Glasgow Warriors 5-14 Munster
Glasgow Warriors’ BKT United Rugby Championship campaign came to an end at the quarter-final stage, after falling to a 14-5 defeat at the hands of Munster at Scotstoun this evening.
Kyle Steyn’s second-half score proved to be in vain for the hosts, whose focus now turns to the EPCR Challenge Cup Final in Dublin in a fortnight’s time.
With the atmosphere around Scotstoun at fever-pitch, the first chance of the night went to the Warriors, as Sione Tuipulotu stepped away from Peter O’Mahony to show a clean pair of heels to the Munster defence. George Horne would collect the inside ball at the same time as the covering Munster defender would reach him, though, the ball just slipping out of his grasp at the key point.
Glasgow’s pressure with ball in hand was relentless, however, piling the pressure on their visitors at every opportunity. Tuipulotu and Kyle Steyn would each break the Munster line to bring the Warrior Nation to its feet, before Jack Dempsey went even closer on 19 minutes on a charge towards the whitewash. Only some desperate Munster defence would deny the number eight, the scoreline remaining pointless as the opening quarter drew to a close.
Instead, against the run of play it was the visitors who opened the scoring. Shane Daly’s break created Munster’s first foray into the Glasgow 22, and with advantage in hand Malakai Fekitoa would have enough strength to ride the challenge of Ollie Smith and ground the ball for the try. Jack Crowley converted, giving the men in red a 7-0 lead after 23 minutes.
It would be a double blow for the hosts just two minutes later, as the Warriors found themselves reduced to 14 men for the remainder of the match, Tom Jordan shown a red card for a high tackle as he raced across to cover a break by Conor Murray.
Munster made their numerical advantage count almost immediately, crossing for their second try in near-identical fashion to their first. This time it would be Antoine Frisch who would take the scoring pass from Crowley, the conversion making it 14-0 to the visitors with half an hour played.
The visitors knew that the next score could be crucial, with those in red proceeding to throw everything at the Glasgow line for the remainder of the half. Yet the home side’s defence would remain resolute, Stafford McDowall holding up his man on the goal-line before a Johnny Matthews turnover brought about the half-time whistle from the referee.
Roared on by the Warrior Nation, the Warriors came out of the changing rooms firing. With Matthews and Rory Darge making themselves nuisances at the breakdown, Glasgow went about setting up camp in Munster territory. This time, though, it was the Munster defence that would hold firm, frustrating their hosts at every turn.
It was going to take everything that Glasgow had with their BKT URC season on the line, and everything is what the Warriors gave. With 13 minutes to play, the pressure eventually told; phase upon phase of possession saw McDowall find Huw Jones, who in turn sliced through the defence and found Steyn on the outside. Over went the captain, and whilst the conversion went astray the Scotstoun faithful were in full voice.
The clock would run out on the Warriors, however, as Munster closed out the match to the delight of their travelling support. Yet the Warrior Nation would rise to acclaim their team despite the disappointment of the result, recognising the effort and heart of their team.
One final fixture remains for Franco Smith’s men, then, and a date circled in the diary of all Glasgow supporters. A showdown with Toulon in Dublin on Friday 19 May awaits, as the EPCR Challenge Cup Final looms into view.