RaboDirect Pro12: Glasgow edge out Munster in Scotland to make final
Last Updated: 16/05/14 11:27pm
Glasgow held on for a narrow 16-15 victory over Munster at Scotstoun to become the first Scottish team to reach the RaboDirect Pro12 final.
The Irish visitors had taken an early lead when hooker Damien Varley crossed to score but three penalties from stand-off Finn Russell had the hosts in front at half-time.
Gordon Reid - a first-half replacement for injured prop Ryan Grant - then put the Warriors even further ahead by touching down just after the restart.
But Sean Dougall's 51st-minute try and a penalty from Ian Keatley made for a nervy last half hour. Gregor Townsend's men, though, showed resilience to set up a clash with either Leinster or Ulster in the final on May 31.
Played out in front of a record 10,000-strong crowd, it was Glasgow's fourth Pro12 semi-final but the first they had staged on home soil.
Most of the crowd, though, missed Munster take the lead after 10 minutes as Glasgow centre Alex Dunbar and the Limerick side's wing Keith Earls exchanged punches off the ball.
Strangely, both men escaped punishment but their dust-up was enough to distract those watching while Varley just about grounded the ball after a strong drive by the visitors' pack.
It was not the start the hosts had been looking for but after missing his first penalty attempt, Russell nailed the next to get Glasgow off the mark.
There was a scare for the Scots when Italian referee Marius Mitrea was forced to go upstairs again on the half-hour mark after Simon Zebo crashed towards the line just as Rob Harley looked to have held him up. This time the TV judge did not see enough of the whitewash to give the try.
And with that let off, another two successful penalties from Russell ensured Glasgow nudged themselves ahead at the break.
Townsend's team came out fired up for the start of the second half and took just six minutes to extend their lead.
Munster made a mess of their own line-out and from the scrum that followed, Reid was the eventual benefactor as Glasgow remained calm with the line in sight.
Russell converted but the nine-point lead was soon trimmed back to just four as Dougall dived over for an unconverted score after the Scots had allowed Munster to work the ball from one flank to the other far too easily after a line-out.
But when Leone Nakarawa was penalised for failing to release, Keatley drove a firm kick through the posts to leave the game on a knife-edge with just 15 minutes remaining.
The home side held on though to set-up Glasgow's date with destiny in a fortnight.
RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 play-off semi-final
Ian Madigan settled a tight PRO12 semi-final in Leinster's favour with his late try handing them a 13-9 win over Ulster.
Leinster play in a fifth successive home play-off on Saturday, with rivals Ulster traveling to the RDS.
Glasgow Warriors host Munster at Scotstoun on Friday with a place in this season's RaboDirect PRO12 final up for grabs.