Glasgow Warriors 13
THE outcome was in doubt right up until the final play, but in the end Glasgow did just enough at a rainy, windswept Scotstoun to make it four wins in a row in the URC. They have now overtaken Edinburgh and are just a point behind leaders Ulster.
The adverse conditions ensured that this was never going to be a classic game, but it was an engrossing contest nonetheless as both sides battled for supremacy. An inspired moment by Scott Cummings was a crucial ingredient of the home side’s success, producing their only try, while Ben Healy was off target with a late conversion attempt that would have given the visitors a share of the spoils.
Despite being without some key players on Scotland duty, Glasgow were still able to field a starting 15 which included 12 full internationals. That fact, and the fine form they had displayed in their previous outing against Connacht, was enough to ensure they got off to a solid, confident start.
The opening stages of the game were disrupted when Rufus McLean had to leave the field for an HIA which he subsequently failed, but that did not throw the Warriors off their stride for long. They had to do a bit of defending first immediately after that injury, with scrum-half Jamie Dobie, on for the winger, being involved in the action to thwart a Munster attack. But then they steadily got their running game going, with Sam Johnson to the fore as they forced the visitors onto the back foot.
Duncan Weir had the first scoring chance of the night after Munster conceded a penalty just inside their own half, but his long-range effort was just off target. The stand-off then opted to go to the corner when Glasgow got another penalty in a similar position, and when the attack off the lineout was ended by a high tackle, he made no mistake from right in front of the posts.
Munster had looked a bit ragged in those opening 15 minutes, and although they mounted a dynamic attack from the kick-off, they were held out by a well-organised home defence. That pattern persisted for much of the following quarter-hour, with the Irish province enjoying a lot of possession and the Warriors ensuring they could make nothing of it.
Glasgow figured more as an attacking force in the latter stages of the first half, but Munster gave as good as they had got in defence. With just over two minutes to play the Irish side forced their way upfield, then equalised through a Healy penalty after the Warriors had been caught offside.
That looked like being that before the break, but right from the kick-off the Warriors went back in front. Cummings charged down an attempted clearance from Munster scrum-half Neil Cronin, and the Scotland lock raced on to collect the loose ball and touched down. Weir converted to give his team a seven-point lead at the break.
Munster pressed hard in the opening stages of the second half, and had half a chance of a try when Cronin charged down a Weir clearance, only for the wind to carry the rebound dead.
Minutes later the Glasgow stand-off kicked out on the full, and from the subsequent attack Munster were awarded a penalty after Jack Dempsey had tackled high. Healy kicked to the corner, but Richie Gray disrupted the maul to end the danger.
Then Fraser Brown was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on, but Healy missed the penalty attempt from a couple of metres inside the home half. The 14 men fought back, and when they got a penalty on the edge of the Munster 22, up stepped Weir to make it 13-3.
A Healy penalty cut the gap back to seven points a couple of minutes later with Brown still in the bin. Munster kept up the pressure even when the Warriors were back to 15 men, and inside the final 10 minutes Jean Kleyn crashed over from a couple of metres out. Healy missed the conversion to leave the score at 13-11, and Glasgow held on.
Glasgow: O Smith; S Cancelliere, R Fergusson (S McDowall 65), S Johnson, R McLean (J Dobie 5); D Weir, G Horne; O Kebble, F Brown (co-captain, J Matthews 69), S Berghan (E Pieretto 65), S Cummings, R Gray, R Wilson (co-captain, K McDonald 65), T Gordon (A Miller 74), J Dempsey.
Munster: M Haley; S Daly, C Farrell, R Scannell, S Zebo; B Healy (J Crowley 68), N Cronin (P Patterson 68); J Loughman (J Wycherley 55), D Barron (K O’Byrne 68), S Archer, J Kleyn, F Wycherley, J O’Donoghue (captain), C Cloete (J Hodnett 55), G Coombes (A Kendellen 68).
Referee: G Gnecchi (Italy).
Glasgow: Try: Cummings. Con: Weir. Pens: Weir 2.
Munster: Try: Kleyn. Pens: Healy 2.
Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 3-0; 3-3; 8-3; 10-3 (h-t) 13-3; 13-6; 13-11.
Yellow card –
Glasgow: Brown (56mins).
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