European Champions Cup: Glasgow Warriors 12-14 Munster
|European Champions Cup|
|Glasgow (6) 12|
|Pens: Russell 3, Hogg|
|Munster (6) 14|
|Try: Saili Pens: Bleyendaal 3|
Glasgow's hopes of reaching the European Champions Cup quarter-finals suffered a major blow as pool leaders Munster prevailed in a bruising game.
The hosts led 12-9 in a tourniquet-tight match with four penalties - three from Finn Russell, one from Stuart Hogg - to three from Tyler Bleyendaal.
But Hogg's yellow card, for a high tackle in stopping Andrew Conway from scoring, saw Munster capitalise.
Francis Saili powered over in the corner to book a last-eight spot.
The Irish province are now guaranteed to top Pool One, sealing their quarter-final place in Europe's elite tournament for the 16th time in 22 seasons.
Glasgow, meanwhile, will need to win their final game at Leicester next Saturday to retain hope of qualifying as one of the three best runners-up.
|Champions Cup Pool 1|
The Warriors needed to assert their physicality on Munster from the get-go - and they did, to a point. In the opening 15 minutes they had most of the possession and most of the territory, but only three points to show for it, from Russell's boot.
Breaking down Munster's defence proved a monstrous job. This is a team that had conceded only three tries in their first four pool games in Europe - all of them long after they had taken an unbreakable hold on those games. Their line speed was rapid, their aggression huge. This was always going to be rugby's equivalent of a gunfight.
Every time Glasgow scored, Munster responded quickly. When Russell gave Glasgow the lead, Bleyendaal responded. When Hogg walloped over one from the halfway line, Bleyendaal cancelled it out three minutes later. When Russell made it 9-6 early in the new half, Bleyendaal rubbed it soon after.
It took Munster 25 minutes to release the dogs and when they did, Glasgow's defence proved every bit as demonic as their visitors. Phase upon phase brought Munster to Glasgow's 5m line. Tackle upon tackle meant they went no further.
The beginning of the second half saw Glasgow finally get their dangerous runners on the ball. Hogg, Ali Price and Russell started to cut little holes in the Munster defence. Josh Strauss was getting on the ball and doing damage, Tim Swinson was carrying ball. Zander Fagerson, too.
That Russell penalty was their reward for a 9-6 lead but such was the game, and the tiny margins, it didn't last. The fourth time they hit the front, another kick from Russell, they held it for longer, but not long enough. This was not rugby for those who want line breaks and tries. This was kitchen sink stuff. Bear-pit rugby.
The most dramatic endgame started to unfold with 11 minutes left. Munster had dominance and field position. They attacked in vicious red waves, crashing in on Glasgow, who were outstanding in dealing with them.
Munster went wide and found space at last. Conway got clipped high by Hogg, who got 10 minutes - and the rest of the match - in the bin. A colossal blow.
Munster put the penalty to touch and when they came streaming across field, Simon Zebo linked with Keith Earls who found Saili on the wrap-around.
The replacement went over in the corner to put Munster ahead for the first time. Glasgow came again, busting a gut, smashing forward in the hope of breaking this gobsmacking Munster defence. They could have tried a drop-goal - they had the opportunity - but didn't do it. They went for the try and ran into a red wall.
Sensational rugby. Glory for Munster who progress to the last eight. Desolation for Glasgow, who now have to win at Welford Road to stand a chance of making it through for the first time.
Glasgow Warriors: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Mark Bennett, Alex Dunbar, Lee Jones, Finn Russell, Ali Price; Gordon Reid, Fraser Brown, Zander Fagerson, Tim Swinson, Jonny Gray (capt), Rob Harley, Ryan Wilson, Josh Strauss.
Replacements: Pat MacArthur, Alex Allan (for Reid, 78), D'arcy Rae (for Z Fagerson, 78) Matt Fagerson, Chris Fusaro (for Strauss, 68), Grayson Hart, Nick Grigg (for Bennett, 63), Peter Murchie.
Yellow card: Hogg (71)
Munster: Simon Zebo, Andrew Conway, Jaco Taute, Rory Scannell, Keith Earls, Tyler Bleyendaal, Conor Murray; Dave Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell, John Ryan, Jean Kleyn, Donnacha Ryan; Peter O'Mahony (capt), Jack O'Donoghue, CJ Stander.
Replacements: Rhys Marshall, James Cronin (for Kilcoyne, 54) Thomas Du Toit (for Ryan, 60), Dave Foley (for O'Mahony), 74), Billy Holland (for Kleyn, 54), Duncan Williams (for Murray, 65-71), Ian Keatley, Francis Saili (for Taute, 57).