A monumental performance from the Warriors, deservingly winning their first Pro 12 title. Townsend’s spot on team sheet executed the gameplan perfectly and nullified the potent Munster threats all over the field. Here are my ratings:
Stuart Hogg 7.5- Munster’s kicking plan suited the flyer, running back almost everything sent towards him, with interest. When stepping into the line he was a constant threat and worked Pyrgos’ try with relative ease.
Tommy Seymour 6.5- Out of the limelight due to the problems being caused on the other wing. He marshalled the dangerous Zebo nonetheless, and looked impressive as ever under the high ball, a rare skill Cotter and Townsend could reap reward from in the future. Will be disappointed with the missed tackle for Munster’s try.
Richie Vernon 7.5- Didn’t carry the ball as much as expected, partly due to the success in the wider channels. However on defence he was brutal and winning the contact most times. We will never know how pivotal his hold up for O’Connell’s try could be. Strong performance from the makeshift centre.
Peter Horne 8- A very strong performance, with 3 defenders beaten, committed dummy lines and leading the defensive organisation from the front seemingly reading everything the Munstermen were trying. His defensive improvement has rightfully won over many critics and his reading of the game is unquestionable, and surely is Scotland’s best option at 12 with the injuries.
DTH Van Der Merve 8.5- What a way to sign off, a fan’s favourite who will be sorely missed. With a typically clinical try and 93 metres gained in total, he was relentless in his hunger for the ball, typified with his steal on his own line as Zebo looked to dot down. His success starved the inform Seymour of the ball.
Finn Russell 8.5- How refreshing to see a young Scottish 10 reading a game so well. He was influential all match, stretching the Munster defence and picking the holes for himself and his firing backline. A strong kicking game too with only a couple of minor mistakes, but I think we can forgive him after an inspiring end to the campaign. Scotland look no further.
Henry Pyrgos 9- Based on that display, Cotter will have some serious explaining to do if he is to split up this halfback partnership for the World Cup. Controlled the high tempo to suit his team, with an air of calmness. Subtle, intelligent kicks in the last quarter sucked the life out a possible comeback after 60 minutes of letting his strike runners burst through the Munster lines. Wonderful performance.
Gordon Reid 6- Quiet today from the big man, apart from some monsterous clear outs on the unfortunate Munster backs. Felt he was hard done by in some of the scrums, he coped with the experienced BJ Botha very well as shown in the first few contests.
Dougie Hall 8- Perhaps a half point too high, but he is a very canny operator. Brought in to shore up the set piece from last week’s shambles, and did so admirably against fine opposition. The amount of work he gets through is sensational for a hooker, and used his vast experience to step into 9 when Pyrgos was out of the game. He should be very proud of his final game for the Warriors, I would invite anyone to microanalyse his 60 minutes.
Russouw De Klerk 6- It was always going to be tough for a prop to get a high rating from such an expansive game. Very industrious in the first half, made a number of good tackles but struggled in the scrum. Signs of tiredness early as he was brought off after 52 minutes for Jon Welsh.
Johnny Gray 8.5- Will Greenwood made comparisons to the great Paul O’Connell pre match, and it’s getting harder to argue against him. Double figures comfortably for both tackles and carries, his engine and work ethic can only be admired. At 21, the sky is the limit, especially with big match performances like that, how long can Glasgow keep hold of him?
Leone Nakarawa 9- His post match interview could’ve been following a game of touch in the park, so relaxed about the occasion says a lot about the man. 58 Offloads for the season, 5 in the match, mixed with powerful carries, great defensive pressure and 2 wonderful assists. Harley’s try was something out of nothing and he put it on a plate for him. A pure athlete and a unique player in world rugby. What a find he is, Warriors fans should be delighted he’s signed on for next year too.
Rob Harley 7- Another solid performance, it was good to see him put in a handful of strong carries, an aspect he needs to improve, especially the strong finish for his score. The back row unit as a whole were phenomenal and Harley was instrumental in disrupting Munster ball while keeping his own team’s on a platter for Pyrgos. The unseen work against the Irish provinces cannot be underestimated.
Ryan Wilson 8- After the ‘batman’ controversy, he has put some of his best shifts in for the Warriors in recent weeks. Responsible for 3 turnovers, countless ruck clearances and covering every blade of the grass; completely justified his seemingly peculiar selection. Won his battle with the impressive Paddy Butler with relative ease, and I thought you needed a proper fetcher vs Munster!
Josh Strauss 8- I cannot wait to see this man star in a Scotland top. Unsurprisingly he was top carrier, and just behind Gray Jr. in the tackle stats. Much was made of his battle with CJ Stander and he made it seem a no contest, his dismissal of his opposite man perfectly caught on camera early on set the tone for a commanding and powerful display. Front foot ball will never be an issue with this gem.
Replacements 5 – No real standout impacts coming off the bench, except the inevitable Captain Kellock leaping like a salmon to pinch a promising Munster line out. Niko’s introduction gave the odd Ulsterman something to jeer about, and Sean Lamont tried his best to get a yellow and break his own shoulder, however the game was already up and became disjointed.
SRB Man of the Match: Credit must go to Pyrgos, Russell and DTH for outstanding performances, however the was only one winner. With his unrivalled ability to offload, combined with his natural athleticism getting Glasgow way over the gain line and producing 2 moments of magic with his assists. Congratulations Leone “Andreas Iniesta” Nakarawa and the worthy champions Glasgow Warriors.