Munster V Glasgow Warriors
A spirited second-half performance from Glasgow Warriors was not quite enough at Irish Independence Park as Munster hung on to earn a hard fought victory.
It was the hosts who came out of the blocks quickest, demonstrating early intent by rucking Glasgow off their own ball inside the 22 and apply pressure.
The Irishmen were clinical and made the most of their early opportunity, keeping ball in hand before loose-head James Cronin found a way through the bodies to score.
Tyler Bleyendaal added the extras in what proved to be one of his last acts of the game, taking a head knock shortly after forcing an early retirement.
Alex Dunbar and Fraser Brown followed Bleyendaal into the medical room for HIA’s and the game was 20 minutes old before Glasgow managed any real extended period of possession.
Both sides traded punches, the ferocity of the defending forcing errors from the opposition and on the half hour mark the game was struggling to find any real rhythm.
With the half coming to a close, Glasgow’s attack threatened. Replacement Pete Horne fending his man before feeding Nick Grigg who burst through the line. The centre’s ambitious pass fell into the hands of a red shirt however and Munster cleared.
After a shaky start Glasgow finished the first 40 on the ascendancy, accuracy and unforced errors keeping them scoreless every time they threatened.
Munster started the second period the same way they started the first and Glasgow had to show tremendous defensive resilience to prevent a second score.
Irish Independent Park erupted as Nigel Owens’ arm went up as attackers bundled for the line however it was a defensive penalty that was awarded and Warriors survived.
Just shy of the hour the Irishmen found a gap and looked to have made it to the line. The TMO was asked to check for a forward pass in the build up and in doing so noticed the attacker had failed to ground the ball.
Munster made sure they had something to show from their period of pressure, an extra three points taking the game beyond a score, forcing Glasgow’s hand.
It was beginning to look as if the wall of red would never be breached before a moment of brilliance from Stuart Hogg breathed new life into the travelling Warrior support.
His chip through eluded the full-back with a mischievous bounce and he showed his electric pace to collect and race under the posts, Finn Russell stepping up to add the extras.
Rejuvenated, Warriors pounded Munster’s line and were awarded penalty after penalty, every one of which they sent to the corner.
With the clock ticking slowly towards 80 the ball was lost forward. Munster pounced and cleared. Taking the points and winning the arm wrestle.