Munster 26-38 Glasgow Warriors
Glasgow Warriors produced a performance for the ages to earn an historic victory over Munster in the BKT United Rugby Championship this evening, as Franco Smith’s squad married razor-sharp attack with relentless defence to earn a 38-26 win at Thomond Park.
Fraser Brown, Stafford McDowall, Domingo Miotti, Cole Forbes and Sione Vailanu – in a Player of the Match-winning performance – all crossed the whitewash for the Warriors, the five-point haul securing the Scottish-Italian Shield for the first time in club history.
With over 16,000 supporters roaring on their team under the Thomond Park floodlights, it was Glasgow who made the earliest of statements. A scrum penalty won by the Warriors front-row was dispatched into the 22 by Miotti, before Brown found JP du Preez at the set-piece. The hooker then tucked himself away at the back of the maul and rumbled over the whitewash to silence the home support, Miotti converting for a 7-0 lead after six minutes.
Stung by the start from their visitors, Munster responded with ball in hand, battering away at the Glasgow defensive line. The Warriors refused to yield, however, du Preez and Vailanu combining to hold up their man and win a goal-line drop-out.
Instead, it would be Smith’s men that would continue to grow into the match, and would be rewarded with their second score on 24 minutes. Sustained phase play within Munster territory would see Sam Johnson’s inside ball send McDowall through a gap, the captain beating three defenders on his road to the whitewash. A visit to the TMO was required to confirm the score, but Miotti’s conversion would extend the lead to 14-0 with 24 minutes on the clock.
It would get even better for the Warriors just six minutes later, with Miotti this time turning scorer himself. Superb work from Jamie Dobie saw the winger contest a high ball before racing to the breakdown and pinning Munster in their own 22 with a box-kick, as Johnson and Vailanu carried relentlessly into Munster tacklers. It was left to Miotti to apply the finish, dummying and stretching between two defenders to dot down. The Argentinian added the extras for good measure, taking the score to 21-0.
With the Glasgow defence continuing to resist all Munster efforts, there was to be a coup de grace on a sublime opening stanza from the Warriors. It was a try that showcased all that’s good about Glasgow rugby; from the pass away under pressure from Miotti, to the direct carrying from the Fagerson brothers, to the offloading in the wide channels from McDowall and Ali Price that sent Forbes over out wide. Miotti would make it four from four from the tee, giving his side a 28-0 lead at the interval.
The Argentina international would be the first to trouble the scorers in the second-half, capitalising on a flowing Glasgow attack that saw Johnson and Ollie Smith send Dobie clear and into space. When slow ball was presented on the Munster 22, Miotti had no hesitation dropping into the pocket, slotting a drop-goal to extend the lead to 31-0 on 44 minutes.
Munster knew they had to score next if they had any hope of getting back into the fight, with the men in red looking to open up the play at every opportunity. Zander Fagerson’s tap tackle prevented Calvin Nash from escaping up the touchline, with Price turning his hand to the breakdown to win a turnover penalty.
The hosts would eventually cross the line on 53 minutes, taking advantage of their territory to get the home crowd involved once more. A short-range maul saw Gavin Coombes driven over, Carbery converting to get Munster on the board.
It would then turn into a quickfire double for the home side, bringing the Thomond Park faithful to full volume. Malakai Fekitoa’s break would bring Munster to within five metres, before Craig Casey’s snipe saw the replacement scrum-half dart over. Carbery converted, and the scoreline read 31-14 to Glasgow on the hour mark.
Glasgow needed a response, and that response was immediate. Outstanding pressure from George Horne – freshly off the bench – forced Munster to knock-on at the restart, before the scrum was turned into a penalty by the pressure of the Glasgow pack. When Dobie was stopped just short, there was no denying Vailanu when the Tongan picked the ball up from close range, Miotti converting for a 38-14 lead.
Back came Munster once more, with the home side crossing for their third try 10 minutes from time. Relentless pressure from the home pack eventually saw Josh Wycherley make the final metre next to the posts, Carbery converting to narrow the gap once more.
Indeed the visitors would have the final say, Nash just evading a couple of despairing cover tackles to score in the corner with just 70 seconds remaining. Yet this was Glasgow’s day. A first win at Thomond Park since 2014, the Scottish-Italian Shield secured, and a home quarter-final coming closer into view – and this squad is not done yet.