The Runner Sports

Gregor Townsend’s Glasgow Fall From Playoff Contention

Glasgow lose a tight match to Munster, making Glasgow effectively eliminated in the final season for  Gregor Townsend.

Glasgow entered the match this weekend against Munster in desperation. The Warriors were 10 points behind Ulster and a playoff berth. With only four matches to play, Glasgow had to win all their matches and hope for some bad luck by Ulster and the Ospreys. Munster were not in ideal circumstances as they had 10 different players in their starting 23 from a week ago.

Munster start the match well offensively

From the first kickoff, Munster made good progress down the field, helped along by an ill-timed penalty. Munster found their way down to the Glasgow 5m line before the Warriors’ defense shored up. Glasgow won a penalty that relieved the pressure of the Munster attack. following the subsequent lineout, Munster regained possession and drove right back to the 5m line. The Glasgow defense fought well again, but eventually, James Cronin was able to inch the ball across the line for a try.

Glasgow’s defense was strong early, but struggled to make offensive progression early in the match so they decided to stick to a game plan of tactical kicking.

Glasgow was finally able to make sufficient progress to get into the Munster 22 before Munster was able to make an amazing steal from the tackle and kick free of their end. Once Glasgow had the ball back, they drove right back to the 22. The ball went out wide and it looked as if Lee Jones would break through, but was pulled in to touch 10m from the line. For the rest of the half, both teams made great strides between the 22s but struggled past that. Nigel Owens said that, “It’s a tight, hard, good, physical game,” when discussing an altercation with both teams captains.

Both teams begin to operate under a pattern of turnover, drive to the 22, turnover, drive again. Neither team able to gain enough momentum in the opponent’s half to gain points throughout the rest of the half.

Second half a reflection of the first

Munster set up well shortly into the second half at the 5m line. Glasgow fought hard defensively and did not give up an inch. Jonny Gray played well after having to leave early in the Champions Cup quarter-final last week. He managed 18 tackles on the day and was always fighting hard in the ruck. Munster drove right to the posts and many believed a second try had been found. The TMO disagreed saying that Jack O’Donoghue did not disengage from the ruck before picking up the ball. Glasgow was saved yet again.

Finally, after 56 minutes of play with no points, Munster added to their score again, this time with a successful penalty kick by Rory Scannell.

It is another 10 minutes before Glasgow are finally able to respond as Stuart Hogg took the ball at midfield and chips over the Munster defense, recovers and takes the ball all the way in for a try. Hogg had an outstanding day with 77m made and a try. Seymour was not silent either as he had 80m, but unfortunately no tries.

Glasgow fought hard over the last 10 minutes to find the end zone again. Every time they got close Munster thwarted their attempts.  The Glasgow attack was wearing on the Munster defense. A series of penalties by Munster that resulted in discussion of a yellow card set Glasgow up 5m out. The Warriors tried repeatedly for the lineout, but eventually, Munster won possession and a penalty to clear their lines. Glasgow managed one more shot, but with only 15 seconds remaining lost the ball forward, allowing Munster to win the match.

Nigel Owens never disappoints

The most notorious referee in the world always ensures he adds a bit of humor in his matches. Saturday’s match was no exception.

There are some in the rugby community that feel that Nigel’s comments go too far. Luke Fitzpatrick said on The Independent’s show ‘Left Wing‘ that, “He shouldn’t be commentating on the game. His first focus is to make it a good spectacle, that he referees the game correctly.”

For most of us with a sense of humor, though, the comments are all in good fun and bring some levity to a very intense sport.

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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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