Munster reach URC semi-finals after early red card for Glasgow
Munster reached the BKT United Rugby Championship semi-finals after Tom Jordan’s first-half red card proved costly for Glasgow.
Graham Rowntree’s side inflicted Warriors’ first home defeat of the season as a 14-5 victory set up an encounter with table-toppers Leinster at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium next Saturday.
The home side started well and dominated possession and territory over the 80 minutes but their hopes of reaching a second final this season were undone in a five-minute spell.
Warriors could not make their early pressure count and Malakai Fekitoa crossed in the 22nd minute in Munster’s first attack of the game.
Jordan was sent off three minutes later after smashing his shoulder into the face of Conor Murray on the touchline and Antoine Frisch soon went over to increase Munster’s lead further.
Kyle Steyn gave Glasgow hope with a 66th-minute try but the 14 men could not build on their opening score.
The first quarter of the game offered little indication of the final outcome.
Warriors had some promising line breaks from Sione Tuipulotu and Steyn in particular but the final pass was missing.
Munster survived some sustained pressure after Warriors kicked a penalty into the corner before Jack Dempsey was later held up on the line.
The visitors continued to defend well despite losing captain Peter O’Mahony early on to an arm injury and lock RG Snyman to a head injury. Murray would soon go off as a result of Jordan’s challenge.
Munster’s first meaningful foray into the Glasgow 22 resulted in Fekitoa spinning out of Steyn’s tackle and touching down.
Jordan saw red after the officials studied footage of his dangerous tackle and the Irish side quickly used their numerical advantage, winning a penalty and then working the ball to Frisch to cross.
Jack Crowley added his second conversion of the game to give Munster a 14-point half-time lead which might have been greater had Franco Smith’s side not stood firm under some relentless late first-half pressure.
Warriors restarted the game on the front foot and won a couple of penalties deep in Munster territory which allowed them to pile on the pressure but Richie Gray’s spillage and some stubborn defending kept the visitors’ clean sheet intact.
Glasgow regained the ascendancy after a brief respite for Munster and finally made their pressure count in the 66th minute when substitute Huw Jones set up Steyn to go over in the corner.
Stafford McDowall missed the conversion to leave Warriors needing two scores and Munster spent the remainder of the game deep in home territory.
All comeback hopes evaporated when Tuipulotu was yellow-carded following a head-on challenge which forced Fekitoa off with a head knock.
Warriors will now focus on preparing for the European Challenge Cup final against Toulon in Dublin on May 19.
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Gavin Hastings, was playing was he? 🤔Go to comments
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