JJ Hanrahan pulls strings as Munster go top in Glasgow
Outhalf scores all the points for the visitors at Scotstoun, including gem of a try against Warriors
Munster’s JJ Hanrahan hands off Chris Cusiter in Scotstoun. Photograph: Ian McNicol/Inpho
Glasgow 6 Munster 13: Munster came to Scotstoun seeking to depose Glasgow as leaders of the RaboDirect Pro12 and in the event succeeded after a classy showing from outside half JJ Hanrahan.
The Munster outhalf scored all of his side’s points, his try in the second half lighting up a game which never really lived up to its top-of-the-table clash. Hanrahan pulled the strings cleverly and allowed Munster’s forwards to influence proceedings after the break.
Munster probably benefited from Glasgow’s decision to run the ball when kicks at goal would have changed the nature of the game. Three times they gambled on running the ball and three times they threw away what could have been match-winning points.
Glasgow looked the better side in the opening exchanges with a penalty goal in the second minute from outhalf Duncan Weir. And it might have been two from two for Weir had his penalty attempt not rebounded off the near upright.
Munster, having been let off the hook, showed their attacking potential with a backline move that allowed Andrew Conway to break clear only for his inside pass to Casey Laulala to be misdirected.
Glasgow again came close to adding further points when Ryan Grant put DTH van der Merwe over in the corner but the pass was judged forward and the score was chalked off.
If the points were not flowing Glasgow’s way then they did when Munster won a penalty after CJ Stander was taken out in the air at a line-out allowing Hanrahan to kick a goal from a metre inside the Munster half to level the scores
But Warriors were quickly back in the lead from a massive scrum effort that forced the Munster eight to concede a penalty giving Weir a simple shot a goal for a 6-3 lead. It looked as though Glasgow would extend their lead from scrum dominance and good movement of the ball in the backs.
It was Munster however who turned on the pressure with a jinking run from Hanrahan in the home 22 metre area but the visitors turned over ball to provide relief for Glasgow and a slender half-time advantage.
The balance quickly changed at the beginning of the second half as Hanrahan produced a gem of try, flitting through the defence to touch down in the corner before adding the conversion points. Two minutes later Hanrahan was again the points provider with his second penalty for a 13-6 lead.
Glasgow came close to scoring from a series of drives that ended with a yellow card for James Cronin for lying on the wrong side of a ruck and a penalty award under the posts. Glasgow opted for a scrum but their attempts to batter the Munster line came to nought. The home side then made life more comfortable for Munster by turning down the chance of a kickable goal, instead opting for a tap-and-go penalty that was well defended.
Munster were gradually taking control and were proving expert at slowing down the pace of the game, frustrating Glasgow’s attempts to claw back any advantage.
Then after what had become a repeated collapsed scrum referee Ian Davies opted to stamp his authority on the match by showing the yellow card to props Dave Kilcoyne and Jon Welsh making it a 14 against 14 contest for the last six minutes of the game.
It was a six-minute spell in which Glasgow’s attempts to rescue the game proved futile and with Munster adept at winding down the clock the game was always going to result in a win for the visitors, despite an injury time surge from Glasgow who pounded the Munster line but in the end to no gain.