League leaders Munster have been in imperious form ever since that match at Thomond Park. Ian Keatley opened the scoring with a penalty after just 8 minutes, just reward for strong opening phases the men in red put together. That the penalty was for something as clueless as not retreating behind the kicker perhaps symbolises Glasgows current malaise.
Things got worse as Keatley combined with Andrew Conway for a cross-field kick that Nigel Owens adjudged to have bounced backwards and into Conway’s grateful arms.
Glasgow had their first chance of points with a couple of penalties back to back, but Peter Horne was only able to slot the second of them after Munster were caught off their feet. Again.
Even Glasgow’s best early break was rewarded with misery: Horne leaving the field with a leg injury.
Dave Kilcoyne was binned for the visitors to give Glasgow a man advantage; Munster took this discomfort in their stride with a penalty towards the end of the sin bin period. Glasgow on the other hand couldn’t profit from a driving maul, continued to leak tackles and were generally woeful under the high ball. Needless to say Tommy Seymour, Glasgow’s best in the air, didn’t get anything near him.
Ali Price was the bright spark for Glasgow, but even he knocked on just before half time, too busy looking at Rory Clegg (on for Horne) rather than the ball coming down from the lineout, that he intended to pass to him.
Half-time: Glasgow 3-13 Munster
Glasgow came out in the second half looking like they’d had a rocket at half time, but they were still knocking balls on and once again, even the good breaks were balanced out by misfortune or injury – Rory Hughes also giving way with a nasty looking knee twist just 5 minutes into the half.
Glasgow looked much improved, but Munster seemed content to sit off them and soak it up waiting for the mistake – much as teams have done to Scotland for years. Rory Clegg kicked well from hand, pegging Munster back in the corners. But when Glasgow couldn’t put the phases together without error, did Munster really care that much?
The game sparked into life on the hour mark where after just one such kick from Clegg, Ali Price took the ball behind the lineout and scampered past half the Munster team on a jinking run before diving over behind the posts. In addition to closing the gap to just 3 points, it also showed the Scotstoun faithful at least someone on the pitch was interested and the noise level tripled, back to the usual bustling atmosphere.
The second try from Glasgow was also a superb solo effort this time from Mark Bennett, who snatched a smart if high offload from Tommy Seymour and backed his own pace to run from well inside his own half even with Price on his inside. Clegg missed the conversion – things might have been different had he passed to Price – but Glasgow were finally in the lead with 9 minutes left to defend it.
An Ian Keatley drop goal on a penalty advantage regained the lead for Munster and a frantic 3 minute struggle for the win. Munster reverted to the wall of red that had been present from most of the match, and Glasgow were slowly marched from half way to their own 22 before Nigel Owens awarded a scrum to the visitors.
Munster gratefully ran out the clock from the scrum before hoofing it into touch.
Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
SRBlog Man of the Match: Another frantic, stuttering performance from the Warriors who are going backwards at a rate of knots thanks to precious little depth in key areas when their internationals are away. The bright spark all game (apart from the Bennett try) was scrum-half Ali Price, who added zip and pace along with his individual try that ignited the game as a contest.