Glasgow v Munster: Warriors battle resolutely but lose again

Strong finish by visitors secures bonus-point win at rainy Scotstoun

Tommy Seymour's break produced a try for Glenn Bryce. Image: © Craig Watson.

Glasgow Warriors 13

Munster 27


GLASGOW competed well in a tough encounter at Scotstoun, but in the end they were denied even a losing bonus point as Ryan Wilson picked up a foolish yellow card and Munster finished strongly to make it six wins out of six in the PRO14. The Warriors were only briefly in front in the first half and were always behind in the second, but they fought well throughout, and scored two impressive tries through Glenn Bryce and Grant Stewart.

Having said that, fighting well is not enough, and Glasgow’s record is now a dismal one win and five defeats. They have a couple of less daunting fixtures to come against Cardiff and the Dragons before the league takes a break and the Champions Cup takes over, but they are already some way off the pace in Conference A. 

The early stages of a game played in heavy rain and an awkward wind were dominated by a kicking duel, but then Munster slowly got on top at the breakdown and took the lead after 11 minutes. They twice sent penalties to touch deep inside the home 22, and at the second time of asking Gavin Coombes collected the throw cleanly and Billy Holland went over, with Ben Healy converting.

After being unable to create so much as a half-break up to that point, Glasgow conjured up a fine reply within a minute. Tommy Seymour came into the line and broke through in midfield, Robbie Nairn picked up a wayward pass and carried on towards the left corner, and when he was downed he passed out of the tackle to Glenn Bryce, who touched down.

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Pete Horne’s conversion attempt into the wind was just off target, but it was a timely and heartening response by the Warriors nonetheless. That response soon became all the more emphatic when Brandon Thomson, on after Nick Grigg took a head knock, sent a mighty penalty over from halfway to put Glasgow in front. Another head injury, to Tommy Seymour this time, forced the Warriors to go to their bench again and bring on Niko Matawalu.

After doing little in attack for some time, Munster regained the lead from another lineout drive just past the half-hour. Fineen Wycherley finished off this time, with BenHealy’s attempt to add the two points coming back off a post. The Irish province deservedly held on to that lead for the rest of the half, snuffing out a Glasgow attack in the dying seconds.

Healy failed to stretch his team’s advantage to seven when he fell short with a penalty two minutes into the second half, and a minute later his attempt to find touch from another penalty went dead instead. The error count continued to rise on both sides, unsurprisingly given the conditions, but crucially, the Munster pack were increasingly dominant in the scrum. Twice in the space of five minutes they were awarded penalties from the set piece, and from the first Healy added to his tally.

Glasgow changed both props in a bid to get back on terms in the scrum, but they faced problems in other areas as well, with Damian de Allende becoming increasingly prominent in midfield and scrum-half Craig Casey continuing to orchestrate proceedings expertly. When the Warriors got a rare excellent position with a five-metre scrum, it was the Munster 9 who disrupted proceedings, earning his team a penalty in the process.

As the final quarter began, Glasgow twice came close to scoring from excellent driving mauls, and when Munster offended a third time, Holland was shown the yellow card. The visitors gave away two more penalties in the next play, Glasgow kicked to touch once more, and this time Grant Stewart powered his way over from the lineout for a well-merited try.

Thomson’s attempt to level was wayward, but there was still plenty of time left for Glasgow to do something about the two-point deficit. Before they had time to do anything, however, Ryan Wilson was yellow-carded for diving in dangerously when Casey was on the deck. 

Munster took barely a minute to score from the penalty, going to touch then driving the maul, with Coombes finishing off. Healy made it a nine-point lead, Holland came back on, and the momentum was firmly with the visitors as time ticked away.

They needed one more try for the bonus point, and they got it with a couple of minutes to spare, as Jean Kleyn finished off from close range on the blindside. JJ Hanrahan, on for Healy, missed the conversion.

“Our guys showed a lot of grit and aggression tonight,” said Wilson afterwards. “With just over 10 minutes to go, we got ourselves back in the game. What cost us was compounding errors and our work at the breakdown. We can’t keep letting sides like Munster with a strong driving lineout camp us in our 22.”

