Glasgow Warriors 13
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.”
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 –