WARRIORS coach Gregor Townsend said this was their most special win of the season after they stunned Heineken Cup semi-finalists Munster at their Limerick stronghold where they had won every match this campaign.
Munster 5 - 22 Glasgow Warriors
SCORERS: Munster: Try: Stander. Glasgow: Tries: Gray, Maitland, Strauss. Cons: Weir 2. Pen: Weir.
Venue: Thomond Park
Referee: N Owens (WRFU)
Glasgow did all the hard work in the opening half in terms of building up a match-winning lead and then after the restart they defended superbly as Munster threw everything at them.
“I was really proud of the boys, they kept up their level of performance throughout and did not relent at any stage. It is a big, big win for us, the most special of the season and it gives us a real chance now,” said Townsend.
His side had not won on Munster soil for six years but it was obvious from the outset that history was not weighing them down as they took the game to their high-flying hosts from the outset and any notions that Glasgow would roll over were not long disappearing as the Scots raced into a 10-0 lead after just eight minutes.
Glasgow built the phases from the outset and they were rewarded after four minutes with a series of mauls off a penalty lineout when Jonny Gray burst through the challenge of John Ryan and JJ Hanrahan to score his first league try.
Duncan Weir added the points and he again punished Munster when Ryan was pinged for not releasing after a good turnover and the Glasgow stand-off landed the resultant penalty from the 22.
That spurred Munster to life and Hanrahan was stopped short before scrum-half Chris Cusiter got a boot to the ball just as CJ Stander was about to touch down after a good break by Simon Zebo.
Munster were unperturbed and continue to build opportunities and this time another break through the middle by Zebo yielded a big result when they went wide with Keith Earls and James Downey combining to send Stander through for a try to make it 10-5 after 18 minutes.
But it was Glasgow and not Munster who responded to that score and with Hanrahan forced to go off injured, Gregor Townsend’s men hit the Heineken Cup semi-finalists for two tries before the break.
Sean Maitland, struggling to contain Zebo, turned the tables on the Munster winger and burst through his poor tackle to score in the right corner after 25 minutes.
Weir missed the difficult conversion from the right but Glasgow continued to dominate and Josh Strauss crowned a superb display from the flanker with a third try four minutes from the break.
Again Glasgow were patient in building the move, putting together eight phases off a five-metre scrum for Strauss to drive through Earls and score, with Weir adding the conversion to make it 22-5 at the interval.
Munster continued to dominate after the restart but just could not find a way through a disciplined Glasgow defence.
Glasgow continued to grow in confidence after the restart, especially when Munster took the game to them, but the visitors’ defence was both organised and disciplined and a couple of early Munster forays into the red zone were turned over.
Glasgow came within inches of wrapping up the bonus point after 49 minutes when loosehead Gordon Reid broke off a ruck. Though he was stopped short, Ryan Wilson dived over, but Downey managed to get a hand under the ball after Gerhard van den Heever had executed a tackle on the Glasgow No.8.
Munster badly needed to get the next score but Zebo was held up by a crowd of bodies in the right corner and when it was recycled Conor Murray knocked on and the chance was lost.
Munster continued to enjoy enormous phases of possession but struggled to break down the Glasgow defence and several promising moves broke down through sloppy play.
Ian Keatley went to the left corner with three penalties in as many minutes but Munster turned over the ball through poor execution each time and the Glasgow line was not threatened in any of the moves and that summed the poor Munster display on the night.
Indeed, Glasgow finished the game on the offensive on a night when they sent out a clear message that after years of knocking on the door they might now be poised to make a serious bid for the silverware that would give such a huge boost to Scottish rugby.
Munster: Jones; Van den Heever (Murphy 63), Earls, Downey, Zebo; Hanrahan (Keatley 22), Murray (Williams 71); Ryan (Kilcoyne 49), Casey (MacDonald 71), Botha (Ryan 71); O’Callaghan (Holland 71), Foley; Stander, Dougall (Butler 71), Coughlan.
Glasgow: Murchie; Maitland, Dunbar (Vernon 61), Russell, Seymour; Weir, Cusiter (Pyrgos 73); Reid (Yanuyanutawa 66), Hall (MacArthur 61), Welsh (Cross 55); Swinson (Nakarawa 59), Gray; Strauss, Fusaro (Harley 61), Wilson (Horne 71).