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Sunday May 24, 2015

Munster and Glasgow book places in Guinness PRO12 final

Munster and Glasgow book places in Guinness PRO12 final
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Glasgow Warriors will play Munster in the final of the Guinness Pro12 at Kingspan Stadium in Belfast next weekend after both sides triumphed in two tantalising home semi-finals.

The Warriors struck late to beat Ulster at Scotstoun to reach their second consecutive final while Munster overcame a last minute scare to overcome the Ospreys in Limerick to secure their first final since 2011 where they beat Leinster 19-9.

Glasgow 16-14 Ulster

Despite having the crucial home advantage, Glasgow looked out of sorts for the large majority of the encounter. Ulster took the lead after 30 seconds through a Ruan Pienaar penalty but two kicks from Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg gave the home side a 6-3 lead.

The visitors had plenty chances in the opening 40 minutes and if not for desperate Glasgow defence and the occasional handling error, Ulster should have scored earlier than they did. Chris Henry’s well worked 18th minute try gave Ulster a deserved lead and increased momentum.

Glasgow’s indiscipline and inaccuracy seemed to have got the better of them and Gregor Townsend’s men looked at times, a defeated side. A further two Russell penalties sandwiched a second Pienaar kick to leave the scores standing at 11-9.

Pienaar looked to kick the final nail into the Glasgow coffin with a superb long range penalty to give Ulster a 14-9 lead with little more than 10 minutes left on the clock. But Glasgow fought back brilliantly and, after several piercing attacks, a perfectly weighted Russell pass floated into the hands of Canadian international wing DTH van der Merwe who scored the equalising try.

Russell then consummately slotted the touchline conversion under immense pressure to ultimately secure the win.

Munster 21-18 Ospreys

Having scored three tries and raced into a 21-8 lead, Munster seemed to be coasting to another League final. But Ospreys came roaring back and nearly caused one of the biggest upsets in the league’s history.

An ebb and flow first half saw neither side gain much momentum but as half-time approached it was Munster who struck first with a superbly worked try for Simon Zebo. An inside ball from half-back Ian Keatley put Number 8 CJ Stander into open space before neat hands from flanker Paddy Butler sent Zebo in for an easy finish.

From then on it seemed as though Munster would continue to flex their muscles. A further try from Denis Hurley just after half-time saw the home side extend their lead to 16-3. But a loose pass off the back of a scrum from Stander was beautifully picked up by on-coming Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb reduced the gap to eight points.

Munster responded almost immediately and scored their third try courtesy of Paddy Butler’s 49th minute score. The flanker ran a superb line and used his considerable bulk to power over the line to make it 21-8.

But such was the nature of the encounter, the Ospreys did not relent and scored a spectacular solo try from winger Jeff Hassler relit the match once more. 

With the match on a knife edge, the Ospreys thought they had scored in the 80th minute through Josh Matevesi. But after sensibly checking with his TMO, referee Nigel Owens confirmed that Webb had indeed knocked on at the beginning of the attack, thus giving Munster a dramatic win.

13 Comments

  • larry
    2:35 PM 28/05/2015

    I should say "fifth" sport. Soccer is now the "fourth" sport behind the 3 American invented sports.

    Reply
  • larry
    2:35 PM 28/05/2015

    I should say "fifth" sport. Soccer is now the "fourth" sport behind the 3 American invented sports.

    Reply
  • larry
    2:26 PM 27/05/2015

    I would agree, and I'm a Californian. I'm afraid the game of la crosse has bypassed rugby as that "fourth" sport, after American football, basketball, and baseball, in schools in particular, and the world doesn't really have to worry too much about America rising to the top in the rugby world. There aren't that many American Samoans, for one, and they tend to want to play American football anyway.

    Reply
  • larry
    2:23 PM 27/05/2015

    Glasgow got totally screwed by the referee when they were called for what, going over the top or falling down in that ruck where they blew the opposition forwards off the ball, like in the good old days before rugby league tactics were employed in this game? That was a stupid call, and it cost Glasgow three points for playing the game the way it was meant to be played by forwards! I know that this is only a piece of the match we are seeing, but in other instances the ref obviously didn't play advantage either, blowing his whistle when ball was obviously about to be won by the non-offending team.

    Reply
  • drg
    3:01 PM 26/05/2015

    I think you're right and when you put it like that, it certainly makes it seem a brilliant decision making process. I think it'll be a shame when he retires as there are very few big name referees that even come close.

    Reply
  • katman
    8:41 PM 25/05/2015

    I know all refs wear earpieces connected to battery packs and stuff strapped to their bodies, but why does Nigel Owens always look like he's been shoplifting a week's worth of groceries down his shirt?

    Reply
  • drg
    1:38 PM 25/05/2015

    But it would be seen as a bit premature though no?

    Reply
  • jockmcg
    11:21 AM 25/05/2015

    I think Nigel Owens knew himself that it was a knock on, the only question would have been whether there'd been foul play that caused the knock on. His decision to give Osprey's the benefit of the doubt and allow them too play on and score before checking the knock on was yet another example of how good a referee Nigel Owen is. If he'd stopped the game and checked at that point Osprey's would have lost all momentum and any chance of scoring. His decision meant that they got the chance to conclude the movement before he checked. Sadly as we have seen over the weekend the same skill, ability, and consistency is lacking amongst other so-called top flight referees. JP Doyle, George Clancy and Romain Poite all have serious questions to answer over their performances and decisions with Romain Poite in particular needing to explain how he got it so wrong and cost Connacht a play in next years European Cup

    Reply
  • jockmcg
    11:11 AM 25/05/2015

    As the Pro12 has started to develop they've now gone to neutral venues for the final. Agree that it is maybe a little unfair on Glasgow who topped the league and won their semi and will be the first in that position not to have home advantage in the final, but Kingspan is a great stadium that has recently be re-developed so should be a sellout crowd and a greta final

    Reply
  • 3:49 AM 25/05/2015

    Two semis two tries by canadian wings! If both were yanks everyone would be talking about them winning the next rwc

    Reply
  • 3:41 AM 25/05/2015

    If that's DTH's last try for Glasgow its a sweet one.

    Reply
  • alasdairduncan3
    10:12 PM 24/05/2015

    Ospreys should have held back for one more phase so that they couldn't go back as far as the knock on.

    Reply
  • alasdairduncan3
    10:07 PM 24/05/2015

    Why is it being played in Belfast? Surely as Glasgow were top of the table, they should have home advantage in the final.

    Reply


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