|Heineken Champions Cup|
|Gloucester (13) 19|
|Try: Braley Con: Cipriani Pens: Cipriani 4|
|Castres (6) 14|
|Try: Laveau Pens: Dumora 2 Drop-goal: Dumora|
Danny Cipriani gave England coach Eddie Jones a timely reminder of his ability as he helped Gloucester beat Castres 19-14 in the Champions Cup.
Jones, who picks his autumn internationals squad on Thursday, was at Kingsholm to see fly-half Cipriani kick 14 points and play an integral role in the build-up to Callum Braley’s first-half try.
That score and three penalties from the boot of Cipriani gave the home side a 13-6 lead at the break, before two more moments of ill-discipline from the visitors were punished by the former Sale and Wasps player.
Castres reduced the deficit when Martin Laveau powered over on the right for an unconverted try. That seemed to rejuvenate the French side, and they increased the pressure on the home defence in the final quarter, closing the gap when Julien Dumora slotted home another penalty.
Joe El-Abd’s side seemed set to complete the fight-back when they drove Gloucester back in the final stages, but Tapu Falatea dropped the ball in the maul.
That allowed Gloucester some respite, and they held on to become the first English club to win on the opening weekend of the competition.
Cipriani keeps cool in wet conditions
Gloucester earlier had another try disallowed when Tom Marshall went over with the score 3-0. Referee Marius Mitrea, after consultation with the video officials, decided that tight-head prop Fraser Balmain was not part of the ruck during the build-up, and had obstructed a Castres forward.
The Premiership club did, however, go over six minutes before the break. First Marshall made a great take from an up and under, and then Cipriani produced a fake and reverse pass which led to Braley scoring.
Cipriani’s kicking was exemplary in awful, wet conditions at Kingsholm, and his only black mark came in the second half when he failed to release the ball to Braley, who was bearing down on the tryline.
Cipriani was named Premiership player of the month for September – two weeks after being left out of Jones’ 36-man England training squad.
Jones said in August the 30-year-old would be “judged on his rugby” after Cipriani was fined by magistrates for common assault and resisting arrest on a pre-season tour in Jersey.
Gloucester: Woodward, Sharples, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Marshall, Cipriani, Braley, Hohneck, Marais, Balmain, Savage, Grobler, Clarke, Polledri, Morgan.
Replacements: Walker, Rapava-Ruskin, Knight, Gleave, Vellacott, Williams, Hudson.
Castres: Batlle, Laveau, Ebersohn, Vialelle, Paris, Dumora, Raosavljevic, Stroe, Jenneker, Fa’anunu, Samson, Jacquet, Babillot, Delaporte, Tulou.
Replacements: Sauzaret, Falatea, Hounkpatin, Mafi, Caballero, Le Bourhis, Smith, Kockott.
More to follow.
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