Saturday 21 October 2017

Limp Munster swept aside

Casey Laulala scores Munster's first try
Casey Laulala scores Munster's first try

Glasgow 51 Munster 24 pro12 league

Munster's hopes of a play-off place suffered a crushing blow as Glasgow moved to the top of the table with a six-try victory at Scotstoun.

Despite conceding two interception tries in the first half Munster were still in the game when they trailed 20-17 early in the second half, but Glasgow's pace punished the visitors as the game unfolded.

Munster were rocked within the first minute when a pass from Casey Laulala was intercepted by Sean Maitland for the Scotland wing to be given a clear run to the line, Ruaridh Jackson's conversion adding to the pain.

But Laulala soon atoned as he finished off a series of close-range drives, Ronan O'Gara adding the conversion for 7-7.

Munster were soon on the attack again, the dry conditions encouraging fast movement of the ball, and the visitors' speed and aggression making it difficult for Glasgow to compete in the contact area.

After Glasgow had lost a line-out on their own throw the Munster forwards took control, a rolling maul creating a try for prop David Kilcoyne and providing O'Gara with a simple conversion.

Glasgow then showed that lightening strikes twice as Warriors' scrum-half Nikola Matawalu grabbed the second interception try of the night from Duncan Williams' slack pass, Jackson's conversion levelling the scores at 14-14.

Munster hit back immediately with a run by Felix Jones, but a massive kick from Warriors' full-back Stuart Hogg forced the visitors back on the defensive. Then from a break and clever kick by Matawalu Munster were forced to concede a line-out five metres out from their own line.

From the line-out Munster gave away a penalty allowing Jackson to put his side into the lead with a successful kick. Another penalty for a high tackle by O'Gara gave Glasgow a further foothold in the Munster '22' and after the Reds had been penalised at a scrum Jackson added a second penalty for a 20-14 half-time advantage.

Glasgow looked the livelier of the two sides at the beginning of the second half forcing Munster to defend in their own '22' and when Maitland kicked ahead Williams had to use his speed to avert another score.

From the resultant 22-metre drop-out Glasgow were penalised at the break down and from 40 metres out O'Gara reduced the Warriors' lead with a well-struck kick at goal.

Glasgow's high-tempo game was beginning to deliver dividends and when John Barclay broke the Munster defence from a flat pass, the Warriors moved the ball first to the right and then back in-field for Jackson to cut through for a try which he then converted.

Jackson was again the Glasgow provider with a penalty after the Warriors' forwards had dominated at a scrum. Munster were in further trouble from a sprint up the left touchline by DTH Van Der Merwe, a try being prevented by a brilliant tackle from Doug Howlett. But from the ensuing scrum Glasgow moved the ball wide to give replacement Mark Bennet his side's bonus try, Jackson's conversion putting the Warriors into a 37-17 lead.

With confidence high Glasgow added another try, this time Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg outpacing the defence for Warriors' fifth try, converted by Duncan Weir offset by a late try from Howlett and the conversion from Ian Keatley only for Barclay to score a breakaway try converted by Weir for the final points of the game.

Glasgow – S Hogg; S Maitland (M Bennett 64), S Lamont, P Horne, D van der Merwe; R Jackson (D Weir 71) , N Matawalu (H Pyrgos 59); R Grant (O Fainga'anuku 66) , P MacArthur (D Hall 57), J Welsh (M Low 54), T Swinson (T Ryder 57) A Kellock, J Strauss, J Barclay, R Wilson.

Munster – F Jones; D Howlett, C Laulala, J Downey, J Murphy (I Dineen 64); R O'Gara (I Keatley 57), D Williams (C Sheridan 53); D Kilcoyne (W du Preez 64), M Sherry (D Varley 64), BJ Botha (S Archer 53), D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, P Butler, T O'Donnell, J Coughlan.

Ref – L Hodges (WRU)

Irish Independent

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