1. The Contrasting Game Plans
The contrasting styles employed by the Glasgow Warriors and Munster made this tussle so intriguing during the build up.
Glasgow want to play at tempo by continually moving the ball and changing the point of contact, while Munster look to attack the fringes and utilise Conor Murray’s box kicks.
Throughout the game, Glasgow attempted to add pace at every opportunity, and on a number of occasions broke through the cover but couldn’t convert the initial line break.
Conversely, Munster put Glasgow under a tremendous amount of pressure by keeping it tight and using their power runners to grind out penalties without creating too much in the wider channels.
Ultimately it was Munster’s approach that won the day.
2. Munster’s Defence
On the two occasions the Warriors got within meters of Munster’s try line, the Irish province managed to keep the Scottish side at bay with their sheer ferocity.
Indeed, just as it seemed as though Glasgow would secure the match-winning score immediately after Francis Saili had crossed for the only try of the game, Munster successfully slowed the Warriors with their intense line speed and physicality at the breakdown.
At no point following the charge down did Glasgow appear to go any more than a few feet forward, and were ultimately driven back beyond the 22.
3. Finn Russell
After seeing off Dan Carter during Glasgow’s back to back wins over Racing, much was expected of Finn Russell tonight.
However, when his moment came to strike a match-winning drop goal, Russell he chose not to do so, forcing his side into a retreat.
To compound this strategic error, Russell then kicked away possession with three minutes remaining, just after Glasgow had charged to within sight of Munster’s 22.
Russell remains a quality player, but he will have to learn to keep his cool under pressure.
4. Conor Murray
Yet another top quality performance from Conor Murray. Let’s not forget that the scrum-half was kicking into a Glasgow back three that included Tommy Seymour and Stuart Hogg.
Therefore it was imperative that his box kicks were inch perfect, so as to prevent an immediate and potentially devastating counter attack.
That he did and more, as Murray was constantly putting himself about in defence. The fact that Glasgow obviously targeted him further illustrates the scrum half’s standing and importance to Munster.
Now that Munster are safely into the quarter-finals, they can only hope that the best scrum half on the planet doesn’t pick up an injury during the Six Nations.
5. The Pro12
For the last number of seasons, the Pro12 sides struggled to compete with teams from the Premiership and Top14. However, tonight it was Racing 92 and the Leicester Tigers who were left watching on as Munster and Glasgow traded blows in full-on contest.
The intensity on display in Scotstoun contrasted massively with the attitude shown by Montpellier on Friday night, Racing last weekend and on the occasion of the Northampton Saints visit to Leinster.
Yes the Pro12 has issues with the Italian sides, but the league’s top teams are every bit as good as their more illustrious rivals. Indeed, it wouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to see Leinster or Munster challenge Saracens at the end of the season.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena
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