Franco Smith's 'special Glasgow Warriors feeling' as momentous Munster win puts home play-off in sight

Glasgow Warriors boss Franco Smith said his side’s 38-26 bonus-point win over Munster at Thomond Park was “a special feeling” as Warriors stormed towards a home play-off with this memorable victory.
Munster's Jack Crowley, Jack O'Donoghue and Diarmuid Barron tackle Sione Vailanu of Glasgow.Munster's Jack Crowley, Jack O'Donoghue and Diarmuid Barron tackle Sione Vailanu of Glasgow.
Munster's Jack Crowley, Jack O'Donoghue and Diarmuid Barron tackle Sione Vailanu of Glasgow.

Fraser Brown, Stafford McDowall, Domingo Miotti and Cole Forbes powered Warriors to a 28-0 interval lead, while a fifth try from back-row Sione Vailanu halted Munster comeback in the second half. “We came here with the idea to take all the learnings from this experience we could from this experience back home, so to have the result we got was a bonus,” said Smith. “We know we have certain processes to work on, and that has been the whole season, but this is unbelievable. We know how proud Munster is, and of this ground, so it is a special feeling.”

Defeat means Munster now trail fourth placed Warriors by six points in the standings, and with back-to-back home games against Scarlets and Connacht to come Warriors are poised for a bright end to the campaign after next weekend’s Challenge Cup clash against Dragons.

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The rout started after six minutes when Brown scored off a driving lineout from 15 metres, and Miotti’s conversion was on the mark to give Warriors an early 7-0 lead. Brown was involved again for Warriors’ second when he sent McDowall through some poor Munster tackling for a 14-0 advantage. After Warriors hit the home side with an intense five minutes, Miotti stretched to score his side’s third try after 31 minutes as the visitors continued to punish Munster’s sluggish, error-strewn performance.

That score seemed to raise Munster’s intensity, and a great break from Nash put them on the front foot, but after battering the Warriors line for a handful of phases, some poor handling cost the home side. Once again the Scottish outfit underlined their set piece superiority by winning a third scrum penalty of the half and they cleared their lines. And Warriors weren’t near finished either, and their bonus point try came before the break when Forbes rounded off a flowing move with a stunning score. A stunned Thomond Park saw their side trailing 28-0 at the break.

It was no shock to see a livelier start to the half from Rowntree’s side, but once again it was the visitors that made the most of their chances when Miotti dropped back and landed a drop goal. Munster finally got off the mark when Coombes scored off a powerful lineout maul in the 53rd minute. It only took five minutes for the home side to cross again when Ireland international Craig Casey crossed from close range following a Jack O’Donoghue carry. But another error from the restart set Glasgow up again, and Sione Vailanu took the steam out of the Munster comeback to seal the win just after the hour-mark.

Replacement Josh Wycherley scored Munster’s third try of the half, but the Warriors lead was too great to give the home side any real hope, although Munster’s best player Nash scored in the corner late on to claim the try bonus point.