Glasgow Warriors got the necessary bonus point win over Munster to get back in the Guinness PRO12 play-off hunt but it was a close run thing in a frenzied game on the artificial pitch at Rugby Park in Kilmarnock.
Duncan Weir’s brilliant solo score and Glenn Bryce’s key counter in the second half turned the game in the Warriors’ favour after Tongan prop Sila Puafisi scored two tries in the first seven minutes in blustery winds and driving rain.
The wind meant both sides had to keep ball in hand for a thrilling spectacle, but Glasgow just deserved to edge it in the end against their spirited visitors.
For Scotland coach Vern Cotter there was great encouragement from a man of the match performance by Josh Strauss, and a classy showing by Peter Horne in midfield, as both come into contention for next week’s Six Nations match in Rome.
Two tries in the first seven minutes suggested the Warriors were going to dominate, but instead they finished the half down by three points.
Glasgow’s intent was clear from the off, with first Ali Price and then Rob Harley taking quick tap penalties to make ground for a third penalty they chose to scrum despite it being a certain three points.
The scrum wasn’t that secure but Strauss bashed forward and Puafisi reached over from close range, Weir converting.
And within two minutes Glasgow and Puafisi had another, Price and Strauss combining superbly, Peter Horne twice involved and when Strauss was held just short of the line, the Tongan tight-head just had another yard to make for the try, Weir adding two more.
But Munster came back strongly and bravely opted not to kick their own easy penalty, rewarded when Dave Kilcoyne continue the props’ try night from close range, Keatley converting.
A loose off-load from Puafisi resulted in a Munster penalty kicked by Keatley as the frenetic evening continued in the blustery conditions, but the Irishmen suddenly had the wind in their sails and a good kick chase won possession, with 12 phases later Kilcoyne crashed over for his second try, Keatley converting.
Weir missed a penalty in the swirling wind and Glasgow missed a glorious chance when they threw away a five-metre attacking lineout to let Munster off the hook.
With the swirling wind largely against them in the second half, Glasgow were back in the lead within three minutes with Weir’s glorious solo try, taking a pass from Horne, picking a gap in the Munster line and sprinting past the cover on a 35 metre run to score.
He couldn’t convert, but Glasgow gained the upper hand with Tomas O’Leary yellow carded after Strauss made another burst up the field, but the strengthening wind and rain made kicking almost impossible as the second half continued.
The conditions abated a little for Weir to kick a penalty after a thundering tackle by Naiyaravoro forced an infringement, but Glasgow botched the exit and Munster drove the lineout efficiently for replacement hooker Mike Sherry to score, Keatley landing a magnificent conversion in the wind to give his side back in the lead just as the sin-bin expired.
But powerful work in the scrum by replacement prop Zander Fagerson saw James Cronin see yellow, and a big turnover from Simone Favaro created the score for Glenn Bryce to regain the lead for the Warriors with the unconverted bonus point try.
That was enough for Glasgow to hold out with scrum dominance in the dying minutes.
Glasgow: P Murchie; T Naiyaravoro, G Bryce, P Horne, S Lamont; D Weir, A Price (G Hart 61); G Reid (J Yanuyanutawa 54), J Malcolm (C Fenton 77), S Puafisi (Z Fagerson 54); T Swinson (G Peterson 65), L Nakarawa; R Harley, C Fusaro (S Favaro 47), J Strauss (capt).
Munster: A Conway; D Sweetnam, D Johnston, R Scannell, R O’Mahony; I Keatley, T O’Leary (D Williams 67); D Kilcoyne (J Cronin 45), N Scannell (M Sherry 55), J Ryan (J Sagario 58); D Ryan, B Holland; J O’Donoghue, T O’Donnell (C Oliver 45), R Copeland (D Foley 20).
Ref: B Whitehouse (WRU)