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Six-try blitz sees Warriors regain top spot

Guinness PRO12 Editor 29 Mar 2013

Fly-half Ruaridh Jackson racked up 22 points to guide Glasgow Warriors to a thumping 51-24 RaboDirect PRO12 victory over Munster which moved the Scots back to the top of the table.

Jackson and co put last weekend’s defeat to Leinster behind them with a comfortable win in which Sean Maitland, Niko Matawalu, Jackson, Mark Bennett, Stuart Hogg and John Barclay all scored.

Munster impressed in the first half, largely through Tommy O’Donnell and Paul O’Connell but they were overwhelmed in the second half as the Warriors chalked up an eighth RaboDirect PRO12 win in nine matches.

Glasgow set the tone for this pulsating encounter with the first try of the match inside the first minute – Maitland intercepting and scorching away from the Munster chasers to put his side in front.

Jackson added the extras but on ten minutes Munster found themselves level when Casey Laulala hit back with his second try of the season before Ronan O’Gara converted.

Buoyed by his early try, Scotland international Maitland made yards again for the Warriors as both sides carried the fight to each other at Scotstoun.

Munster’s urgency at the breakdown, with O’Donnell and O’Connell at the fore, had the Warriors on the back foot and their second try of the match arrived on 26 minutes from prop Dave Kilcoyne after a couple of quick phases.

O’Gara again converted to hand Munster a 14-7 lead but slack passing again came back to haunt the visitors.

And just two minutes later the Warriors found themselves level when Matawalu intercepted to score under the posts – Jackson adding the two points.

That stirred the Warriors into life and a big boot downfield by Hogg saw the Warriors pin Munster back and the hosts were able to force the penalty, allowing Jackson to kick his side into the lead.

And the Warriors were able to stretch their lead to 20-14 at the break when the Warriors won another penalty before the break following a powerful scrum with Jackson on target again.

Matawalu made the first incisive break of the second half and he fed Maitland on the right on 47 minutes but Munster scrum-half Duncan Williams scrambled back to gather the Kiwi-born flyer’s kick ahead.

But soon after O’Gara trimmed the gap to just three when Munster won a penalty and again it came through O’Donnell, whose tackle on Hogg saw referee Leighton Hodges rule in the visitors’ favour.

But on 56 minutes, the Warriors made their pressure count after a fine try that came about through Barclay’s break.

Munster’s desperate defence temporarily kept the hosts out but wave after wave of attack came and it was Jackson who dummied left and cruised over before adding the conversion for a 27-17 lead.

Jackson put clear daylight between the two sides with a penalty on 65 minutes after Munster infringed at the scrum and the Warriors then went in pursuit of the try that would give them the bonus point.

DTH van der Merwe very nearly provided it after a scything break down the left but Doug Howlett made the last-ditch tackle, but on 69 minutes the Warriors had the score they wanted when replacement centre Mark Bennett forced his way over with his first touch of the ball.

Jackson converted and Hogg scored one of his trademark blistering tries from deep with seven minutes left on the clock and Duncan Weir notched the difficult conversion to rub salt into the Munster wounds.

After a clever break from Felix Jones, Howlett finished off a smart late try for Munster, converted by replacement Ian Keatley, but Barclay scored the Warriors’ third intercepted try of the night at the death, converted by Weir to take the Warriors above 50 points.