Scottish Rugby News and Opinion


Glasgow 16-15 Munster

A packed Scotstoun saw a frenetic start from Glasgow who were hosting their first RaboDirect Pro12 semi final. The players who proved their worth many times over for Glasgow were typically to the fore, guys like Josh Strauss, Rob Harley and Jonny Gray.

Canny Munster on the other hand were content to defend and not contest rucks heavily, and it was the visitors who saw the early benefit as Damien Varley was adjudged to have crossed the line while most of the cameras were focussing on some off-the-ball argy bargy between Keith Earls and Alex Dunbar. Keatley converted to temporarily silence a vocal Warrior Nation.

Russell struck back with his second penalty attempt to put Glasgow on the board. The hosts continued to put impressive phases of play together but the solid citizens of Munster were hugely physical from 1 to 15 and Glasgow made ground but were never able to run amok despite the best efforts of Maitland and Dunbar to carry the game to Munster.

While youngsters Gray and Russell were impressive – Russell showed some nice touches to keep his defenders honest, it was also great to see old warhorses Al Kellock and Paul O’Connell going at each other hammer tongs in the tight and the loose. Big Al was hugely up for this game.

Again though Munster pounced when the time was right for them, Zebo knocking on over the line – at least as far as the TMO could see to offer a timely reminder that Munster would be no pushover despite Glasgow’s recent form.

If Strauss going off injured while the TMO pontificated was a worry for the Glasgow crowd, warm applause turned moments later to fury as the match officials missed a promising kick chase from the spritely Mark Bennett being deflected into touch by a Munster hand, adding insult to the occasional gamesmanship that the men in red are so good at.

The Glasgow team responded with equal vehemence as they pushed hard to make ground – although never enough to trouble the try line. Russell earned another penalty which he kicked to narrow the gap, and just before the half time whistle he took another from further out to signal his danger and put Glasgow into the lead going in at the break.

Half time Glasgow 9-7 Munster

Glasgow came out at the same furious pace in the second half and the constant pressure told even on the miserly defence of Munster.

Nakawara – on for Strauss – used that offload of his to free up a little space that Cusiter took close, and Gordy Reid barrelled round the ruck and slammed the ball down with help from the tall Fijian. Russell slotted a tricky conversion to open up a decent lead and Glasgow looked in control.

As had been the case all game, Munster were living very comfortably off scraps, and responded almost straight away with a try through Sean Dougall. They were taking every chance they got, as the good teams do.

To the relief of the Glasgow crowd Keatley missed the conversion to keep Glasgow in a small lead, but it gave Munster something of a boost as they took the game to Glasgow and forcing Glasgow to make some tackles for a change.

Glasgow were starting to make the odd error too as a great attacking lineout turned into a Munster scrum that saw Munster back into the Glasgow half as the hosts failed to profit. Munster too seemed to be having a growing influence on the Italian referee Marius Mitrea.

Minutes later Glasgow were penalised within range and Keatley scraped the penalty between the posts to narrow the lead to just a point.

Glasgow changed things up, emptying a dangerous looking bench to bring on Geoff Cross, Niko Matawalu and Ruairdh Jackson and loosen the game further; it was perhaps no surprise that Munster looked arguably the more in control of the teams having failed to cut loose.

A great combination from the Fijian connection saw the crowd once more spring to life as Glasgow burst into the Munster 22 but they were perhaps guilty of chasing the game as the final five minutes wore on and the move broke down.

Tommy Seymour almost scored but didn’t quite have the pace to get past Zebo, but those minutes camped on the Munster line were valuable in preserving that slenderest of leads. Munster battered away at Glasgow but the hosts defended their half way line as if it was the try line to hold out until Munster fumbled it to send the delighted players and fans to the final.

SRBlog Man of the Match: Jonny Gray was immense for the full 80 minutes. Russell, Maitland and Fusaro were close possibilities but none carried or tackled with the force and regularity of the young lock.

14 Responses

  1. Well done Glasgow! Great effort to scrape past a formidable team.

    Special mention should go to Seymour, who is starting to look every inch a test winger, Nakarawa, who was outstanding and did more than compensate for losing Strauss who is so often glasgow’s go to man, and matawalu, who managed to change the flow of the match back in Glasgow’s favour right at the death. And of course the epic jonny gray.

    I thought Glasgow looked very dangerous attacking quickly but were a little too predictable. Russell, who played exceptionally well, could do with adding a bit more variety with some tactical kicking. Sometimes Munster looked content to absorb pressure knowing that despite repeated Glasgow half breaks they’d eventually force a turnover or penalty.

    Townshend has a tough job picking a team for the final!

  2. GREAT win for Glasgow and Scottish rugby.
    Would like to see Hogg back in the 23 (rather than Lamont)for the final and I think Kellock should drop out with Gray, Swinson and Nakawara covering the 2nd row.

