Craig Casey celebrates a penalty.
# standing up
Munster withstand the pressure to set up URC semi-final with Leinster
Munster lost Peter O’Mahony to injury at the start of the game but held out for a 14-5 win in Glasgow.
Lewis Stuart reports from Scotstoun
MUNSTER DUG OUT a defence-dominated match in Glasgow to set up a trip to Dublin in the semi finals of the United Rugby Championship. Munster were under pressure for a lot of the game but a five-minute patch in the first half, which saw a red card for the hosts’ fly half Tom Jordan and two tries for Munster on either side of it, was enough to decide the game.
The home side actually finished the match with 13 men after Sione Tuipulotu was yellow-carded for another high tackle, and that let Munster ease their way through the closing stages with the result in the bag.
The early signs could hardly have been worse for Munster. Not only did the spend most of the opening quarter under huge pressure but they lost captain and talisman Peter O’Mahoney to an arm injury after only four minutes. He went down with the problem in only the second phase of the game, tried to struggle on, but soon had to accept reality. When he was soon followed off by RG Snyman – a head injury – it looked grim.
But there was encouragement too. While the pressure was unrelenting and Glasgow had a number of half breaks plus a series of mauls on the visitors line, but the red wall was heroic in its defiance. Glasgow could get within inches of scoring but never had the final nudge.
They also turned down a series of kickable penalties and Munster reaped the reward when they eventually broke the siege and scored on their first meaningful visit to the Scots’ 22. The big men up front did most of the had work but it was centre Malakai Fekitoa who eventually found the space to crash over.
The second visit was just as dramatic with Glasgow fly half Tom Jordan getting red carded for a high tackle that also saw Conor Murray, the Munster scrum half, go off with a head injury. The 14 Scots did not resist long and from the penalty Antoine Frisch went over for the second score.
They didn’t have to sparkle to run this one out: more of the same was always going to be good enough. Crucially they had the measure of the Glasgow maul, one of the home side’s main scoring weapons, and the extra man out wide made it almost impossible for the Scots to stretch the red defence.
They may have spent long periods in their own 22, but in reality were rarely troubled, surviving scrum penalties under their posts and line out drives without undue trouble until into the closing stages.
Laszlo Geczo / INPHO
Antoine Frisch touches down.
Laszlo Geczo / INPHO / INPHO
Glasgow did show something of their attacking strength late in the game when a long cut out pass created space for wing Kyle Steyn to cross in the corner but without a recognised kicker, were still two scores adrift as the game entered its final minutes. The yellow card meant there was no chance of unlikely heroics as Munster professionally ran the clock down.
Scorers for Glasgow: Try: Kyle Steyn. Con: Stafford McDowall [0 from 1]
Scorers for Munster: Try: Malakai Fekitoa, Antoine Frisch. Cons: Jack Crowley [2 from 2]
Glasgow: Ollie Smith (Huw Jones, 55); Sebastian Cancelliere, Sione Tuipulotu (yellow card: 75-end), Stafford McDowall, Kyle Steyn; Tom Jordan (red card: 25, George Horne (Ali Price, 66); Jamie Bhatti (Nathan McBeth, 52), Johnny Matthews (Fraser Brown, 71), Zander Fagerson (Simon Berghan, 62), Scott Cummings (Lewis Bean, 66), Richie Gray (JP du Preez, 52), Matt Fagerson, Rory Darge (Sione Vailanu, 52), Jack Dempsey.
Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch (Malakai Fekitoa, 66), Malakai Fekitoa (Ben Healy, 51), Shane Daly; Jack Crowley, Conor Murray (Craig Casey, 25); Jeremy Loughman (Josh Wycherley, 58), Diarmuid Barron (Niall Scannell, 42), Stephen Archer (Roman Salanoa, 62); Jean Kleyn (Alex Kendellen, 71), RG Snyman (Fineen Wycherley, 16); Tadhg Beirne, Peter O’Mahony (C) (John Hodnett, 4), Gavin Coombes.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
Written by Lewis Stuart and posted on the42.ie