Glasgow Warriors 37 Munster 10: Warriors make a statement by thrashing rivals Munster

© SNSLeo Sarto runs in to score Glasgow's early try against Munster at Scotstoun.
Leo Sarto runs in to score Glasgow's early try against Munster at Scotstoun.

Glasgow laid down a marker for the Guinness PRO14 with a bonus point victory over their chief rivals Munster in a compelling all-round display at Scotstoun.

The clash of the two unbeaten teams in Conference A saw the Warriors finally hit their straps for their fourth successive victory, and they had the bonus wrapped up with 15 minutes remaining, scoring a couple of glorious tries from brilliant running rugby.

Finn Russell underpinned it with his control and 17 points with no misses from seven kicks, but there was an outstanding display again from Kiwi flanker Callum Gibbins and a superb cameo from Leonardo Sarto, who scored one try and set up another.

Having lost four times to the Irish province last year, the commanding win was some measure of revenge for the Warriors, who are already in a position of strength for the play-offs less than a month into the new season.

It took only five minutes for the Warriors to get off the mark, from Sarto, who wasn;t even in the starting team.

The Italian wing’s first touch after replacing HIA victim Rory Hughes was to take a flat pass from Peter Horne, step outside Darren Sweetnam and cruise almost effortlessly to the line from 30 metres, Russell converting.

The Scotland stand-off landed a penalty but Munster were up for a scrap – literally at times – and conjured a good try worked down the right touchline between Sweetnam and scorer Rory Scannell.

That went unconverted and Tyler Beyendaal also missed an easy penalty before Glasgow snatched control just before the break.

Russell booted a penalty after another Sarto breakout and straight from the kick-off the Warriors ran from deep, quick hands released Gibbins on a gallop down the right touchline and Lee Jones was inside in support to score.

Russell converted and left with a bloody nose, but was back for the second half and Glasgow’s constant pressure produced a yellow card for Munster lock Billy Holland.

Glasgow quickly capitalised with a Nick Grigg try after Horne’s huge miss pass, Russell converting for a 27-5 lead, but as they tried to open out again a loose pass from George Turner gifted Chris Farrell an intercept  try for Munster, which again went unconverted.

Russell kicked another penalty as Munster infringed under retreat, and Glasgow got a deserved bonus after a spell of relentless attack, Sarto swatting off defenders and finding lock Scott Cummings in support for the try under the sticks.

Munster’s frustration finally overboiled with replacement Wycherley leading with a shoulder to Swinson’s head and seeing a red card from Nigel Owens.

Att: 7300

Glasgow Warriors: R Jackson, L Jones, N Grigg, P Horne, R Hughes, F Russell, A Price, J Bhatti, G Turner, Z Fagerson, T Swinson, S Cummings, R Wilson, C Gibbins, A Ashe.
Replacements: P MacArthur for Turner 57, A Allan for Bhatti 57, D Rae for Fagerson 57, B Alainu’uese for Cummings 67, R Harley for Ashe 57, H Pyrgos for Price 67, S Johnson for Horne 75, L Sarto for Hughes 3.

Munster: A Conway, D Sweetnam, C Farrell, R Scannell, A Wootton, T Bleyendaal, D Williams; L O’Connor, R Marshall, S Archer; J Kleyn, B Holland; S O’Connor, T O’Donnell, J O’Donoghue.
Replacements: N Scannell for Marshall 55, J Cronin for L O’Connor 51, J Ryan for Archer 65, F Wycherley for O’Donoghue 39, R Copeland for S O’Connor 18, J Hart for Williams 49, J Taute for Beyendaal 49, S Zebo for Sweetnam 47.

Ref: Nigel Owens (WRU)