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Countdown Begins In Earnest

March 25, 2010 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Countdown Begins In Earnest

The countdown to the end of the season begins in earnest this evening with the visit of a Glasgow Warriors outfit hell bent on qualifying for the knock-out stages of the Magners League.

And they arrive in Thomond Park Stadium not only with a better record to date in this competition and an early season win over Munster but with eight of the side that destroyed Ireland’s Triple Crown hopes less than a week ago.

And while Keith Earls, Tomas O’Leary, Jerry Flannery, John Hayes, Paul O’Connell and David Wallace watch from the stands, their international colleagues Ronan O’Gara and Donncha O’Callaghan will be back in action.

All the indications are that the Warriors travel more in confidence than hope and when you hear their coach lauding Munster’s consistency – which is actually inferior this season to his own side’s – then it’s time to take heed.

Tony Buckley is a late withdrawal from the Munster team with illness, coach Tony McGahan brings Frenchman Julien Brugnaut straight in as replacement and Munster will have to rediscover their best form if they’re to get anything from this game.

Last time out they accounted for Scarlets in the re-arranged game at Musgrave Park but before that they were disappointing against Dragons in Rodney Parade and tonight’s game will require a very special effort if Munster are to retain their place in the top four.

Munster: P Warwick; D Hurley, L Mafi, J de Villiers, I Dowling; R O’Gara capt, P Stringer; M Horan, D Fogarty, J Brugnaut; D O’Callaghan, M O’Driscoll; A Quinlan, N Ronan, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Varley, D Ryan, B Holland, N Williams, D Williams, T Gleeson, D Howlett.

Glasgow Warriors: B Stortoni; P Murchie, M Evans, G Morrison, DTH van der Merwe; D Parks, C Cusiter; J Welsh, D Hall, M Low; R Gray, D Turner; K Brown, J Barclay capt, J Beattie. Replacements: F Thomson, K Tkachuk, T Barker, R Vernon, M McMillan, C Gregor, H O’Hare.

Referee: James Jones (WRU).

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De Villers Try Clinches It

March 27, 2010 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

De Villers Try Clinches It

A late Jean de Villiers try converted by Ronan O’Gara who also added five penalties saw Munster see off the gritty challenge of Glasgow Warriors for a 27-19 win in Thomond Park Stadium.

After a very closely contested game, the outcome sealed by that superbly taken de Villiers try, it left Munster in second place in the League table a week ahead of their clash with leaders Leinster.

Munster dominated the early exchanges and opened the scoring with a Denis Hurley try in the 5th minute after a half break from Lifeimi Mafi and long cut-out pass from Ian Dowling.

O’Gara’s touchline conversion came back off the left upright but he was on the mark in the 20th minute although it was his pass on the Warriors 22 that was intercepted by John Barclay who ran the length of the pitch to score under the posts leaving Dan Parks with a simple tap over.

O’Gara’s 35th minute penalty sent his side into the break with a slender one point advantage but further successful strikes in the second half pushed Munster seven points clear as the game entered the final quarter and Munster in control.

Warriors had prop Kevin Tkachuk in the 63rd minute and two minutes later O’Gara landed his fifth penalty.

However Parks was on the mark in the 68th and 72nd minutes before de Villers did superbly to squeeze in at the corner and O’Gara nonchalantly stroked over the conversion.

Munster: P Warwick; Hurley, Mafi, de Villiers, Dowling; O’Gara, Stringer; Horan, Fogarty, Brugnaut, O’Callaghan, O’Driscoll, Quinlan, Ronan, Coughlan. Replacements: Howlett for Hurley (35 mins), N Williams for Quinlan (58 mins), Varley for Fogarty (61 mins), D Ryan for Brugnaut (65 mins), Holland for O’Callaghan (73 mins), D Williams for Stringer (78 mins). Not used: Gleeson.

Glasgow Warriors: Stortoni; Murchie, M Evans, Morrison, van der Merwe; Parks, Cusiter; Welsh, Hall, Low, Gray, Turner, Brown, Barclay, Beattie. Replacements: O’Hare for van der Merwe, Vernon for Beattie (both 41 mins), Thomson for Hall (53 mins), Tkachuk for Welsh, Barker for Gray (both 61 mins), Gregor for Cusiter (66 mins). Not used: McMillan.

Referee: James Jones (WRFU).

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