Teams –

Glasgow Warriors: G Bryce; T Seymour (N Matawalu 30), N Grigg (B Thomson 9), R Fergusson, R Nairn; P Horne, S Kennedy; A Seiuli (A Allan 52), G Stewart, E Pieretto (D Rae 52), L Bean (H Bain 72), R Harley, R Wilson (captain), T Gordon, T Ioane (F Lokotui 53). Unused substitutes: J Matthews, C Korteweg.

Munster:  M Haley; C Nash, R Scannell, D de Allende, M Gallagher (D Goggin 71); B Healy (J Hanrahan 71), C Casey (N McCarthy 78); J Cronin (J Wycherley 66), K O’Byrne (R Marshall 62), S Archer (K Knox 66), J Kleyn, W Holland (captain), F Wycherley (J O’Donoghue 62), J O’Sullivan (T O’Donnell 66), G Coombes. 

Referee: A Jones (Wales).



Glasgow: Tries: Bryce, Stewart. Pen: Thomson. 

Munster: Tries: Holland, Wycherley, Coombes, Kleyn. Cons: Healy 2. Pen: Healy.

Scoring sequence (Glasgow first): 0-5, 0-7, 5-7, 8-7, 8-12 half-time, 8-15, 13-15, 13-20, 13-22, 13-27.


Yellow cards

Munster: Holland.

Glasgow: Wilson.

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  1. How are Scotland going backwards? The lack of flair and imagination in the backs. the fact the most dynamic back line in Europe are now the least effective. Not to mention the French dominated the scrum and the collisions. The French also easily countered the vaunted maul. Defence is much better, all else going backwards.

  2. One aspect of the poor Warriors performance was the seeming reluctance of the scrum-half to pick up the ball from the scrum when it was genuinely available but to leave it in too long in a sometimes struggling scrum, eventually losing possession, or just having a lot of difficulty in distributing it in a worthwhile manner!

  3. What’s alarming is the lack of developed talent across Scottish rugby that can rise to test level.

    Look at Leinster. An embarrassment of homegrown talent mixed with a few “brought in” players, and a legacy of doing so. They can field a national team, and still field teams at pro14 level that can smash opposition with regular bonus point scores.

    Can we see any evidence of this in Scotland? I don’t.

  4. Agree with Addiemeister the decline in the Warriors is way beyond worrying.
    Thought the guys did better than I thought they might , we were really scraping the bottom of the barrel. Yet some of the lesser guys stood up well, and Thomson’s penalty from 1/2 way was great.However in previous seasons we have not fallen off the cliff as we have done in the last few weeks when the internationals are away.
    OK we have been unlucky when we lost Hogg , Finn and Gray they will be better for Scotland but that does not help Glasgow. The coach has to go, he has even managed to stifle Nico with his coaching. The dynamic running rugby Glasgow are famous for seems to be gone, I still am not sure what style we are aiming for. Players are out of place Horne at 10 when Thomson is not on the park , Jones who Scotland need at 13 playing 15 (ok he has been good but that’s only because he is a great player), signings are questionable Gray who we knew was prone to injury has lived up to his reputation. The once famous support running is gone the day when a player had 2 or 3 support players on his shoulder are gone, I assume that’s the coaches fault, hold the defence line no matter what or something like that.
    We are due to meet Exeter and Lyon soon I’m not looking forward to that, we do miss the crowd at Scotstoun.

  5. With respect to the likes of Robbie Fergusson and Sean Kennedy, isn’t this the time to give academy guys an opportunity in the first-team? The team is up against it given the resources of the the Irish teams in particular, but learning from the likes of Harley, Horne and Ioane would help bring the young boys on.

  6. The decline in the Warrior over the last 18 my months is staggering. Lack of proper investment, losing our best players constantly year after year, a questionable choice of head coach. Our defence is awful especially in our own 22, a total lack of joined rugby and have coped hopelessly to losing players at test time

  7. This is going to be a long and painful season. For both Clubs and I fear the national team. All 3 seem to be going backwards.

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