Munster closed the gap on Guinness Pro14 Conference A leaders Glasgow Warriors to twelve points when accounting for the Scottish side on a 21-10 score line at Irish Independent Park in Simon Zebo’s last home game in his native Cork.
The home side took ten minutes to break the deadlock with Munster awarded a penalty inside the 22m line. Tyler Bleyendaal opted to go for the corner and a line out instead of kicking for the posts. A second immediate penalty followed for the home side with Bleyendaal deciding this time to put some points on the score board with a successful penalty kick from right in front of the posts.
In a tight game early on, a Munster drive saw hooker Niall Scannell go over for the opening try of the game in the 25th minute. An uncertain Italian referee Marius Mitrea went to his TMO for assistance before awarding the five-pointer. New Zealander Bleyendaal judged the wind to perfection to score the conversion, kicking the ball to the right of the posts allowing the strong wind coax the ball back in and over the crossbar for a 10-0 lead.
Bleyendaal extended Munster’s lead with a second successful penalty kick five minutes before the break, this time from a central position just outside the Glasgow 10m line, to push his side into a 13-0 half time lead.
Adam Hasting’s penalty kick minutes after the restart began the Glasgow fightback. A try from George Horne, successfully converted by Hastings saw the visitors just three points adrift of the hosts at 13-10.
James Cronin immediately hit back with a try in the 49th minute, a score that would ultimately settle the contest. Good work at the ruck from Rhys Marshall, who had replaced the injured Niall Scannell on 43 minutes, saw Cronin burst for the line to touch down. Though Bleyendaal missed the conversion attempt which followed Munster were now 18-10 ahead.
Calvin Nash thought he had Munster’s third try of the night when he touched down on the right hand side, only for consultation with the TMO to confirm that the late replacement for Andrew Conway had a foot in touch.
A final penalty from fly half Bleyendaal in the 62nd minute denied the Scottish outfit a losing bonus point.
Munster may have paid a heavy price for their Guinness Pro14 Round 16 victory, however, losing both Niall Scannell and Chris Cloete (replaced by Jack O’Donoghue) in the course of the game.
Final score: Munster Rugby 21 Glasgow Warriors 10.