Munster defeat table toppers Glasgow in epic Thomond Park clash

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Limerick , Ireland - 27 October 2018; Rory Scannell of Munster is congratulated by his team-mates after kicking a penalty to win the game during the Guinness PRO14 Round 7 match between Munster and Glasgow Warriors at Thomond Park, Limerick. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster defeat table toppers Glasgow in epic Thomond Park clash

Munster Rugby – 25

Glasgow Warriors – 24

It was an epic encounter at Thomond Park, something that is expected every time these sides clash. A game full of niggle, spice and intensity, saw Munster scrape a victory. Rory Scannell the hero, as his 81st minute penalty, 55 metres out sailed over to secure a one point victory for the Munster men. They remain unbeaten at home this season.

Promising Start

It was Munster who started the game brightly, taking a seven point lead after a James Cronin try. However, a repeated theme of this season, saw their inaccuracies prevent them taking a substantial hold on the game. After some poor transition play from Munster, and a rushed free kick from scrum-half Alby Mathewson, Glasgow capitalised with some beautifully counter-attacking. Scrum-half George Horne providing the support line that gave Glasgow their first try of the evening. With older brother Peter unable to convert, Munster held the lead 7-5.

Glasgow remained stoic in defence and managed to soak up further Munster pressure before pouncing on more Munster inaccuracy. Another turnover gifting Glasgow possession and allowing their dangerous attack time and space on the ball. With Sammy Arnold rushing out of defence, unable to stop full-back Ruaridh Jackson, this left Munster exposed in defence.

Centre Nick Grigg casually brushing aside captain Peter O’Mahony to set up George Horne for his and Glasgow’s second try of the evening. Despite their promising start, Munster found themselves five points adrift at half time.

Munster Rally

Chris Cloete added to Munster’s woes soon after the opening of the second half, with referee Dan Jones deciding his tackle off the ball worthy of a yellow card. The scrum following resulting in Glasgow’s third try of the evening through Matt Fagerson.

A beautiful kick from George Horne over the Munster defence found brother Peter under the posts, giving Glasgow their bonus point try. Trailing by 14 points, with 20 minutes to go, many would have written Munster off. But, Munster weren’t giving up their home record with ease. The revival started through Alex Wooten who scored a well worked try in the corner. The conversion was missed by Keatley, making the task even more daunting.

Munster now needed two scores to win. Impact off the bench in the form of Arno Botha and Dave Kilcoyne kickstarted Munster for the final quarter. Alby Mathewson’s try and Ian Keatley’s conversion reduced the deficit to just two points with eight minutes remaining on the clock.

Glasgow managed to retain possession for just under five minutes, despite the best efforts of the Munster defence. However, with 80 minutes on the clock and some astute play from CJ Stander, tackling the Glasgow support player, allowed Peter O’Mahony time over the ball. A monumental effort from the club captain winning the turnover and giving Munster one last shot at glory.

Rory Scannell – Nerves of Steel

Step up Rory Scannell. It must have been a tough week for the Cork man having been omitted from the Irish squad ahead of the upcoming November internationals. Having kicked for PBC at schools level, but not known for his kicking at senior level, it was interesting to see Scannell step-up to take the kick.

Johann Van Graan admitting post match that it was something that they had planned for:
“We actually had a chat with all the kickers during the week about the distance and having a match-winning moment, I had a bit of a joke with Rory [Scannell] a few days ago, he put a few long ones in, so I said ‘listen, the time is going to come for one’ and it came sooner than we thought.”

With over 80 minutes of intense, running rugby played, Rory Scannell somehow managed to find the energy in his legs and slot the penalty, much to the relief of the Munster faithful.

“I knew I struck it fairly well. I was fairly confident it had the legs, whether it had the direction, I didn’t know. I might have celebrated a bit too early, but luckily it had the legs.”

It was a nervy win for Munster, but they manage to maintain their unbeaten record at home this season. They now travel to South Africa on Monday to face the Toyota Cheetahs.

Johann Van Graan commits future to Munster

Having been linked earlier in the week to a position with the Blue Bulls in South Africa, Van Graan emphasised his commitment to Munster Rugby in his post match press conference this evening. This must come as a relief to all those involved, the prospect of losing another coach would be a major blow to what the province is looking to achieve. A stable and consistent coaching set-up will help the province end the trophy drought that Munster have endured for the past number of years.

“I’m staying at Munster, I’m going nowhere, I have a contract for two more years and i’m planning to honour that”.

Munster: Mike Haley; Darren Sweetnam, Sammy Arnold, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls; JJ Hanrahan, Alby Mathewson; James Cronin, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Jean Kleyn, Billy Holland; Peter O’Mahony (C), Chris Cloete, CJ Stander.

Glasgow Warriors: Ruaridh Jackson; Nico Matawalu, Nick Grigg, Sam Johnson; Rory Hughes, Pete Horne, George Horne; Oli Kebble, Grant Stewart, D’Arcy Rae; Rob Harley, Scott Cummings; Adam Ashe, Callum Gibbins, Matt Fagerson

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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