Glasgow advance to final

first_img 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 first held on home soil. Having lost their three previous last-four contests, there was an air of expectancy amongst the Warriors faithful and their side did not disappoint. On the back of eight successive wins, the Scots were confident – so confident in fact that Townsend decided he did not need his two best players, Stuart Hogg and Duncan Weir. Scotland full-back Hogg has hardly played hardly since he was sent off against Wales in March through a combination of a three-week ban and hamstring troubles. Weir’s form, meanwhile, has been erratic – but even so, dropping both was a bold move by the head coach. Munster, by contrast, had struggled to reignite their season since Toulon ended their Heineken Cup ambitions in the semis three weeks ago. The Irish visitors had taken an early lead when hooker Damien Varley crossed over 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 the injured prop Ryan Grant – then put the Warriors even further ahead with a touchdown just after the restart. Glasgow held on for a narrow 16-15 victory over Munster at Scotstoun to become the first Scottish team to book a place in the RaboDirect Pro12 final. But Rob Penney put his faith in the same side defeated 24-16 in Marseille for their trip across the Irish Sea. Most of the crowd, though, missed his team 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. The TMO had to be called in to sanction the score before Keatley added the extras. 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. Some of Mitrea’s calls were infuriating for the home crowd but substitute scrum-half Niko Matawalu soon had them cheering with a couple of daring runs to take the pressure off his creaking defence. But that was nothing compared to the roar that followed when Tommy Seymour intercepted JJ Hanrahan’s pass to drive Munster back 40 yards with a minute-and-a-half remaining. The wing was pegged back before he could finish off the Irish but it was enough to set-up Glasgow’s date with destiny in a fortnight. Press Associationlast_img read more

MSOC : Cribley’s speed aids Syracuse offense

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Rachel: rnmarcus@syr.edu Ted Cribley’s run at the start of overtime against American on Sunday perfectly describes his style of play: fast.After Syracuse forward Dan Summers dribbled the ball to the halfway line, Cribley, a junior midfielder for SU, came racing downfield.He took a pass from Summers and saw a gap — a chance to give SU the win. He sprinted past the AU players into the open field, but his shot went into the hands of Eagles’ goalkeeper Matt Makowski.Cribley didn’t score the goal, but that display and movement on the play has become typical of what the Orange has seen from him in his first season with SU.‘His best thing that he does is how he gets in behind defenders,’ fellow midfielder Mark Brode said. ‘You could play it over the top, and if he gets in a foot race with the defender, he’s going to get it.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCribley’s speed and dribbling are crucial elements in SU’s (2-2, 0-0 Big East) offensive attack this season. A junior college transfer from nearby Herkimer County Community College, Cribley joins the Orange as a junior. He brings quickness and an ability to see the open field that lead to more goal-scoring opportunities for SU.Originally from England, Cribley came stateside and spent two years at Herkimer. It was there that the midfielder stood out as arguably one of the team’s best players. SU head coach Ian McIntyre took notice, and now Cribley has started every game for the Orange so far in 2011.He’s tied for fourth in the Big East in assists with two, which accounts for nearly half of SU’s five goals scored. But he’s quick to credit his teammates for being in the right place at the right time.‘We’ve all sort of settled in,’ Cribley said. ‘We know what Mac wants us to play.’As Cribley continues to adjust to Syracuse, he and the team expect shot attempts like his chance in overtime against American to end in goals. The Orange offense has struggled to convert its scoring opportunities. Three of SU’s four wins under McIntyre have come on free kicks in overtime.The team wants that to change.Thus, expectations are high for Cribley following two standout seasons at Herkimer. To McIntyre, Cribley has one of the bigger roles on the team. That’s to be expected, especially after McIntyre called getting a player of Cribley’s caliber a ‘coup.’Cribley’s ability to both distribute the ball and run and dribble with it downfield have paid dividends not seen in the box score. He’s given McIntyre a reason to be pleased with his decision to invest in an experienced newcomer to the team.‘We feel like we have some attacking threats, and he’s one of them,’ McIntyre said. ‘And when he’s running a play, he’s a real handful.’The Orange has already matched its win total from last season with two victories just four games into the year. It’s also managed five goals in the process, which is a modest but noticeable improvement from 2010.It’s a change that can be attributed to many of the newcomers, Cribley included.And his downfield action against American last weekend proved that his play will keep the opposing defenses on their toes and the SU offense in games. In addition to his two assists, he’s also tallied six shots.Despite a save by Makowski on Sunday, Cribley knows that everything leading up to the final shot was right. It just didn’t go in.Another time, he said, it could be different.‘In those situations, you try to just get it on target at least and hope the keeper isn’t set properly,’ Cribley said. ‘Most times it will go. That time it didn’t.’But Cribley’s speed should keep providing him with opportunities to score. He constantly whizzes past his opponents and leaves them gasping for air.Brode only had to think briefly before deciding who would win a foot race between the team’s two fastest players, Cribley and freshman defender Skylar Thomas.His conclusion: Cribley would win.‘He’s a really dangerous player,’ Brode said. ‘He’s probably the fastest kid on our team. He brings a lot of speed on the outside, and he’s good with the ball. Ted’s been real important.’rnmarcus@syr.educenter_img Commentslast_img read more