Leinster earn bonus point in loss to Gloucester

Gloucester 19 Leinster 13

Gloucester 19 Leinster 13

Leinster snatched a bonus point in the 11th minute of injury time against Gloucester to give them an outside chance of a home draw in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals.

In a thrilling clash at Kingsholm the Irishmen could not contain the home side in the second half and drifted to a 19-10 deficit before Gloucester infringed at a ruck and then conceded 10 metres for dissent, allowing Felipe Contepomi to capitalise.

But Gloucester had done what head coach Dean Ryan required. After losing their first three games in Pool Two they were playing for pride and Ryan wanted a performance to match their potential to provide a springboard for their Guinness Premiership campaign.

Fumbles aside, and there were plenty of them, the contest was as ferocious as it was fast.

Gloucester’s pack had a march on their Irish counterparts and rumbled towards the line from a series of early line-outs.

All they got for their efforts was a penalty, but Willie Walker clipped the post with his kick.

Gloucester regrouped and after Jack Adams’ charge to the line was halted, Brian O’Driscoll (pictured) stuck his hands into the ruck and the captain was sinbinned.

With a man over, Gloucester’s pack powered over the whitewash and referee Nigel Owens did not hesitate to award the penalty try when Leinster hauled the maul down.

Walker converted and Gloucester looked for more.

But they had to do so with 14 men after Peter Richards gave Owens a piece of his mind and was promptly sinbinned as O’Driscoll returned to the fray.

Leinster were given 10 more metres from which a solid set-piece enabled Felipe Contepomi to race clear and beat Walker, but the television official confirmed he had dropped the ball over the line.

Undaunted they struck again, Stephen Keogh and Jamie Heaslip combining to enable O’Driscoll to touch down seven minutes before the interval.

Contepomi converted to level the scores and with Richards back on, parity was restored in full.

But Gloucester could not curb their passion and it started to cost them. They squandered some good possession before half-time and it took a while to harness their enthusiasm.

Leinster kept cool, sending replacement winger Rob Kearney over, only to be brought back for crossing. But Contepomi slotted a penalty to put them in front in the 57th minute.

Gloucester struck with another catch and drive that sent replacement prop Christian Califano over.

Ryan Lamb, on for Walker, could not convert the try or a penalty minutes later, but Gloucester had rediscovered their edge and Leinster could not restrain them.

They were soon back in Leinster’s 22 and Mark Foster, having knocked on seconds earlier, chipped Kearney and slid over for a try that was confirmed by the television official in the 74th minute.

Lamb converted the hardest of his attempts and Leinster struggled to get out of their half until the 10th minute of injury-time, when Contepomi was gifted his second penalty.

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