  3. Drop the captain? Gregor isn’t Scott Johnson, besides big Al played a blinder last night. And sadly if the rumours about Hoggy are true I’m not sure if he should be included. Sounds like young Stu is getting a bit big for his boots and missing the point of being a team player. Leinster are a step up, but I think the boys can handle it.

  4. AK was out of gas by the 20 minute mark and did not contribute much after that. Pick the best team/squad then pick a captain.
    And if you pick your team based on rumours then sure , leave out the best back in Scottish rugby.
    Don’t think the other finalist is decided yet , could be Ulster or Leinster.

  5. fantastic result for Glasgow and Scottish rugby. I haven’t been on the end of my seat watching a game like that since 1990 and Scotlands Grand Slam!!
    Glasgow seems to be getting it together now on and off the park with good crowds, a decent ground and a team all working for each other.

    I think AK should play the final he was knackered but he put in a hell of a shift and made some great runs and tackles showing the way for the others.

    Common Glasgow!!

  6. I have a feeling that we might see Hoggy back for the final. That is no disrespect to Murchie who had a great game and most certainly put the body on the line more than once. I just feel that to win this final we need our game breakers in play. Ulster dominated possession but could not score against Leinster and even against Munster we only scored once, despite having a lot of ball. The final will be won by the team that takes its chances and there may not be that many of them. Hoggy is still an x factor player!

  7. You couldn’t fault any one of the Glasgow players, as for the Kellock selection there are few other captains who lead as well as he does. The way he changed his angle and smashed O’Connell sent the message that he wasn’t going to let the foul play go unchecked. In my opinion on his current form I’d say Seymour has overtaken Visser and is more likely to appear on Maitland’s opposite wing, his interception on not only halted a Munster attack but if he’d had fresh legs it would have been a try that went down in Scottish rugby history. I could see Russell, Bennett and Gray junior all starting for Scotland in the summer after their performance on Friday, it’s good to see a Scottish coach picking young Scottish guys who are proving they can beat the best. You don’t need to scour the Southern Hemisphere for talent when it’s right here in Scotland

    1. I agree Russell, Bennett and Gray Jr need exposure to test rugby this summer. Russell and Gray must surely be in the starting team come the 6N. Bennett might still have some work to do to force apart the Scott-Dunbar partnership but as Scott is out for the summer with a shoulder injury, Bennett and Horne are the next in line.

      Russell needs as much game time at test level before the world cup as possible if he is to supplant Weir or Jackson. Both of those have had plenty of time to nail down a place and whilst I’d still defend both from much of the criticism they have attracted, Russell looks like he has the composure and all round game to finally end Scotland’s FH hoo-doo.

  8. that smash of O Connell was great I was getting well and truly annoyed at Munsters dirty tricks and getting away with it! Yet later in the game Glasgow get penalised for holding onto the ball for all of two seconds which then resulted in a try. sheesh!!

    Maybe Edinburgh should get a Scottish Manager back in, whats Frank Haddon up to?

  9. It won’t happen, but if I was at the SRU I would stick Sean Lineen into the Edinburgh job, put Chris Paterson in as backs coach and bring back Simon Cross to work in the coaching team. Lineen did a massive amount to create the culture at Glasgow that has blossomed under Townsend. He is long enough away from Glasgow now for it not to feel like a betrayal. Far better use to Scottish Rugby laying foundations at Edinburgh, like he did at Glasgow, than scouring the world for Ollie Atkins, James Hilterbrand or Grayson Hart. Paterson, could be groomed as a potential future coach, just as Townsend was with Scotland. Simon Cross could be the Shade Munro of Edinburgh. He and Paterson would be great at instilling the kind of values and passion that drive Glasgow in an Edinburgh context. If we can create one succesful pro team in Scotland, we can create two.

  10. we can create two successful pro teams, but I think Scotland can create another two pro teams one def in Aberdeen( but where would they play) and the other in the borders but instead trying to bring all borders clubs together! why not offer one of the top borders clubs the chance to go Pro with some support, but mostly off there own backs, surely that teams support would be galvanised into turning up in numbers? It could be a catalyst to turn the others Pro long term.

    1. How could a single club generate the necessary support when a Border wide pro side can’t?

    2. Being from Melrose, I, among others, were still fine heading to Gala for Border Reivers matches. However, if a Borders pro team was to be revived, something that might help fix the issue of local rugby politics is playing some games away from the home base. For example, if most games were to be played at Netherdale like they were before, it would be a good idea for some games to be played in towns like Hawick, where there is still a lot of popularity for the professional game as we saw when Edinburgh played Newcastle there last summer. Munster addressed this problem as they now play most games at Thomond Park, Limerick with some of the slightly smaller games at Musgrave Park, Cork. They now have even more popularity throughout the region and do not have such a big problem about some fans having to travel so far for games.

  11. well done Glasgow. I just wish the national team and the boffins at the SRU would take note. They could do with some of that fighting spirit.

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Scottish Rugby News and Opinion