A try-scoring debut for CJ was the perfect way to prepare for Saracens, writes Trevor Murphy…
It’s been a while since I have had the time to write one of these pieces. Let’s see if I can still string my thought and sentences together... After 5 stock takes in 5 weeks there is the possibility I have lost the ability to think or type coherently :/ I had planned on going to the match in Thomond Park but work commitments put paid to that. I did however get home in time to watch it. I was a happy camper that I did. It was a complete reversal from last week’s game and a much needed win heading into a Heineken Cup weekend.
Glasgow put points on the board early by the boot of Duncan Weir but that was to be their only scoring play! A few short minutes later Tommy O’Donnell went on a storming run carving his way through the Glasgow defence. This led to a CJ Stander try when he showed quick wits and enough strength to force the ball down when a ruck formed next to the posts. I had seen CJ play for the Blue Bulls a few times and was expecting his pace to get him his first Munster try. His awareness to see the opportunity is promising.
A few minutes later the ref calls out the captains after a bit of a shamozzle :) Glasgow seem to have woken up after the handbags because they would have scored a try themselves but for some stout defending. The Glasgow player was just forced into touch as he was grounding the ball. Eventually the TMO comes back with the result we were looking for. No try! A warning shot across our bows however! Doug Howlett soon after diffuses a potentially dangerous cross kick from the Glasgow out half.
Thirty minutes in we see the power and pace of Tommy O’Donnell once again. He eviscerated the defensive line and handed off a couple of defenders on his way to a great individual try. Great pace and running lines by O’Donnell on show tonight. O’Gara extends the lead again when he slots over an easy penalty after the Glasgow prop, Cusack, was adjudged to have obstructed O’Gara after a chip into space. Soft score for Glasgow to concede but with Munster on the front foot it could well have been a 5 or 7 pointer if the chip kick had been recovered.
Shortly before half time we see the explosive talent of CJ Stander. As soon as I saw him take off I thought he was going to go a long way! He saw a gap and put the pedal to the metal. You don’t often see 80m tries scored apart from interceptions... You almost never see forwards going 80 meters for tries. This is a prime example of the pace power and acceleration CJ Stander has shown previously in South Africa. Thoroughly impressive display of pace and stamina to stay ahead of the chasing defenders. ROG added the conversion and the score stands at 24-3 at half time.
The second half needs some serious action to come close to the first forty minutes. Munster are denied a try early in the second half as Sherry just went into touch. A promising start to the second forty. Tommy O’Donnell gets helped off the field soon after. A shame if it affects his chances of playing against Saracens. Had he played the full eighty I think he would have been awarded the MOTM award. That’s saying a lot when CJ scored two tries!
Glasgow made their second attempt on our line a few minutes later. Given the strength of the Munster defence this was never going to be easy. Sure enough Glasgow are repelled and even though you can’t write them off yet, they are showing precious little to trouble the men in red. A big cheer goes up in the 61st minute as Peter Stringer makes his way into the fray. A firm favourite of the crowd anytime he makes an appearance.
As the game wound its way to the final whistle Munster were again putting significant pressure on the Glasgow line. On the third scrum reset the ref finally lost patience with the Glasgow side as the ball was kicked out of the scrum by a Glasgow boot. Penalty try for Munster. CJ Stander is a deserved man of the match award. The award itself though... leaves a lot to be deserved! Rabo can surely do better than a poxy €20 rugby ball?
Just a few thoughts to finish off:
Defence was strong on the night. I expected more out of the Warriors to be honest
We converted all but one try opportunity. Have to be happy with that
Handling was an issue at times but we expect it will get better
Glasgow had a lots of possession and the danger is that better sides will make more use of it
Onward and upwards to Thomond Park next weekend! Let’s give the Sarries a proper Thomond Park 16th man welcome. As the Slade song goes “COME ON FEEL THE NOISE”.
I’m Trevor, 39. A passionate Munster and Irish Rugby Fan. I have strong opinions on this beautiful game of ours. Stand up and fight!