Munster 23 Glasgow Warriors 21: An error strewn Munster performance came dangerously close to causing a shock defeat to a Glasgow Warriors side composed largely of seconds and academy players in the Guinness Pro12 at Thomond Park last night.
The Scots were a point in front thanks to six penalties and a drop goal by out-half Rory Clegg up to the 77th minute when Ian Keatley held his nerve and knocked over a 35 metre penalty into see Munster extremely fortunate winners by 23 points to 21.
So for the second league game in a row they got out of jail in the dying minutes but there was little else to enthuse about a very disjoined and below par display.
Munster coach Anthony Foley reacted honestly and straightforwardly, accepting his side got lucky.
He said: “There could be little complaint had we lost. We were very fortunate to get out with a win. The number of mistakes we made were frustrating, things like throwing two line-outs long and missing touch from penalty kicks, it was very sloppy and very frustrating and those errors, I can assure you, will focus minds when we get together again.”
On that very point, No. 8 CJ Stander ruefully said: “It’s going to be very interesting on Monday.”
Munster would have gone into the game quietly confident of a bonus point but that was never a remote possibility and it remains to be seen what the season holds unless there is a massive improvement. Foley’s Glasgow counterpart Gregor Townsend had every reason to be proud of his side’s performance and it came as no surprise when their number eight Adam Ashe was voted man of the match. No Munster player had a fair claim on such an honour.
Penalties by Clegg and Keatley were the only scores in a poor first half hour before Dave O’Callaghan crashed over for a Munster try on 27 minutes with Glasgow flanker Tyrone Holmes in the sin bin.
A couple of Clegg penalties brought Glasgow to within a point only for Keatley to knock over a long range effort to leave Munster 13-9 ahead at the interval.
Indiscipline could have cost Munster dearly as the second half progressed as they ran foul of Welsh referee Ben Whitehouse and Clegg knocked over two penalties to put Glasgow 18-13 on 60 minutes.
Munster emptied their bench at this stage and the arrival of a brand new front-row injected some badly needed fire. Dave Kilcoyne’s trademark bursts roused the 5,183 strong crowd and those immediately around him. At long last, they worked up a head of steam and BJ Botha powered his way over for a try on 66 minutes that Keatley converted. But Glasgow weren’t finished, Clegg dropped a goal to put them 21-20 ahead only for Keatley’s late penalty to save Munster.
F Jones capt; A Conway, D Johnston T Bleyendaal, G van den Heever; I Keatley, D Wulliams; J Cronin, D Casey, S Archer, M Chisholm, D Foley, Dave O’Callaghan, J O’Donoghue, CJ Stander.
S Monahan for Jones 39; M Sherry for Casey 44; BJ Botha for Archer 51; C Sheridan for Williams 55; D Kilcoyne for Cronin 56; R Copeland for Chisholm 56; R Scannell for Bleyendaal 74.
R Hughes; J Bulumakau, H Blake, F Lyle, L Jones; R Clegg, G Hart; A Allen, P MacArthur, D Rae, R Harley capt, S Cummings, T Holmes, C Fusaro, A Ashe.
Z Fergusson for Rae 19-27; K Low for Cummings 56; M Blair for Hart and J Eddie for Holmes, both 62; J Yanuyanutawa for Allen 69; F Scott for McArthur 72; G Hunter for Fusar0 75.
Referee - Ben Whitehouse (Wales).
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