Munster come out on top of 11-try thriller to see off Glasgow at Musgrave Park

Province dominates the wide exchanges but Glasgow show just why they have such a potent maul

URC: Munster 40 Glasgow Warriors 29

Munster ran in six excellent tries to get back to winning ways in the defence of their URC title but they were given a lesson in forward play by a Glasgow Warriors side who showed little out wide but mauled their way over for five tries at Musgrave Park.

Duncan Weir only managed to convert one of those and Glasgow never got within striking distance after Munster blew them off the park with some brilliant running and support play in the opening quarter.

Munster, having fallen 31-0 behind just after half-time when these two met at Thomond Park last March, turned the tables this time round and led 26-5 at the break after producing some blistering rugby in front of a full house of just under 8,500 on a freezing night in Cork.

Graham Rowntree’s assertion after their loss to Leinster last week that they were playing their best attacking rugby of the season saw them continue that form into this contest and they had three tries on the board in just over 16 minutes.


The champions were on top in all sectors, moving the ball at speed and bossing the breakdown as the league leaders struggled to get into the contest.

Glasgow’s cause was not helped by conceding four penalties in little over a minute, three of them inside their own 22, and it was no surprise when Munster hit the front after seven minutes when academy lock Edwin Edogbo drove over for his third try of the season. A lineout on the left stretched the visitors’ defence with Gavin Coombes making hard yards before being stopped short.

South African referee Marius van der Westhuizen finally lost patience with Glasgow when prop Nathan McBeth took out scrumhalf Craig Casey at a ruck for a fifth penalty after eleven minutes. Munster hit them for two tries while he was in the bin.

Full-back Shane Daly chipped over the cover for 6′9″ Tom Ahern to catch and get over despite being taken out in the air by Sean Kennedy. Referee van der Westhuizen checked with his officials but did not sanction the scrumhalf.

Crowley was unable to convert but he added the extras after 16 minutes when they struck for their third try with another flowing movement with Sean O’Brien, Ahern and Casey all playing big roles before captain Diarmuid Barron got in for his tenth try for the province. Crowley’s conversion pushed the lead out to 19-0.

Glasgow hit back and a superb penalty to the right corner from Duncan Weir provided the platform for a good maul try from Sione Vailanu. Munster finished the half strongly and secured the bonus point when Ahern was out wide again to score after good work from Antoine Frisch and Coombes. The lead at the break was 26-5.

Glasgow hooker Johnny Matthews drove over for his eighth try of the campaign two minutes after the restart. Alex Nankivell cancelled this with his first Munster try when he cut a direct line through a pile of bodies with a penalty advantage after 49 minutes. That said, the champions were forced to endure a nervous spell even though Glasgow were again down to 14 when tighthead Lucio Sordoni was binned and Munster had brought on their new tighthead signing from the Crusaders, Oli Jager.

But it did little to stem the impact of the superb Glasgow maul. After Rory Darge drove through the home rearguard after 55 minutes they secured the bonus point and cut the gap to 31-22 after 66 minutes when they were awarded a penalty try after Tadhg Beirne was penalised for pulling down a maul. The Ireland lock also saw yellow.

Munster did not panic and they killed off any notions of a remarkable comeback when John Hodnett tapped a penalty and drove over with Jager and Kilcoyne on his shoulders 14 minutes from time.

Glasgow finished on the front foot when they scored their fifth maul try in the dying moments when replacement hooker Angus Fraser got over, but it was Munster who made it eight wins on the spin at their Cork venue to go into the Champions Cup next weekend on a high.

Scoring sequence: 7 mins: Edogbo try, Crowley con 7-0; 13: Ahern try 12-0; 16: Barron try, Crowley con 19-0; 27: Vailanu try 19-5; 37: Ahern try, Crowley con 26-5; Half-time: 26-5; 42: Matthews try 26-10; 49: Nankivell try, Crowley con 33-10; 55: Darge try 33-15; 62: Glasgow penalty try 33-22; 65: Hodnett try, Crowley con 40-22; 78: Fraser try, Weir con 40-29.

MUNSTER: S Daly; C Nash, A Frisch, A Nankivell, S O’Brien; J Crowley, C Casey; J Loughman, D Barron (capt), S Archer; E Edogbo, T Beirne; T Ahern, J Hodnett, G Coombes.

Replacements: S Buckley for Barron (44 mins), D Kilcoyne for Loughman (52), O Jager for Archer (52), A Kendellen for Ahern (57), C Murray for Casey (61), F Wycherley for Edogbo (62), R Scannell for Crowley (70).

Yellow card: T Beirne (62)

GLASGOW WARRIORS: J McKay; K Rowe, S Tuipulotu, S McDowall (capt), O Smith; D Weir, S Kennedy; N McBeth, J Matthews, L Sordoni; S Manjezi, S Cummings; S Vailanu, R Darge, H Venter.

Replacements: O Kebble for Smith (19-21, 51 mins), T Jordan for Smith (38), G Peterson for Manjezi (52), M Williamson for Venter (52), Z Fagerson for McKay (50-60), Sordoni (60), A Fraser for Matthews (72), B Afshar for Kennedy (72), T Gordon for Vailanu (76).

Yellow cards: N McBeth, L Sordoni

Referee: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa)