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From Bod’s hat-trick to Sexton’s drop-goal, no opponent has defined this Irish rugby century quite like France

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Gloucester make knockout stages with sensational win over Bordeaux

By PA
Press Association

Two tries from George McGuigan proved vital as Gloucester moved into the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup with a sensational 26-17 victory over Bordeaux-Begles.

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The hooker, who has been named in England’s Six Nations squad by new head coach Steve Borthwick, crossed twice from driving line-outs as Gloucester completed the double over the French outfit to be the final qualifier from Pool A in the last 16.

Bordeaux knew they could not progress to the knockout stages of the showpiece club tournament but would have been able to qualify for the latter rounds of the second-tier Heineken Challenge Cup with a win, and made a breakneck start in front of a noisy crowd of 25,000 at Stade Chaban-Delmas.

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France international outside-half Matthieu Jalibert fired them into the lead with a penalty inside three minutes and Gloucester had to withstand more pressure before steadying themselves.

The west country club mounted a couple of promising attacks as playmaker Billy Twelvetrees pulled the strings, but they were caught by a sucker punch after Jalibert fielded a kick, beat a chaser and found Santiago Cordero.

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The Argentina star escaped and drew the cover defence before supplying a scoring pass to scrum-half Jules Gimbert, who was in support, on his inside. Jalibert hit the target with the conversion and Bordeaux were 10 points to the good.

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Gloucester responded after Twelvetrees opted to kick a penalty into a corner, with McGuigan going over from the line-out which followed.

A late and reckless challenge on Gloucester scrum-half Stephen Varney saw Bordeaux captain Mahamadou Diaby sin-binned by Irish referee Frank Murphy for foul play.

Diaby was quickly followed to the cooler by prop Ugo Boniface, who had deliberately beat down a Gloucester pass with a hand.

Gloucester had a two-man advantage for eight minutes either side of half-time but failed to score a point.

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However, Albert Tuisue was unstoppable off the back of a scrum to touch down seconds after Diaby had returned to the field. Full-back George Barton converted and Gloucester snatched the lead.

It lasted seconds, however, as Boniface atoned for his sin-binning by being on the end of a sweeping attack, Jalibert converting for a 17-12 advantage.

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Yet Bordeaux proved to be their own worst enemies, with Jalibert becoming their third player to be shown the yellow card for a cynical offence.

Barton stroked back-to-back penalties for Gloucester to move ahead for a second time, albeit by a point. However, another penalty from Barton extended the lead to four points and it became nine when McGuigan produced a copycat try of his first-half effort.

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