Munster Takes One Step Closer

Two-time Heineken Champions Cup winners Munster moved to the brink of the European Cup quarterfinals on Friday with a bonus-point 41-15 victory over Gloucester.

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Munster flyhalf Joey Carbery feasted on a personal haul of 26 points, including two of his team's five tries, and shunted returning English rival Danny Cipriani into the sidings.

Centre Rory Scannell and wings Keith Earls and Andrew Conway also scored tries for the Irish side.

The 2006 and 2008 champions have an eight-point lead in Pool 2 and will now be guaranteed a place in the last eight if they beat Exeter at home next weekend.

Gloucester managed tries by wing Ollie Thorley and prop Fraser Balmain, plus a Billy Twelvetrees penalty and conversion, yet they remain bottom of Pool Two after Munster opened up an eight-point lead at the top.

"We knew this was going to be a massive game. We showed good patience, and we will take this bonus point win away from home, said Munster coach Johann van Graan.

"Joey capped it off with a special performance. That's three weeks in a row that he hasn't missed a goal-kick, and his decision-making was excellent."

Cipriani returned from a chest injury suffered a month ago against Exeter but he was unable to salvage Gloucester's campaign; the English club has been eliminated from quarterfinal contention, and remains rock bottom of the table.