Mighty Munster beat Glasgow to grab URC semi-final spot

Scottish side were defeated on home soil by gritty Reds in an old-school arm-wrestle
Mighty Munster beat Glasgow to grab URC semi-final spot

Munster players celebrate at the final whistle in Glasgow. Picture: INPHO/Craig Watson

Glasgow Warriors 5 Munster 14 

MUNSTER ended Glasgow’s 17-game winning streak at Scotstoun in Saturday evening’s URC quarter-final clash, with a brilliant hard-fought victory that was certainly a knockout game for the purists.

Munster suffered a significant blow in the fifth minute when talismanic captain Peter O’Mahony was forced off with an arm injury, to be replaced by John Hodnett.

A bloodied Niall Scannell. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo
A bloodied Niall Scannell. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Glasgow threw the Scotstoun Stadium kitchen sink at Munster in the early stages but the Munster defence held firm, with a key feature being how the Munster pack repelled a number of Glasgow mauls close to their try-line, as the maul has been such a devastating attacking weapon for the Warriors this season.

RG Snyman had to depart for an HIA in the 17th minute, being replaced by Fineen Wycherley and had to sit out the rest of the game. Munster’s hopes of seeing their first-choice pack for the first time was up in smoke, with both O’Mahony and Snyman gone.

Glasgow number eight Jack Dempsey thought he had scored in the 20th minute but he got held up. Almost instantly Munster struck with their first attack of the game. Centre Malakai Fekitoa instigated the move by making a crunching tackle in midfield to turnover Glasgow, and after Gavin Coombes got them to the try-line with a huge carry, Jack Crowley was able to deftly pop to Fekitoa who swivelled out of a tackle to score a brilliant try that he himself had started.

In the 25th minute, Glasgow out-half Tom Jordan was given a straight red card for driving his shoulder into the head of Conor Murray. As Glasgow had gone with a 6-2 split on the bench with no reserve out-half they were in serious trouble. Murray had to go for a HIA, and he too was not to return.

From the resultant penalty, Munster pummelled the Glasgow line once more and after Tadhg Beirne had gone close, Craig Casey, Shane Daly and Crowley combined with some slick handling to put Antoine Frisch in to score in the 27th minute, as Munster led 0-14 at half time.

Kyle Steyn finally got Glasgow off the mark in the 68th minute when he scored in the left corner after being fed by Huw Jones.

Munster saw out the victory but further injuries to Barron, Nash and Fekitoa mean that it will be a struggle to field a side for the semi-final against Leinster.

Scorer for Glasgow: K Steyn (1 try).  

Munster: J Crowley (2 cons), M Fekitoa, A Frisch (1 try each).

GLASGOW: O Smith; S Cancelliere, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall, K Steyn (c); T Jordan, G Horne; J Bhatti, J Matthews, Z Fagerson; S Cummings, R Gray, M Fagerson, R Darge, J Dempsey.  

Subs: Nathan McBeth, JP du Preez, S Vailanu and H Jones for J Bhatti, R Gray, R Darge and O Smith (54), S Berghan for Z Fagerson (63), L Bean and A Price for S Cummings and G Horne (67), F Brown for J Matthews (72).

MUNSTER: M Haley; C Nash, A Frisch, M Fekitoa, S Daly; J Crowley, C Murray; J Loughman, D Barron, S Archer; J Kleyn, RG Snyman; T Beirne, P O’Mahony (c), G Coombes.

Subs: J Hodnett for P O’Mahony (5), F Wycherley for RG Snyman (17), C Casey for C Murray (25), N Scannell for D Barron (42), B Healy for M Fekitoa (54), J Wycherley for J Loughman (59), R Salanoa for S Archer (63), M Fekitoa for C Nash (67), A Kendellen for J Kleyn (72), Loughman for Fekitoa (76).

Referee: Andrea Piardi (IRF)

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