Tuesday 25 April 2017

Munster hold their nerve to keep on track for home semi

Munster 10 Glasgow 7

Munster's Dave O'Callaghan is tackled by Fraser Brown and Rob Harley of Glasgow Warriors as he passes the ball to team-mate Darren Sweetnam. Photo: Sportsfile
Munster's Dave O'Callaghan is tackled by Fraser Brown and Rob Harley of Glasgow Warriors as he passes the ball to team-mate Darren Sweetnam. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

Munster's hopes of a home Guinness Pro12 semi-final spot remain on track after they held on in the closing stages of a tough encounter at Irish Independent Park.

Glasgow, having only won three times away to Munster in this fixture, needed a solid start to lay down a marker but they found themselves 7-0 down after just six minutes after being turned over as they tried to clear their lines.

Ali Price, left, and Jonny Gray of Glasgow Warriors manage to ground the ball to prevent Ronan O'Mahony scoring a try. Photo: Sportsfile
Ali Price, left, and Jonny Gray of Glasgow Warriors manage to ground the ball to prevent Ronan O'Mahony scoring a try. Photo: Sportsfile

Glasgow's efforts to alleviate the danger after a five-metre scrum on their own put-in were thwarted when Munster out-half Tyler Bleyendaal was instrumental in executing a superb turnover.

Glasgow initially dealt with the forays by Munster but the pressure eventually paid off when former All Black Francis Saili and ex-Springbok Jaco Taute, starting together in the centre for the first time, combined and while Darren Sweetnam was stopped inches short, the ball was recycled for loosehead James Cronin to squeeze over.

Bleyendaal added the extra points from the left to make it 7-0 but that was one of his final actions before going off after suffering a knock.

Neither side could find a way through before the interval and they turned around with the game hanging in the balance. The game was regularly stopped as referee Nigel Owens consulted with the TMO, with Munster scrum-half Duncan Williams being pinged for a neck grab after a good break by Conway had set up a promising position for Munster.

Andrew Conway of Munster goes past the tackle of Gordon Reid of Glasgow Warriors. Photo: Sportsfile
Andrew Conway of Munster goes past the tackle of Gordon Reid of Glasgow Warriors. Photo: Sportsfile

Munster were sure they had wrapped up the game after 57 minutes when Williams and Taute combined to send top try scorer Ronan O'Mahony away to the line but a combined tackle from Tommy Seymour and Ali Price did enough to ensure the winger was not in control of the ball as he tried to touch down and the score was disallowed after another intervention from TMO Hennessy.

The reprieve was short-lived for Glasgow as Munster, largely through the efforts of the excellent flanker Conor Oliver, won a penalty on the Warriors' put-in on the five-metre scrum and Rory Scannell made no mistake with the penalty from the left to put them 10-0 clear going into the final quarter.

Glasgow were given a lifeline 11 minutes from time when a chip from Hogg bounced unkindly for Conway and the Warriors full-back collected to score, with Finn Russell converting. But Muster kept their nerve in the closing minutes.

Scorers - Munster: J Cronin try; R Scannell; T Bleyendaal con. Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg try; F Russell pen.
Munster: A Conway; D Sweetnam, F Saili, J Taute, R O'Mahony (S Zebo 75); T Bleyendaal (R Scannell 9), D Williams; J Cronin (D Kilcoyne 43), R Marshall (N Scannell 50), S Archer (J Ryan 50); D O'Callaghan, B Holland; J Deysel (P O'Mahony 43), C Oliver, J O'Donoghue (D Ryan 54).
Glasgow Warriors: S Hogg; T Seymour, N Grigg (R Hughes 62), A Dunbar (P Horne 17), L Jones; F Russell, A Price (H Pyrgos 70); G Reid (A Allan 54), F Brown (P MacArthur 22), S Puafisi (D Rae 46); B Alainu'uese (S Cummings 67), J Gray; R Harley, R Wilson (C Fusaro 54), A Ashe.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales).

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