for the clash between Gloucester and Munster. This game has been eagerly anticipated ever since the draw was made and apparently there were queues outside the ground at 1130 this morning. Brilliant.

How do you think this one will go? Let me know what you think via text or on 606.

"Well I was wrong, very well done London Irish. Mark Orlovac, just curious, is your heritage Serbian?"
Slater582 on 606

Hi Slater582, my dad is from Banja Luka in Bosnia and the name is of Croatian descent. You are right, Irish did well - I wonder if they now feel they can go all the way?

FULL-TIME: London Irish 20-9 Perpignan
Thankfully the final whistle goes before more damage is done. Skipper Bob Casey boots the ball into touch and the Madejski Stadium goes bananas. The Exiles have made history and they totally deserve it.

80 mins: Damien Chouly delivers a forward pass to flanker Viliami Vaki who is in turn bundled out of bounds. Vaki takes exception to this and as he gets on his feet he starts swinging at Steffon Armitage like a heavyweight boxer. Rightly, Vaki is sent off. What a disappointing end to the game.

79 mins: Perpignan try and force the issue but the Irish defence is superb, as it has been all game. Irish have been tenacious and committed and are about to deservedly win the match.

75 mins: Perpignan get into the opposing 22 for the first time in ages but then knock on and Irish win back possession. This game is winding down and Irish are surely in the last four now.

69 mins: Irish are doing the basics well and are grinding this out perfectly. They are using the kicking game to play the match in Perpignan's half. The French side are running out of time and ideas.

"I hope London Irish win, because if the Blues beat Toulouse, Cardiff will have them for breakfast."
iceman will make ya famous on 606

63 mins: PENALTY London Irish 20-9 Perpignan
This is turning into the Hewat show. Perpignan infringe again and the Australian slots over the kick from near the halfway line. Irish are within touching distance of the last four for the first time.

57 mins: PENALTY London Irish 17-9 Perpignan
The visitors are getting a little bit frustrated now and seem to be losing a bit of discipline. Substitute Damien Chouly kicks the ball out of Hodgson's hands as he tries to get the ball out of a ruck and Hewat kicks another penalty. Irish are slowly taking control.

56 mins: Perry Freshwater comes onto the field as one of a raft of substitutions for Perpignan, and is unsurprisingly given a hostile reception by the home support.

The Grand National is about to start people, if you want to follow the action to see how your money is doing, have a look at Oliver Brett's fine commentary.

54 mins: PENALTY London Irish 14-9 Perpignan
Hodgson delivers a fine box kick to put Perpignan under pressure. Tagicakibau and Steffon Armitage apply the pressure on the catcher and the resulting ruck - forcing the penalty. Hewat kicks and the Exiles are now five points ahead.

52 mins: After an entertaining first half, it's all gone a bit flat at the Madejski. Both sides are happy to kick for touch and with the conditions as they are, you can probably understand it. We need a bit of magic from somewhere to spark this game into life again.

46 mins: Another great kick, this time from Topsy Ojo, pegs Perpignan back.

45 mins: The rain is still falling in Reading and there are plenty of mistakes as a result. It needs to settle down. Hewat raises home spirits with a monster kick that comes off a Perpignan player before bouncing out deep in the French half.

42 mins: The Perpignan pack inch their way slowly into the Irish half with a rolling maul but the home side repel the drive and then get a scrum after a knock on.

41 mins: Perpignan get things going in the second half.

HALF-TIME: London Irish 11-9 Perpignan
A superb opening half finishes and we can now have a breather.

40 mins: Montgomery fails to deal with a massive up and under from Hewat and Seilala Mapusua gets his foot on the ball to leave the Perpignan defence scrambling. Cusiter gets to the ball near his own posts first but Mapusua does not let the number nine get up before he tackles him and Perpignan win the penalty.

37 mins: PENALTY London Irish 11-9 Perpignan
Nicolas Laharrague places a fine chip to wing Adrien Plante in the corner but Irish scrum-half Paul Hodgson produces a stunning last-gasp tackle to put his man out of bounds just before he touches down. Play is called back as Declan Danaher is penalised for offside and Montgomery claims the three points.

32 mins: It is the last piece of action Catt sees as he comes off injured. Shane Geraghty, who has been out for nearly two months out with knee ligament damage, takes his place.

31 mins: London Irish 11-6 Perpignan
Kennedy is imperious again at line-out time and another steal puts his side on the attack. Seilala Mapusua goes on the charge, flattening Percy Montgomery in the process, before a limping Mike Catt delivers a perfectly-judged cross-kick to Declan Danaher, who leaps above the defence to catch the ball and touch down for the game's first try. Hewat misses the conversion.

29 mins: PENALTY London Irish 6-6 Perpignan
Perpignan win a penalty after Irish are offside at a ruck, silly really. It has clouded over rapidly in Reading and as the rain starts to fall, Montgomery puts his side level.

26 mins: PENALTY London Irish 6-3 Perpignan
It's been a good three minutes for those of a London Irish persuasion. The impressive Tagicakibau hammers Scotland's Chris Cusiter in the tackle, driving him backwards. The Irish forwards arrive on the scene quickly and at pace, forcing Perpignan to concede the penalty and Hewat kicks the three points.

