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May 30, 2015

Munster 13 - 31 Glasgow Warriors

GUINNESS PRO12 match played at Kingspan Stadium on Saturday May 30th 2015 | No comments

Henry Pyrgos grabbed Glasgow's third try
Glasgow Warriors put in a dominant performance as they overcame Munster to be crowned PRO12 champions at Kingspan Stadium.

Three tries in the first half an hour blew Munster out of the water, as Robert Harley, DTH Van Der Merwe and Henry Pyrgos all went over to put Glasgow firmly into the ascendency.

Andrew Smith fired back with Munster's first before the break, but the Irishmen couldn't build on that in the second half with Finn Russell grabbing Warrior's fourth on the hour mark, as Gregor Townsend's men deservedly washed away the memories of last year's defeat to secure their first PRO12 title.

After both sides narrowly edged through the semi-finals, the league's top two finishing sides met at Kingspan with PRO12 glory at stake. Glasgow set off in search of a historic maiden victory, whilst Munster were hoping for a fourth success, their first since 2011.

The Irish province side had the chance to strike first, but Ian Keatley's kick was slapped wide of the posts, and they were lucky to not to concede the game's first try minutes later after a DTH Van Der Merwe break down the left flank. And seconds later, Glasgow had the advantage. A storming team attack saw the towering Fijian Leone Nakarawa slip through a series of challenges before handing off to Robert Harley who overpowered the desperate graps of three red shirts to go under the posts. Finn Russell was left with a simple conversion in the perfect start for the Scots.

The early try only raised the Warriors' confidence, as they had the far better of the opening 20 minutes and were perhaps unlucky not to increase that lead. Van der Merwe, who will depart Scotstoun in the summer, was on the receiving end of an almost perfect chip into try territory, but Keith Earls prevented the Canadian international from touching down.

Munster were then immediately able to put together their best spell of the first 20, and went as high as Glasgow's try line, only to have possession turned over. Keatley, who squandered an opportunity to kick his side into the lead early on, had a second chance at getting Munster on the board, and made no mistake as he finally ended a drought in front of the posts.

Seconds later, Glasgow struck for a second time. Van der Merwe, who had gone close twice already down the left wing, was the recipient of some excellent interplay in the middle of the park, most of which again coming from the dominance of Nakarawa, and he snuck down the left to go over.

Russell's conversion put Warriors into an 11 point lead, just rewards for a powerful opening spell. And the blue flags were flying even higher 31 minutes in, as Glasgow incredibly went over for a third try. Stuart Hogg, faced with a line of Munster forwards, saw the mis-match and nipped through. His run was accompanied by Henry Pyrgos, who had all the time in the world to touch down, Russell kicking through again in a dream half for last year's beaten finalists.

In search of a much needed try before the break, Munster seared forwards, and after a long spell of TMO interference, were awarded their first five pointer. Andrew Smith powered his way through the Glasgow backline, and despite the suspicion of a knock on, touched down with Keatley adding the extra two to take the sides into the break.

Munster started the second the stronger and pressured the Glasgow try line. However, the Warriors performed miracles to again hold them up as they fought to deny Munster's attempt at a comeback. In fact, Glasgow were probably happy to come out of the other side of that spell having conceded just three points, Keatley kicking those through to narrow the gap to eight points.

But after a nervy 20 minutes for Glasgow, some of the tension was lifted as their first try of the half came thanks to Finn Russell. Prolonged pressure just outside the Munster try line saw Warriors went through multiple phases before finally Russell could sell a dummy in order to slide through, and he converted his own try to put further breathing space into what had so far been a deserving lead.

Alastair Kellock, the departing Glasgow captain came on for the most memorable of farewell appearances, and his introduction coincided with his side breaking the 30 points mark thanks to Duncan Weir's penalty. And that is the way it finished, as Glasgow rightfully strolled towards an 18 point victory at the Kingspan Stadium.

Referee Nigel Owens (Wales)
Attendance 17,057
Man of the Match Leone Nakarawa
Gordon Reid
Dougie Hall
Rossouw de Klerk
Leone Nakarawa
Jonny Gray
Robert Harley
Ryan Wilson
Josh Strauss
Henry Pyrgos
Finn Russell
DTH van der Merwe
Peter Horne
Richie Vernon
Tommy Seymour
Stuart Hogg
Fraser Brown
Jerry Yanuyanutawa
Jon Welsh
Alastair Kellock
Chris Fusaro
Nikola Matawalu
Duncan Weir
Sean Lamont
Match Substitutions
Off On
Rossouw de Klerk Jon Welsh
Off On
Dougie Hall Fraser Brown
Off On
Robert Harley Chris Fusaro
Off On
Leone Nakarawa Alastair Kellock
Off On
Stuart Hogg Sean Lamont
Off On
Gordon Reid Jerry Yanuyanutawa
Off On
DTH van der Merwe Nikola Matawalu
Off On
Finn Russell Duncan Weir
Robert Harley Try 
Finn Russell Conversion
DTH van der Merwe Try 
Finn Russell Conversion
Henry Pyrgos Try 
Finn Russell Conversion
Finn Russell Try 
Finn Russell Conversion
Duncan Weir Penalty