Gloucester captain admits ‘Miracle Match’ still hurts

Colm Kinsella

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Colm Kinsella

Munster's James Cronin is tackled by Matt Cox, Gloucester, during the sides pre-season friendly at Thomond Park in August
GLOUCESTER captain Tom Savage has admitted that Munster’s sensational 2003 ‘Miracle Match’ win over the ‘cherry and whites’ 10 years ago remains a ‘sore point’ with several of their players and coaches.

GLOUCESTER captain Tom Savage has admitted that Munster’s sensational 2003 ‘Miracle Match’ win over the ‘cherry and whites’ 10 years ago remains a ‘sore point’ with several of their players and coaches.

Munster stunned Gloucester with a 33-6 bonus point win in their 2003 pool match at Thomond Park, a result which saw the English Premiership side dumped out of Europe.

“You can never write Munster off,” second row Tom Savage said.

“We went there in pre-season and the stadium was only about half full, but the atmosphere was still incredible. They’ve got a similar fan base to us, the stadium is absolutely ginormous and we’re looking forward to going away and having that challenge.

“That 2003 match is still a sore point at training. There’s still a few boys around, whether that’s in the coaching set up or guys still playing now, who were involved in that.

“Sometimes when you lose a game you can laugh about it a few years on but to this day people are still pretty down about that: they knew they chucked away a massive opportunity in Europe. That will be in the back of our minds and the guys that are still about will be reiterating the point that you can’t take anything for granted in Europe.”

Gloucester number eight Ben Morgan is looking forward to Saturday’s clash in Limerick.

“It will be a great occasion to be involved in,” England international Morgan said.

“When teams come down to Kingsholm, as much as the crowd gets into them, I think they enjoy that. Equally, we’ll relish that going out to Munster.

“It’s always great to be involved in games where you have a crowd that’s booming, where you can hear them and they’re very vocal. That’s something that really adds to the occasion and something that we really relish.

“It’s exciting when it’s a big European game. You’re playing against better teams and therefore your opportunities in the match are fewer so you have to be right on top of your game. You have to cut down your penalty count and your error count, you have to be near 100 per cent in the line-out and get a good platform to play off. To do well in European games, you have to be on top form. That’s the big focus for us, controlling the amount of errors we make so we can impose our game on the opposition.

“I’m very positive with our team, I feel very confident. We’ve got attacking threats from 1-15 and our bench is very strong, too. It always gives you confidence when you know that the players around you are so good. You know that when you come off and are absolutely knackered, there’s someone coming on who’s as good as you and they’ll be giving their all for the jersey.”

Gloucester marked their return to the top table of European rugby with a late 27-22 home win over Perpignan, while Munster were surprisingly seen off by Edinburgh at Murrayfield.