23 mins: PENALTY London Irish 3-3 Perpignan
Irish come forward after Nick Kennedy's superb steal at a Perpignan line-out. Number eight Henry Tuilagi is penalised for coming over the top of a ruck and Hewat kicks the three points to put the home side level.

21 mins: Perpignan start to increase the pressure and Irish are forced to defend desperately. However, wing Sailosi Tagicakibau is the saviour as he produces a great steal. Sighs of relief all round in Reading.

There is plenty of sport going on today, and you can keep in touch via the BBC Sport website. We have Premier League football with Sam Lyon and the Grand National with Oliver Brett. Go on and have a look but you hurry on back now.

14 mins: Irish number eight Phil Murphy is caught in possession as he tries to burst from the base of a scrum near the Exiles line. He soon makes up for it as he dives on a loose ball to allow his side to relieve a bit of Perpignan pressure.

"I'm with those who think Perpignan will win, Montgomery has a way of looking rubbish but then coming through in close games."
SomersetSpy on 606

11 mins: Irish are still dominating possession but are not punching many holes. Irish take the ball into contact but aggressive work from Perpignan at the breakdown leads to the home side being penalised for hands in the ruck.

9 mins: A good kick from Hewat puts Perpignan deep in their own half but the French line-out is good and they can clear.

5 mins: PENALTY London Irish 0-3 Perpignan
Topsy Ojo is penalised for a high tackle as Perpignan move the ball for the first time. It is not as bad as Marty's challenge but you have to go with what the referee sees I suppose. Montgomery nails the kick and the visitors are ahead.

4 mins: Irish are certainly giving it some width. Full-back Peter Hewat is clattered off the ball by David Marty but the referee does not spot it. That is an early indication of how Perpignan want to play this.

2 mins: Great start for Irish. They wanted to start at a high tempo and they sure have. Flanker Steffon Armitage goes on the charge but Perpignan get back to defend.

1 min: London Irish start the game. The sun has now come out but Perpignan full-back Percy Montgomery copes well with the glare to catch an early high ball.

"C'mon London Irish! Perpignan will edge it out though I think."
Slater582 on 606

1500: The Exiles run out onto the pitch and they are given a rapturous reception from the home support. We are all set.

1458: The Fields of Athenry blares out in Reading and the Perpignan team slowly emerge from their dressing room into the tunnel. The opening exchanges are going to be crucial and Irish coach Brian Smith has warned that his side "are ready to match muscle with muscle".

1454: There are quite a few blue seats at the Madejski Stadium. Hopefully it isn't as cold as when I was there a few weeks ago for the St Patrick's Day game with Wasps. Jeepers it was freezing.

Just as an aside, the rugby desk want to give a big shout out to the Cook Islands (population 21,750), who have managed to reach the quarter-finals of the Adelaide leg of the IRB Sevens series. England, Wales and Scotland have not.

1447: This actually could be a very difficult commentary to do as the very annoying theme tune from children's television programme Lazy Town has been stuck in my head all day. It's getting on my nerves now.

1444: Television coverage is showing an interview with a very relaxed looking Mike Catt, who starts for Irish at fly-half. If his side can display the same kind of confidence against a team that duffed up Stade Francais recently - then the Exiles will be in with a great chance.

"I just think that Gloucester have been poor the last few weeks and Munster will capitalise."
From sirshanewilliams on 606

1438: You know the drill. I can't do this all on my own, I need as much input from you as possible. Predictions and how you are planning to watch the day's rugby will be most welcome. For mine, I reckon London Irish, Munster, Ospreys and Toulouse will make up the last four. Do you agree or not? Get involved on 606 or via text. Looking forward to hearing from you.

1434: Just to remind you that Bath, Leeds, Worcester and Newcastle are all in action in the European Challenge Cup. You can follow their progress here:

1429: Afternoon all. Ready for a bumper day of Heineken Cup action? Good. We are now at the knock-out stages and today should be a cracker.

First up we have London Irish against Perpignan - and it could be fiery. The teams had two bad-tempered games in the pool stages with the match at the Stade Aime Giral particularly tasty. Exiles flanker Kieran Roche was left with a broken cheekbone after he was caught by a stray elbow from Perry Freshwater, which led to the Perpignan prop being banned for four weeks.

Then we have what should be an epic contest between Gloucester and Munster at Kingsholm. The home side are on a poor run of form, losing five of their last seven games, and have only reached the semi-finals once before. Munster, meanwhile, are after a seventh semi-final appearance and topped a pool containing Wasps and Clermont Auvergne.

Hold on to your hats.

see also
Heineken Cup photos
05 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
London Irish 20-9 Perpignan
05 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
Gloucester 3-16 Munster
05 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
Ryan demands Gloucester fluency
01 Apr 08 |  Gloucester
Vainikolo happy to be an underdog
01 Apr 08 |  Gloucester
Ospreys eye Millennium semi-final
01 Apr 08 |  Rugby Union
English trio at home in quarters
22 Jan 08 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2007/8
23 May 07 |  Rugby Union

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