Munster’s long Good Friday

Glasgow 51 Munster 24
A pacy second-half performance from Glasgow killed off Munster’s hopes at Scotstoun in last night’s crucial RaboDirect Pro12 match and provided a warning ahead of next weekend’s Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Harlequins at the Stoop.

The physicality of the Munster forwards gave the visitors the advantage in the first half but two interception tries by Glasgow allowed the home side to build up a narrow lead by the interval. In the second half Munster were not able to live with Glasgow’s high-tempo game and in the end an embarrassingly-heavy defeat was the result.

Munster were rocked within the first minute when a pass from Casey Laulala was intercepted by Sean Maitland for the Scotland wing to be given a clear run to line and five points after only 26 seconds of play, Ruaridh Jackson’s conversion adding to the pain.

But Laulala soon atoned as the outside centre finished off a series of close range drives triggered by a strong scrum in the Glasgow 22 and an initial break by No 8 James Coughlin. Ronan O’Gara added the conversion to level the scores at 7-7.

Munster threatened again when skipper Doug Howlett and full-back Felix Jones combined on the right touchline. The end result was a penalty and a kick to the Warriors 22 by O’Gara, only for the throw-in at the ensuing line-out to be judged squint.

But Munster were soon on the attack again, the dry conditions encouraging fast movement of the ball, and the visitors’ speed and aggression making it difficult for Glasgow to compete in the contact area.

Then after Glasgow had lost a line-out on their own throw the Munster forwards took control, marching forward in a rolling maul to create a try for prop David Kilcoyne. O’Gara adding a simple conversion kick.

Glasgow then showed that lightning strikes twice as Warriors’ scrum-half Nikola Matawalu grabbed the second interception try of the night after ‘stealing’ the ball from Duncan Williams’ slack pass, Jackson’s conversion levelling the scores at 14-14.

Munster hit back immediately with a run by Jones, but a massive kick from Warriors’ full-back Stuart Hogg forced the visitors back on the defensive. From a break and clever kick by Matawalu Munster were forced to concede a line-out five metres from their own line.

From the resultant throw Munster gave away a penalty, allowing Jackson to put his side into the lead with a successful kick. Another penalty for a high tackle by O’Gara gave Glasgow a further foothold in Munster territory and after the Reds had been penalised at a scrum, Jackson added a second penalty for a 20-14 half-time lead.

Glasgow looked the livelier of the two sides at the beginning of the second half but O’Gara reduced the Warriors’ lead with a well struck penalty.

Glasgow’s high tempo game was beginning to deliver dividends, however, and when John Barclay broke the Munster defence from a flat pass, the Warriors moved the ball first to the right and then back in-field for Jackson to cut through for a try which he then converted.

Jackson was again the Glasgow provider with a penalty after the Warriors’ forwards had dominated at a scrum. Munster were in further trouble from a sprint up the left by DTH Van Der Merwe, a try being prevented by a brilliant tackle from Doug Howlett. But from the ensuing scrum Glasgow replacement Mark Bennet scored his side’s bonus try, Jackson’s conversion putting the Warriors into an unassailable 37-17 lead.

With confidence high Glasgow added another try, this time Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg outpacing the defence for Warriors’ fifth try, converted by Duncan Weir.

A late try from Howlett and conversion from Ian Keatley followed only for John Barclay to score a breakaway try, which was converted by Weir for the final score.

Scorers for Glasgow: Tries: Maitland, Matawalu, Jackson, Bennett, Hogg, Barclay. Cons: Jackson (4), Weir (2). Pens: Jackson (3).

Scorers for Munster: Tries: Laulala, Kilcoyne, Howlett. Cons: O’Gara (2), Keatley. Pen: O’Gara.

GLASGOW: S Hogg; S Maitland (M Bennett 64), S Lamont, P Horne, D van der Merwe; R Jackson (D Weir 71), N Matawalu (H Pyrgos 59); R Grant (O Fainga’anuku 66), P MacArthur (D Hall 57), J Welsh (M Low 54), T Swinson (T Ryder 57) A Kellock, J Strauss, J Barclay, R Wilson

MUNSTER: F Jones; D Howlett, C Laulala, J Downey, J Murphy (I Dineen 64); R O’Gara (I Keatley 57), D Williams (C Sheridan 53); D Kilcoyne (W du Preez 64), M Sherry (D Varley 64), BJ Botha (S Archer 53), D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell, P Butler, T O’Donnell, J Coughlan

Referee: L Hodges (WRU).

Rabo Pro12: Edinburgh 9 Zebre 7.


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