Glasgow 22 Munster 9
MUNSTER’S hopes of making a winning start to the defence of their Magners League title were crushed last night by a Glasgow side determined to make home advantage count.
The visitors were under-strength and in the event the lack of experience in several positions were cruelly exposed. Most worrying for Munster was the front-row battle where Glasgow were dominant for most of the contest.
Yet it seemed that Munster were the likely winners in the opening minutes as Glasgow were put under self-inflicted pressure, out-half Dan Parks spectacularly miscuing his first attempted high kick. The ball went backwards, allowing Munster to gather and force a scrum five metres out.
But from the subsequent possession Munster were unable to break down a Glasgow defence inspired by debut scrum-half Chris Cusiter. Five minutes later and after some crisp handling Glasgow were penalised just outside their 22m area allowing out-half Jeremy Manning to claim the first points of the match with a well struck penalty kick.
Then it was Glasgow’s turn to show their attacking flair with a run out of defence by full-back Bernardo Stortoni that ended with Munster conceding a penalty at the break down and a score-levelling penalty goal from Parks.
Parks stroked over his second goal of the contest soon after to give his side a 6-3 lead. Glasgow, growing in confidence, continued to play an attacking game but when Scotland wing Thom Evans was sliced down by Billy Holland the home side gave away a penalty at the break down. Manning stepped up for a long-range attempt at the posts only to see his kick drift wide of the near upright.
Munster were under pressure again when Parks placed a well-weighted cross-kick aimed at flanker Kelly Brown. Fortunately for the visitors, lock Donnacha Ryan was marking Brown, and his superior height saved a dangerous situation for the visitors.
A penalty miss by Parks was a welcome sight for Munster, but it was an ugly scene that followed as Cusiter was taken out in the air by erstwhile hero Ryan after collecting the restart drop kick.
Cusiter then inspired a rolling maul from his own sharp break round the fringes, Munster were penalised for illegally stopping the maul and this time Parks made no mistake with the head-on kick at goal.
Just on half-time Munster suffered a setback when Peter Stringer was sent to the sin-bin for not rolling away after the tackle. Again it was a straight target for Parks, and again he made no mistake to send his team into the break with a useful 12-3 lead.
Despite being a man down, Munster had the better of the exchanges in the opening minutes of the first half.
Glasgow, however, missed a chance to increase their lead when Parks pulled his fifth attempt at goal wide.
With Stringer restored to the field, Munster looked constructive and threatening, but following the early pattern of the game the conclusion was a penalty award and a second goal for Manning.
Munster made two changes to their front row and the effect was immediate, as Glasgow conceded a penalty at a set scrum giving Manning an easy shot at goal to reduce the lead to just three points.
But almost immediately the lead was restored to six points with a fifth successful penalty kick from Parks, after Munster had been penalised for not rolling away after the tackle.
The game was crying out for a try, and it was Glasgow who duly delivered the score. A break by Morrison was finished off by replacement Ruaridh Jackson, with substitute scrum-half Mark McMillan converting to seal victory.
Scorers for Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson try; D Parks 5 pens, M McMillan con.
Scorers for Munster: J Manning 3 pens.
GLASGOW: B Stortoni; R Dewey, P Murchie, G Morrison, T Evans; D Parks, C Cusiter; J Welsh, D Hall, M Low, T Barker, A Kellock, K Brown, J Barclay, J Beattie.
Replacements: C Shaw for Dewey (70), R Jackson for Parks (70), M McMillan for Cuister (70), K Tkachuk for Welsh (67).
MUNSTER: F Jones; D Howlett, T Gleeson, L Mafi, D Hurley; J Manning, P Stringer; M Horan, D Fogarty, T Buckley, M O’Driscoll, D Ryan, B Holland, N Ronan, D Leamy.
Replacements: B Murphy for Gleeson (67), T Morland for Stringer (57), D Varley for Fogarty (57), J Brugnaut for Buckley (57), J Coughlan for Holland (57).
Referee: J Jones (WRU).
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