• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Munster 5 Glasgow 22: Munster mashed at home

ONE win is all it has taken to propel Glasgow from a side struggling to make the RaboDirect PRO12 play-offs to one that could make it all the way to the final.

Josh Strauss scores Glasgow's third try despite the efforts of Munster's Donncha O'Callaghan. Picture: David Gibson
Josh Strauss scores Glasgow's third try despite the efforts of Munster's Donncha O'Callaghan. Picture: David Gibson

That is how important the win at Thomond Park could be to their season, especially if they can convert the euphoria of this result into victory over Ulster on Friday in the last of their run of matches with fellow title contenders.

The importance is this: with a game in hand, Glasgow are three points behind Munster and five behind Ulster, the side currently second and looking for a home draw in the knockout stage. Since the PRO12 reintroduced play-offs four years ago, no team has lost a home semi-final, so if Glasgow can overtake the two Irish provinces they would be favourites to reach their first final.

Once there, anything is possible, particularly since they have beaten all the other contenders at least once in this campaign.

Not that Gregor Townsend, the head coach, or his players are looking that far ahead. Ulster are equally focused on staying in the top two, while the three games after that are all potentially tricky - the derby element of the Edinburgh game makes it unpredictable, while the final two matches are against the Italian sides competing with each other for their country's place in next season's Champions Cup.

"We will look at each opposition as they come, we know that a top-two place is within our destiny if we were to go through the last four games unbeaten - Ulster have to play Munster as well - but first there are two huge games coming up for us, Ulster and then the 1872 Cup," Townsend said.

But, when you look at this performance - undoubtedly their best of the season - you realise there is no reason why they should fear any of them.

The pitch helped. For Josh Strauss, the South African flanker and man of the match, it was as close as any experience in Europe to the kind of conditions they take for granted in the southern hemisphere.

"I felt like the ball never stopped in the first half, up and down and we didn't get a set piece to catch our breath," he said. "It was all running, defending and attacking. You miss that when you come from the southern hemisphere, it was a great field in great nick, a lot quicker than we were used to in the last few months. I think the boys really enjoyed it. If the weather was as sunny as in the south, the rugby would be as quick and you saw that in this game.

"Munster showed what a good team they are: especially in the second half when we had to defend for dear life just to keep them out, so we are very happy with the win."

It was a game of contrasts. In the first half Glasgow produced a near-flawless attacking display with Jonny Gray, Sean Maitland and Strauss all crossing for tries that rocked the Irish players and silenced the usually vociferous Thomond Park crowd.

The second half almost produced the bonus-point try, but Ryan Wilson could not get the ball past the Munster hand under it.

After that it was all about keeping out the opposition as Glasgow lived up to the statistics that show they have the best defence in the league - which went on to produce a scoreless second period.

"We executed well and took our opportunities," said Strauss. "When we got into the attacking zone, we finished it off, which is something we have been working on for a while because it has not always been spot on this season. We were very happy to go in at half-time with that lead and just a bit unlucky we could not get that fourth try.

"Munster came out firing in the second half. There was a lot of scramble defence and the boys showed a lot of character, getting back, turning the ball over and putting in the hits that forced them out.

"We were holding on for dear life at some stages. It was really tiring but it shows how much it means to us."

Contextual targeting label: 
Sport

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

226408