Glasgow Warriors v Munster
Glasgow Warriors delivered a scintillating second half performance to seal a resounding home victory over twice European champions, Munster at Scotstoun Stadium this evening.
With both sides fielding returned internationals, it was an encounter to thrill the five and half thousand strong crowd. The first half was closely matched but the second half saw Glasgow run in four tries to round off a dramatic victory, that saw Munster record their biggest RaboDirect PRO12 defeat in nine years.
There were three stunning intercept tries from Sean Maitland, Niko Matawalu and John Barclay, and other touchdowns from Stuart Hogg, returning local hero Mark Bennett and Ruaridh Jackson, contributing to his Man of the Match performance.
The match was off to a flying start for the home side as Sean Maitland intercepted Casey Laulala’s floating pass inside the first minute, catching the Munster defence unwares and sprinting over the line for the points. Jackson added the extras, much to the delight of the vocal home crowd.
Munster responded with a try of their own, as centre Laulala redeemed his earlier mistake by getting the visitors on the board. Ronan O’Gara brought the scores level as he easily slotted the conversion.
Following Laulala’s try, Munster came into the ascendancy and loosehead prop Dave Kilcoyne burrowed over the line following a big drive from their forwards to push the Irish side ahead.
Moments later however the home crowd were in fine voice as the flying Fijian, Niko Matawalu added five points to the Warriors tally, as he intercepted Duncan Williams’ pass and scampered home underneath the posts and with the subsequent conversion from Jackson the game was all square, with half an hour played.
Stand off Jackson, added another six points to the scoreboard from two penalties to ensure that the Warriors went in at half time with a 20-14 lead.
Ronan O’Gara got the second half underway and immediately the Warriors were full of fight. Josh Strauss, flaunting his impressive pace, spotted a gap in the Munster line, and it took several of the visitors to bring him down.
When the home side were penalised for not rolling away, Munster were able to build some momentum of their own and O’Gara closed the gap to only three points with his third successful kick at goal. The game entered a thrilling phase with both sides looking for a score.
The Warriors extended their lead to ten points fifteen minutes into the second half as Jackson crossed the line to finish an impressive display that started with a Ryan Grant break, before converting his own try.
As the game passed the hour mark, Glasgow were hunting for the bonus point score, keeping Munster penned in their own half. Boosted by a strong bench, there was plenty of action in the final quarter of the game and it was Mark Bennett with his first touch after coming of the bench that got the all important fourth try.
Stuart Hogg gave a dummy to Howlett to score the fifth and John Barclay scored the third intercept try of the night, after Howlett had scored a consolation try for the visitors.
Glasgow Warriors move back to the top of the table after the comprehensive 51-24 victory, 24 hours before Leinster and Ulster go head to head in Dublin.
There is a now a two week break before Glasgow travel to face Scarlets in Wales and with three games remaining the Warriors have put themselves in a good position for a play-off spot.
Full-time: Warriors 51 Munster 24
Glasgow Warriors: Hogg, Maitland, S Lamont, Horne, van der Merwe, Jackson, Matawalu, Grant, MacArthur, Welsh, Swinson, Kellock, Strauss, Barclay, Wilson.
Replacements: Bennett for Maitland (68), Weir for Jackson (72), Pyrgos for Matawalu (60), Fainga'anuku for Grant (68), Hall for MacArthur (59), Low for Welsh (55), Ryder for Swinson (59), Harley for Strauss (71).
Munster: Jones, Howlett, Laulala, Downey, J Murphy, O'Gara, Williams, Kilcoyne, Sherry, Botha, D O'Callaghan, O'Connell, Butler, O'Donnell, Coughlan, Sheridan.
Replacements: Dineen for Downey (59), Keatley for O'Gara (59), Sheridan for Williams (53), du Preez for Kilcoyne (65), Archer for Botha (53), B. Holland for O'Connell (75), Ronan for Butler (65), Varley for Sheridan (65).
Man of the match: Ruaridh Jackso