Monday 19 March 2018

Townsend brimming with pride at win

Gregor Townsend's side are in the final
Gregor Townsend's side are in the final

Glasgow boss Gregor Townsend said seeing his side book a RaboDirect Pro12 final slot was the proudest moment of his coaching career.

The Warriors boss watched his players hang on to claim a narrow 16-15 win against Munster at Scotstoun to make rugby history.

Having lost their three previous last-four clashes, Townsend's team are now the first Scottish side to reach a Pro12 final.

They had to fight back from losing an early score to the Limerick outfit's hooker Damien Varley but responded with three Finn Russell penalties to lead at the break.

Prop Gordon Reid then touched down six minutes after half-time as Russell's conversion put Glasgow nine points up.

But a try by Sean Dougall and a penalty from Ian Keatley saw the visitors close to within a single point.

Glasgow stood strong, though, and Townsend said: "That is the proudest moment of my coaching career, without a doubt.

"To be involved in a game like that, when the players put everything into it but also show skill and talent, is fantastic.

"Munster played top-quality rugby. They came right at us and were 7-0 up when we had the wind behind us.

"We knew it would be tough but we played well too. It was important that we got ourselves ahead because Munster have been in these kind of situations a lot over the last 15 years and when they get in front, it's very tough to get it back.

"We just had to keep our discipline. When our lead was cut to just a point, we could easily have given away a penalty just for going offside and cost us the match.

"But the effort in defence to keep them out was superb."

Having seen off the Heineken Cup semi-finalists, Warriors now face either Leinster or Ulster in the final on May 31.

But Townsend warned: "We're not finished yet, we still have work to do.

"Thankfully we now have two weeks left because if it had been next week, we would have found it tough putting out a team. We have a few bumps and bruises but with a fortnight to prepare, who should be okay."

Varley's try was only given after referee Marius Mitrea called in the TMO but the visitors were denied a second score on the half hour after Simon Zebo appeared to cross over.

However, the TV judge could not get a suitable view of the incident and the try was disallowed.

Munster head coach Rob Penney said: "It doesn't get much worse, obviously the whole squad is very, very disappointed but they gave it a good crack.

"The boys really fronted up today, that's all we asked of them.

"But I thought not having an in-goal camera was crucial. I just couldn't believe it when we looked upstairs and, in a semi-final, there's no in-goal camera to confirm or deny a try. It was a very crucial part of the game and that blows me away."

Press Association

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