PICTURE: ROSS PARKER/SNS
Man of the match Finn Russell, pictured, kicked four conversions and three penalties for a 100 per cent record off the tee, while Munster’s marksmen managed none from three between them.
After seeing his side move up a gear, head coach Dave Rennie said: “Yeah it’s better. It’s a step up from the last three weeks – more in intensity and accuracy, our ability to build pressure. Our defence was outstanding against a very strong Munster side that we knew were going to ask some questions of it.”
The match was played at a furious pace, even if the ambition of both sides occasionally overtook their skill sets with a host of knock-ons and turnovers.
Callum Gibbins is fast becoming a cult hero in these parts. The ferocious Kiwi flanker picked a fight with pretty much anyone and everyone in red, much to the delight of the partisan Scotstoun crowd, and even the normally imperturbable Zander Fagerson had his dander up.
All this aggro culminated in an huge free-for-all in the middle of the first half and referee Nigel Owens taking the unprecedented step of laying down the law to all 30 players.
The home forwards finally got their mauling game going and they showcased some nice offloads in the contact zone but the backs were not to be outdone, Nick Griggs and Ali Price both winning ruck turnovers.
Glasgow attacked the visitors at their strong point, the breakdown, where the home side were ruthless, neutering Munster’s usual excellence from the off, blasting the visitors off the ball.
The first try went to Glasgow with the match just four minutes old.Leo Sarto, an early replacement for Rory Hughes, did wonderfully well, the Italian feigning in before rounding Darren Sweetnam as though the winger wasn’t there. Russell converted the try and a penalty shortly after to give his team a 10-0 lead in as many minutes.
The Italian’s next contribution was a little less noteworthy as Sarto allowed Rory Scannell to loop his winger and score in the corner after Munster enjoyed some early pressure.
He was determined to be at the centre of things and Sarto again had a big say in Glasgow’s next score just after the half-hour mark. Munster turned the ball over deep in Glasgow territory and the Italian skipped past one defender before putting boot to ball and winning an attacking lineout where Munster coughed up a cheap penalty.
Glasgow then showed their best when carving Munster wide open with a sublime, length-of-the-field try, five minutes before the break. Full-back Ruaridh Jackson threw an inside pass to Gibbins on the right flank, the Kiwi showed unexpected pace before asking Lee Jones to finish off the eighty-metre effort. Russell converted and Glasgowled 20-5 at the break.
Glasgow had their third try five minutes into the second half, aided by a yellow card for Munster lock Billy Holland. Peter Horne’s miss-pass found Jackson on the right wing and the full-back’s inside pass was aimed at Jones but fell kindly for the ever-alert Grigg.
Munster got five back when George Turner threw an interception pass that fell sweetly for centre Chris Farrell, but Glasgow piled on the pressure and, although Tim Swinson grounded the ball, the TMO spotted a knock-on and Russell kicked his third penalty instead.
Glasgow upped the tempo as the match entered the final quarter, the bonus point try going to Scott Cummings, thanks to Sarto’s uncanny ability to ride six Munster tackles.
Munster had most of the territory and possession in the final ten minutes but all they got from it was a red card for replacement flanker Fineen Wycherley for aiming a shoulder at Swinson’s head.