Munster v Glasgow Warriors

Munster produced a stunning first-half display and resisted a spirited comeback by Glasgow Warriors as they moved top of the GUINNESS PRO12 table.


Anthony Foley's men scored two tries courtesy of Jack O'Donoghue and Eusebio Guinazu, while Keith Earls rounded off a man-of-the-match performance with a clever finish in the second half before CJ Stander secured the bonus point win.

Rossouw de Klerk crossed the whitewash for the visitors as they looked to pull back into the match, but the Warriors were not able to withstand periods of incessant Munster pressure in defeat.

The hosts flew out of the blocks at Irish Independent Park, turning the ball over from kick-off to launch a sustained period of attack.

Their original attempts were easily thwarted, but they the game's first try almost came when good work on the left from Denis Hurley and prop John Ryan threatened to put Duncan Williams away, only for the scrum-half to spill the ball under pressure.

Keith Earls was impressive throughout and the Ireland centre twice carved through gaps in the Warriors defence, the first of those sparking an overlap that perhaps should have been made to count, and the second requiring the last-ditch intervention of Connor Braid to prevent the flying Williams from running in for the score.

Despite their control, it took until just before the half hour mark for Munster's dominance to be reflected on the scoreboard.

Ronan O'Mahony began the attack by cutting infield from a quick lineout, but it was Ian Keatley who exploited a small hole in the Glasgow defence to send O'Donoghue in unchallenged and ensure he scored in three consecutive PRO12 matches - Keatley was wide with the conversion.

Munster were awarded a kickable penalty in midfield, Keatley went for touch instead of the posts, a decision that was immediately justified when Guinazu barrelled over from the ensuing maul. The fly-half made the conversion to stretch Munster's lead to 12-0 as the first half came to an end.

Glasgow needed to respond after the break if they were to continue a run that has seen them lose just one PRO12 match since November, and Matawalu thought he had provided the perfect impetus when he crossed the whitewash on 44 minutes, only to be brought back for a knock as he raced onto a loose kick.

Fly-half Braid, in for Scotland call-up Peter Horne, missed a penalty seven minutes later, but he made amends almost immediately after, stroking the ball over the reduce Glasgow's arrears.

The game was then well and truly thrown into the balance when tight-head de Klerk ran a line worthy of a full-back to score under the posts, Braid's conversion making the score 12-10 heading into the final quarter.

The Munster response was swift and efficient, and resulted in a deserved try for Earls.

Keatley prodded a teasing ball in behind the onrushing Glasgow defence, and Earls produced an audacious dink into his own hands to dive in at the corner for a stunning score, Keatley again off target with the extras.

With both sides now in full flow, the next score was always likely to be pivotal - and it was the hosts who got it, another efficient rolling maul ending in an unconverted try for Stander that secured the win and saw Munster leapfrog their opponents at the PRO12 summit.

Glasgow now return home and will face Zebre at Scotstoun on Friday night - their last game before a three week international break.

After the match Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Towsend said he was disappointed to leave Ireland with nothing.

He said: "I felt we deserved to pick up a losing bonus point tonight and we're gutted to leave with nothing.

"We put ourselves in a position to win the game after a fantastic try by Rossouw de Klerk and I was really pleased with the displays of guys who haven't had much or any rugby for us this season.

"We've now got a big game against Zebre at Scotstoun on Friday and it's the last before a three-week break, so we're hoping for big home support.

live commentary 7:15 PM Saturday 28 Feb 2015

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