Glasgow Warriors V Munster
Glasgow Warriors put on a show at a sold out Scoutstoun as Dave Rennie’s side earned a well-deserved 37-10 victory over Munster at Scotstoun.
In the battle of the top two sides in Conference A, the home side ran four tries to claim an impressive bonus-point, with man-of-the-match Finn Russell contributing 17 points in a flawless kicking performance.
Under the Friday night lights, it was the Warriors who got proceedings underway in front of a sold-out crowd of 7351 at Scotstoun.
The Warrior Nation didn’t have long to wait for the first points of the night, and they went the way of the home side. Great distribution from Finn Russell and Peter Horne saw the ball worked wide to Leonardo Sarto, on as an early head injury replacement for Rory Hughes. The Italian winger accelerated through the gap, touching down for the opening try of the game. Russell’s conversion was on target, and Glasgow led 7-0 after just five minutes.
Three minutes later, the British and Irish Lion was once again successful from the tee, kicking a penalty to extend his side’s lead to 10-0 after Munster were penalised for holding on.
The Irish side hit back, however. Sustained pressure in Glasgow’s 22 eventually led to Rory Scannell finding himself in space out wide, with the centre doing well to touch down under pressure. Tyler Bleyendaal’s conversion attempt sailed wide, leaving the score at 10-5 to the home team.
Encounters between Glasgow and Munster have traditionally been closely-fought affairs, with this one proving to be no exception as both sides battled for possession. Referee Nigel Owens was on hand to prevent matters getting out of hand, however, at one point calling all thirty players in to lay down the law.
The next scoring chance fell Munster’s way on the half-hour mark, as Bleyendaal was presented with an opportunity to narrow the gap from the tee. The New Zealander pushed his penalty attempt wide, though, as the score remained unchanged.
Russell made no such mistake four minutes later, as the Warriors fly-half extended the lead to 13-5, before the Scotstoun crowd were brought to their feet by a spectacular team try. Good hands from Tim Swinson, Scott Cummings and Ruaridh Jackson set Callum Gibbins free on the wing, with the former Hurricane drawing the last man to send Lee Jones over for the score. To the delight of the home supporters, Russell added the extra two points from out wide, and Glasgow led by 20-5 at the interval.
The Warriors continued from where they had left off, setting up camp in the Munster 22. Only an illegal intervention rom Billy Holland prevented the home side from adding to their lead, with the Munster second row consequently shown a yellow card.
Glasgow made their numerical advantage count immediately. After being stopped short of the line, Horne’s wide pass found Jackson, with the full-back offloading to Nick Grigg to send the centre over the line. With Russell’s conversion once again on target, the score now read 27-5 in favour of the Warriors.
Just as Glasgow were beginning to take full control, the visitors were gifted a try. George Turner’s pass was picked off by Chris Farrell, with the Munster centre sprinting home from 25 metres. However, Rory Scannell, who had taken over kicking duties from Bleyendaal, fared no better from the tee, with the conversion sailing wide.
The home side were far from discouraged from their attacking game, however. Russell continued to probe the defensive line, with a spectacular one-handed pickup delighting the Scotstoun faithful, whilst the carrying of Gibbins and Ryan Wilson kept the Warriors on the front foot.
On 55 minutes, Russell was once again on hand to punish Munster indiscipline, with his third successful penalty of the night taking the score to 30-10.
Dave Rennie’s men were now in command, and the try bonus-point duly arrived on 62 minutes. With Glasgow keeping the tempo high, Sarto showed great determination to shrug off four tackles, before finding Scott Cummings in support. The young second-row crashed over underneath the posts to make the conversion a simple one for Russell, and to take the lead to 37-10.
As the game headed into the final ten minutes, Munster continued to question the Glasgow defensive line. However, their efforts were dealt a blow as replacement second-row Fineen Wycherley was shown a red card by the referee, after his shoulder made contact with the head of Tim Swinson at a ruck.
The Scotstoun crowd rose to applaud their team as the final whistle blew, with the Warriors continuing their unbeaten start to the 2017/18 season in the most impressive fashion. Next up for Rennie’s side is Benetton Treviso, with the Italians the next visitors to Glasgow in just a week’s time.