Pro12: Glasgow Warriors 27-24 Munster
|Glasgow Warriors (14) 27|
|Tries: Puafisi 2, Weir, Bryce Cons: Weir 2 Pen: Weir|
|Munster (17) 24|
|Tries: Kilcoyne 2, Sherry Cons: Keatley 3 Pen: Keatley|
Glasgow reignited their Pro12 season with a thrilling bonus point-win over Munster at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock.
Last year's finalists produced a frantic opening with Glasgow on top from two converted Sila Puafisi tries.
Munster came storming back with two tries from another prop, Dave Kilcoyne, and Ian Keatley kicked a penalty.
Glasgow's Duncan Weir sped over in the corner and added a penalty before Mike Sherry made it 24-22 to 14-man Munster ahead of Glenn Bryce's match-winner.
This was terrific stuff and brought to an end a four-match winless run for the Warriors.
Nobody was as influential as Josh Strauss, who put in the kind of thunderous performance that Scotland head coach Vern Cotter will have watched closely.
Puafisi barrelled over from close range inside three minutes, his score then converted by Weir. A perfect beginning only got better for Glasgow. Puafisi's second try had its origins in tremendous work from Strauss, who carried and carried again.
Munster held out, but there was a sense of the inevitable about Glasgow's momentum, Puafisi driving over for a second try.
Weir added the conversion and Glasgow had a precious 14-0 lead, the kind of advantage that head coach Gregor Townsend could scarcely have imagined in his dreams.
Then came the nightmare. What Glasgow did to Munster, Munster duly did to Glasgow. They got their hands on the ball and they made things happen. The ambition of both sides in those early minutes was terrific.
Kilcoyne got his first score midway through the half after a sustained battering on the Glasgow line. Keatley converted then put over a penalty to bring the Munstermen back into the contest at 14-7.
Glasgow couldn't get ball. In the rare moments they did get it, errors crept in and helped Munster off the hook. They had a few line-out misfires and, in an effort to offload, some forced passes that went to ground and checked their progress.
Munster, meanwhile, were clinical. Another visit to Glasgow's 22 and patience and power through the phases saw them pile over from close-range, Kilcoyne getting the touch-down again.
Keatley's conversion put Munster into the lead at 17-14 after 24 breathless minutes, a scenario that seemed impossible just a quarter of an hour before.
Seventeen unanswered points for the visitors would have addled Townsend's brain but the coach got some peace of mind soon after the break when Glasgow calmly worked their way to the Munster 22 and then Weir backed himself and bolted into the corner for Glasgow's third try.
Weir missed the conversion but added a penalty just after the hour, the three points coming while Tomas O'Leary, the Munster scrum-half was in the sin-bin. At 22-17, things were looking positive for Glasgow.
O'Leary was still in the bin when Munster responded. It was another head-wreck for the hosts. A daft piece of indiscipline gifted the visitors a penalty, which they pinged to touch. From the line-out, they launched the maul and Sherry, the replacement hooker, smashed his way over.
Keatley made it 24-22 to Munster with a terrific touchline conversion. Glasgow's scrum had Munster in desperate trouble all night and when James Cronin collapsed, he walked.
This 10-minute spell was more lucrative for Glasgow. A botched line-out looked like it was going to scupper Glasgow yet again, but Simone Favaro won it back on the floor and Bryce was put away on the left for a precious try that won a thrilling game.
Glasgow Warriors: Peter Murchie, Taqele Naiyaravoro, Glenn Bryce, Peter Horne, Sean Lamont, Duncan Weir, Ali Price, Gordon Reid, James Malcolm, Sila Puafisi, Tim Swinson, Leone Nakarawa, Rob Harley, Chris Fusaro, Josh Strauss (capt).
Replacements: Cammy Fenton, Jerry Yanuyanutawa, Zander Fagerson, Greg Peterson, Simone Favaro, Grayson Hart, Fraser Lyle, Rory Hughes.
Munster: Andrew Conway; Darren Sweetnam, David Johnston, Rory Scannell, Ronan O'Mahony; Ian Keatley, Tomás O'Leary; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan; Donnacha Ryan, Billy Holland (capt) Jack O'Donoghue, Tommy O'Donnell, Robin Copeland.
Replacements: Mike Sherry, James Cronin, Mario Sagario, Dave Foley, Conor Oliver, Duncan Williams, Johnny Holland, Cian Bohane.