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Munster 5 Glasgow 22: Warriors record rarest of wins in Limerick

IT was a moment of history, one of those Glasgow performances where they defy the odds when it really matters.

Warriors' Duncan Weir prepares to take on John Ryan and James Coughlan  Photograph: Fotosport
Warriors' Duncan Weir prepares to take on John Ryan and James Coughlan Photograph: Fotosport

Away wins at Thomond Park are among the rarest sights in rugby; one as comprehensive as this is almost unheard of. With Glasgow's sevens team also picking up the Ladies Cup at Melrose, it was a truly special day.

"We always used to joke in the Borders that a sevens medal put you in a special group because they are so rare," said head coach Gregor Townsend. "A win at Thomond Park is even rarer."

The result re-ignites their hope of a home draw in the RaboDirect Pro12 play-offs. Though still fourth, they have a game in hand and are now in catching distance of Munster and Ulster, the two teams ahead of them, with the Northern Irish at Scotstoun on Friday. Just as important, it keeps at bay the Ospreys, the team chasing them for a play-off place.

The win was built on taking chances plus rock-solid defence. Afterwards, Townsend was quick to praise the spirit his side showed. "I'm very proud of them: I never won here as a player so to come here and produce a performance like that is very special," he said.

"The scramble defence really pleased me, bodies on the line certainly saved at least two tries. I thought the guys attacked really well, moved the ball and made good decisions when we got into the opposition 22. Results over the weekend have made it a tighter league at the top. Now we have four games left and need a big squad effort in all our remaining games."

Warriors had been given no chance beforehand. Munster had demonstrated the week before against Toulouse how brilliant they can be at home. They had not lost a game at Thomond Park this season and Glasgow had not won there since 2006.

But nobody seemed to have told the Glasgow players. An early penalty, a line-out, a drive into midfield by Josh Strauss, the flanker, and Glasgow were camped on the home line. Two more rucks and Jonny Gray, the lock, was crashing over. A perfect start, made even better by the conversion and penalty from Duncan Weir, the fly-half.

One of the things that makes Munster such a formidable foe, however, is that they don't panic. They had plenty of time to haul back the deficit and went about their business with typical determination, Simon Zebo, the wing, providing inspiration.

His first break saw lock Dave Foley lose the ball reaching for the line. His second cut cleanly through the Glasgow defence and when he was caught, the ball was shipped wide for CJ Standeer, the flanker, to cross with a queue of players outside him if there had been any danger of being tackled.

Glasgow, however, gave their opponents a lesson in finishing. Sean Maitland, the wing, set things up and then got back into position to finish the move for the next score, restoring that 10-point cushion. When Strauss crashed over for try number three just before the break, the stunned silence in the Irish crowd told its own story: Scots dreams were turning from winning the match to claiming a scoring bonus point.

It nearly came soon after the restart when prop Gordon Reid, broke through a ruck and Ryan Wilson, the No 8, was held up over the line. Glasgow lost the position at the resulting scrum and gave away a penalty but that was the last real scoring chance of the game for either side as Glasgow's defence held firm.

Munster: F Jones; G van den Heever (J Murphy, 62), K Earls, J Downey, S Zebo; JJ Hanrahan (I Keatley, 21), C Murray (D Williams, 70); J Ryan (D Kilcoyne, 49), D Casey (Q MacDonald, 70), BJ Botha (J Ryan, 71, D O'Callaghan (B Holland, 70), D Foley, CJ Stander, S Dougall (P Butler, 70), J Coughlan (C).

Glasgow Warriors: P Murchie; S Maitland, A Dunbar (R Vernon, 60), F Russell, T Seymour; D Weir, C Cusiter (C) (H Pyrgos, 73); G Reid (J Yanuyanutawa, 65), D Hall (P MacArthur, 60), J Welsh (G Cross, 54), T Swinson (L Nakarawa, 58), J Gray, J Strauss, C Fusaro (R Harley, 60), R Wilson (P Horne, 71).

Referee: N Owens (Wales).

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