Glasgow Warriors 10
Glasgow Warriors suffered their second league defeat of the season with a loss to their Conference A pursuers Munster at a windy Irish Independent Park in Cork, but the Scotstoun side’s lead over their Irish rivals still remains substantial. The result was a disappointment for the conference pace-setters, but in truth Glasgow were always on the back foot, not helped by turning over far too much possession.
Basic errors killed off Glasgow’s hopes of a win against Munster. Twice Adam Hastings put the ball out on the full, first at the kick-off and then from a restart kick, and both he and Brandon Thomson failed on a couple of occasions to find touch from a penalty kick.
The other area of play that was costly to Glasgow was the lineout, where a number of overthrows destroyed potential scoring situations. By contrast Munster did the basics well and never faltered at the touchline. Moreover Munster’s more physical approach won them ball at the contact.
In the event Glasgow were never able to win enough quality possession to play their high-tempo running game, albeit they showed glimpses of their high-octane rugby, notably in scoring the try of the match early in the second half. Warriors, too, gave away two needless penalties, and in the end that made the difference between coming away empty handed and gaining a bonus point.
A depleted Warriors
All that is understandable in the circumstances, with such a large contingent of Glasgow players being away on international duty. That resulted in more inexperienced players than desirable being fielded against such strong opposition. In defeat, however, a number of Glasgow players deserve plaudits, notably George Horne, Matt Fagerson and Sam Johnson, who all tried desperately to generate pace into Warriors’ game.
Playing with the stiff breeze, Munster quickly made capital from their first-half dominance with a penalty goal by stand-off Tyler Bleyendaal after the Irish province had driven a five metre line-out. The men in red tried to repeat their lineout tactic, but this time Glasgow’s defence was firm, earning the Warriors a relieving penalty kick to touch.
But when Ratu Tagive gave away a needless penalty after holding on to the ball after being tackled into touch, Bleyendaal pushed the ball into the corner. From the resultant lineout the Munster forwards drove effectively, ending with hooker Niall Scanlon being awarded a try, but not after considerable consultation between the referee and the TMO. Bleyendaal added the conversion.
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Warriors looked more themselves when Hastings put Matt Fagerson into space. The back row had the support of Sam Johnson, who switched the direction of attack, the ball being flung out to Matt Smith only for the flanker to lose the ball on the line after a great try-saving tackle by Alex Wootton. The half finished with Munster claiming a further three points by Bleyendaal following a ruck offence to leave Glasgow trailing 13-0 at the break.
Playing with the strong wind in the second half, Glasgow soon reduced their points deficit with a Hastings penalty before producing a stylish score. From a lineout Lee Jones took the ball in the stand-off position and burst past several defenders before delivering the scoring pass to Horne, Hastings’ conversion narrowing Munster’s lead to just three points.
But Glasgow’s hopes of victory were dashed when the Munster prop James Cronin hacked the ball forward from the contact area to claim his side’s second try. Then when Bleyendaal landed his third penalty, Glasgow needed two tries to win the game, but it proved to be an unachievable target.
Munster: S Zebo; C Nash, S Arnold, D Goggin, A Wootton; T Bleyendaal (I Keatley 68), J Hart (D Williamson 77); J Cronin (D Kilcoyne 61), N Scannell (R Marshall 42), S Archer (B Scott 73) J Kleyn, B Holland; D O’Callaghan, C Cloete (J O’Donaghue 47), R Copeland (G Grobler 76).
Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson; L Jones, S Johnson, B Thompson, R Tagive (N Matawalu 71); A Hastings (R Vernon 69), G Home (H Pyrgos 58); O Kebble (A Allan 61), J Malcolm (G Stewart 40), S Halanukonuka (Z Fagerson 55); K McDonald (L Wynne 73), S Cummings; R Harley, M Smith (C Fusaro 58), M Fagerson.
Munster: Tries: Scannell, Cronin. Con: Bleyendaal. Pens: Bleyendaal 3.
Glasgow Warriors: Try: Horne. Con: Hastings. Pen: Hastings
Scoring sequence: 3-0; 8-0; 10-0; 13-0 (h-t) 13-3; 13-8; 13-10; 18-10; 21-10.
Referee : M Mitrea (Italy).