European Champions Cup: Munster 38-17 Glasgow Warriors
|European Champions Cup Pool 1|
|Munster (24) 38|
|Tries: Bleyendaal, Taute, Zebo, Penalty try, Scannell Cons: Bleyendaal 4, Keatley Pen: Bleyendaal|
|Glasgow (3) 17|
|Tries: MacArthur, Bennett Cons: Hogg 2 Pens: Russell|
Inspired Munster produced a passionate performance to beat Glasgow soundly in their first match since the death of head coach Anthony Foley.
Despite having Keith Earls red-carded in the 19th minute for a tip tackle, fired-up Munster racked up five tries.
Backs Tyler Bleyendaal, Jaco Taute and Simon Zebo touched down before half-time, followed by a penalty try.
Glasgow responded with Pat MacArthur and Mark Bennett tries but Munster's Rory Scannell grabbed the final score.
Munster stand up
Amid the swirling emotion and the eulogies to their fallen hero, Thomond Park fell quiet before kick-off for a minute's silence. The respectful hush gave way to classic Munster thunder soon enough.
Munster's intensity was immense; their power was raw and devastating. Even before Bleyendaal went through a gap and wriggled over for the opening score, there were clear signs Munster were on the most profound mission out there. Bleyendaal sent over the conversion to send a packed stadium into raptures.
The tempo, and the noise level that greeted it, didn't let up. Russell made it 7-3 with the boot, but four minutes later, Taute scored Munster's second. It came despite Munster losing their own lineout ball. They fought like men possessed to win it back and Taute applied the finish.
Bleyendaal's conversion made it 14-3; a pulsating beginning.
An air of utter surreality entered the occasion after 19 minutes when Earls was dramatically, and correctly, red-carded for a dangerous tip tackle on Fraser Brown.
Munster now had another factor to contend with - and contend with it they did. Their scrum became a wrecking ball, and their breakdown work rendered Glasgow impotent as an attacking force. Bleyendaal lobbed over another penalty after a monster scrum laid waste to the visitors.
Then, Munster struck for their third try. Scannell set the wheels in motion when stepping around Henry Pyrgos and when the ball went wide, Zebo took Stuart Hogg's tackle and still managed to get the ball down. Bleyendaal's conversion was good.
After such a nightmarish week, 24-3 at the break was the stuff of dreams for the home support.
The question was whether Munster would hit an emotional and physical wall in the second half. They didn't. They upped the tempo, put in one howitzer scrum after another and eventually got their reward - a penalty try. Glasgow had changed two of their front row by then but the new ones were as beleaguered as the old ones. They could do nothing to stop the Munster surge.
Bleyendaal's conversion made the advantage a towering 31-3. You had to keep reminding yourself that Munster were making all this happen despite having a man sent off.
It was inevitable that Glasgow would get some ball at some point, though, just as it was that 14-man Munster would run out of gas. McArthur rumbled over for a try 15 minutes from the end, then Bennett went through minutes later. That brought the score to 31-17.
The home side dug again into their bottomless pit of passion and scored for a fifth time, as Scannell provided the last act of a profoundly sad but joyous day for the people of Munster.
And at the end, more emotion. Foley's young sons, Tony and Dan, were brought on to the field into a huddle of the players who performed for his father. Together they began their anthem, Stand Up And Fight, and were joined in harmony by the vast Thomond Park support.
The players walked around the pitch later to thank their fans. Their fans sang and applauded and thanked them back: a people united.
Munster: S Zebo; D Sweetnam, J Taute, R Scannell, K Earls; T Bleyendaal, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, N Scannell, J Ryan; D Ryan, B Holland; P O'Mahony (capt), T O'Donnell, CJ Stander.
Replacements: D Casey, B Scott, S Archer, R Copeland, J O'Donoghue, D Williams, I Keatley, R O'Mahony.
Glasgow: S Hogg; S Lamont, A Dunbar, S Johnson, R Hughes; F Russell, H Pyrgos; G Reid, F Brown, Z Fagerson; T Swinson, J Gray; R Harley, R Wilson, J Strauss.
Replacements: P MacArthur, A Allan, S Puafisi, L Wynne, S Favaro, A Price, M Bennett, P Murchie.