Munster clinch late win
Last-gasp try sees Munster prevail at Thomond Park
By Rachel Griffiths. Last Updated: 27/03/10 1:24am
De Villiers: Last-gasp try
South African centre Jean de Villiers' late try to boost Munster to a 27-19 victory against Magners League play-off rivals Glasgow at Thomond Park.
The first half saw both sides cross over as winger Denis Hurley touched down for Munster and stand-in captain John Barclay completed a mighty breakaway effort for the visitors.
A cagey second period saw Ronan O'Gara and Dan Parks land three penalties apiece before De Villiers closed out the home triumph with just five minutes remaining.
Munster made a strong start, with Mick O'Driscoll and Donncha O'Callaghan turning over Parks in the tackle before a dinked kick from Paul Warwick almost sent O'Gara and Ian Dowling through to cross over.
O'Gara then fired a cross-field kick that DTH van der Merwe did well to defend but Glasgow managed to regain composure, helped by a powerful set-piece that saw the hosts driven off their own ball at the first scrum.
A penalty was sent wide of the posts by O'Gara, but Munster compensated soon after, finally reaping results from their territorial control when Hurley touched down in the right corner on the quarter-hour.
Centres De Villiers and Lifeimi Mafi set up the try, breaking through a couple of tackles before a long pass from Dowling allowed Hurley to power past Van der Merwe.
O'Gara bounced the touchline conversion off the left-hand post but managed to add a penalty soon after before Parks opened his account, booting a left-sided kick over from long range.
Warriors then found themselves down a man after centre Graeme Morrison was yellow-carded for obstructing Dowling as he tore after a 32nd-minute kick.
But it was Munster that were in trouble barely a minute later as an O'Gara pass on the visitors' 22 was intercepted by Barclay, who surged to the line, avoiding a desperate tackle by Mafi.
The thrilling score, converted by Parks, put Glasgow ahead, but Munster reclaimed their lead before half-time as O'Gara kicked his second successful penalty to edge the hosts to 11-10.
The Munster forwards came back with a new sense of urgency but Warriors managed to withstand the assault, and Parks put the visitors ahead once more with his second penalty of the match.
But the Scottish side then struggled to use their advantage in the scrum, allowing Munster to snatch a run of penalties to pull 20-13 clear, with O'Gara booting three in all, landing the third after Glasgow replacement Kevin Tkachuk was sent to the sin bin for a ruck offence.
Munster suffered a second-half wobble when Niall Ronan was binned for a similar infringement 13 minutes from time, and Parks narrowed the advantage to 20-19 with two further penalties.
But the weary visitors failed to expand on that score and Munster came back for an exciting finish, with De Villiers surging past Max Evans on the 22 and dotting down in the corner, resisting the challenge of Morrison and replacement Hefin O'Hare.
O'Gara's touchline conversion capped off Munster's win nicely, while denying the visitors a bonus point.
Sat 16th May
Cardiff Blues29 - 5Zebre
Connacht20 - 24Ospreys
Edinburgh23 - 36Leinster
Glasgow Warriors32 - 10Ulster
Munster50 - 27Dragons
Treviso13 - 17Scarlets
Fri 22nd May - Semi-final
Glasgow Warriors0 - 0Ulster
Sat 23rd May - Semi-final
Munster0 - 0Ospreys