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G12 Game 10) Glasgow v Munster. Scotstoun. SKYSPORTS 2. Sat 20/12/14. 14.40ko


  • G12 Game 10) Glasgow v Munster. Scotstoun. SKYSPORTS 2. Sat 20/12/14. 14.40ko

    Escaped from France with a losing bonus point as Keats sailed the crucial penalty over the bar, and that LBP might prove to be invaluable to us in weeks to come. Funnily enough its a single losing bonus point is all that separates us from Glasgow in the G12 table as it stands. We’ve won the same amount of games, however Munsters’ defence is marginally more stingy and thats why we sit top of the table for now. We’ve plenty recent meeting with Glasgow in the this league, none more painful than the semi final knockout we lost to them 16-15 last May. Said goodbye to Penney, Laulala, Downey and Chucken that night. Positivity has been scant since Clermont broke our hearts in Limerick, here is hoping for a major upturn in our form and concentration.

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    Our Form.

    Under scrutiny, playing in fits and starts during games but not anywhere near a complete 80mins from the team yet this season. We go to sleep and get severely punished as Clermont ably highlighted. The loss in Limerick has hit a nerve with some folk, and the losing bonus saved our bacon on the away leg but the team themselves would be the first to admit they are unhappy with how and where we are playing our rugby right now.

    We started the last game quite well, great defensive linespeed and great groundwork from TOD and POM, however as the game wore on Clermont began to assert their authority and we began to panic a small bit. Unusually for a recent Munster team there is a bit of composure goes AWOL when the pressure is applied - first try in TP for Clermont, or Nakataiki’s try in France showed that we can be put at disarray if you up the tempo and territory rapidly.

    November was a great month, Munster, the A’s and Ireland went the whole month unbeaten and there was a feel good aura around the province based on that, sad to report though that in December Munster and the A Team have played four times and we’ve lost three of them, that has to be addressed immediately. The senior’s had won 7 on the bounce before Clermont, so the ability is there, looking at the aggregate statistics we scored an average of 2.5 tries per game in the league last season and as of right now its 2.44 per game this season. Similarly in defence it was conceding an avg. of 1.2 tries per game whereas after 9 rounds this season its 1 per game. So we are still scoring tries and our defence is solid. Joyously we also sit in a respectable 7th on the fair play league this season, meaning we don't get as stretched so often as to give away a card instead of a try.

    Its the manner of our positioning that is under most scrutiny though, we have played a lot of pragmatic and route 1 rugby thus far, and against everyone bar the Ospreys and Clermont it has been working, we’ve been ugly and predictable, but winning. For us to remain winning we must begin to vary the points of attack, use the speedsters available and generally become less one dimensional, its eminently doable given the calibre of players in the squad even now, injuries aside we can be exciting and inventive. Whats troubling us though, is that we need to get on the front foot to establish some spark and creativity, and Clermont showed that if you keep us on the back foot we cant dance our way loose and down the field, Glasgow showed exactly the same thing in the semifinal last May too.

    In the last 6 games we have scored 10 tries, we know our way to the tryline, what Munster should be looking to expand is the escape plays, the territory available to Keats and JJ from their boot and sending Hurley on a crash ball at 10 instead of 12, we have the pack to compete with almost anyone we will meet for the remainder of the season (as long as we avoid going to Tyretown or Toulon), we have great halfbacks, and we have a rake of lads waiting in the wings, our season is still in our control in both competitions. We haven't lost on the road since March in this thing. We need to cut out the sloppy errors and create a bit more outside of 1 outs and round the corners. The foundations are there to build upon.

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    Their Form.

    A team that deserves huge admiration and respect, for they are a team in the truest sense compared to the money made offerings that are so en vogue these days. Gregor Townsend was a steely and hard nosed scotsman and this Warriors side is no different, they are 12W-0L in Scotstoun at the moment, beaten finalists last year and beaten semi finalists the year before both times at the hands of Leinster. Their form is akin to ours in recent times, 3 wins and 3 losses in their last 6 but only 4 tries scored in those six games. Toulouse did the double on them in the back to back in the RCC. They have some real quality in the side, Jonny Gray, Euan Murray, Dougie Hall, Mental Ginger Rob Harley, Sean Maitland, Ali Cellblock to name but a few, however Josh Strauss epitomized the hard nosed edge that Glasgow have instilled in recent years.

    They can swarm over the ball after the tackle and appear to achieve a rake of turnover penalties in most games, what Glasgow do at the breakdown is their trump card, they slow down opposition quick ball superbly, they snaffle loose play by stealing ball in the opposition half and then they give it to Duncan Weir or Finn Russell or Peter Horne to slot the points over the bar. They have a great pressing rush defense which they utilize to put the opposition on the back foot and they play more open when it is on, using big bruisers like Sean Lamont, or speedsters like Maitland and Hogg. They have ball players in Nakawara and Matawalu who can bring a bit of invention and variety when they want to, the whole side have pretty good handling and use an inside scissors to keep things extremely direct, when Glasgow are on the front foot its high tempo and right up the guts, sniping round the fringes, forcing penalties to be conceded or yardage. They batter you into submission.

    If Munster can keep the ball alive a bit more than they have done so already this month they can make hay, Toulouse made gains by running straight at soft shoulders, Glasgow will kill a half chance rather than concede a try, their rush defense has been their undoing more than once this season, leaving room for dinks in behind or between front line and the full back.

    They’ve beaten us 3 out of the last 4 games we’ve played, this will be a tough tough game in their ground.

    Things to watch out for

    Munster showing no hangover from the Clermont results, they hurt no doubt, but this weekends opposition will provide a similar gameplan and mindset to shutting us down.

    Quicker and more precise presentation to Conor Murray, this is a double whammy, firstly it’ll mean we are keeping Strauss, Fusaro, Harley etc out of the game and second it’ll mean that JJ or Keats will be given time to move us around their rush defense

    Composure composure composure, been lacking at key moments and crippling us on the scoreboard.

    Use of both lineout maul and also a few offloads out of contact, variation needent be hugely experimental or revolutionary.

    Quotable and notable

    Last time we beat Glasgow this piece of wizadry occurred:

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