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Glasgow edge out Munster as Jack Crowley miss proves decisive

By PA
(Photo by Ross Parker/SNS Group via Getty Images)

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Young Munster fly half Jack Crowley missed a crucial conversion that allowed Glasgow to escape with the narrowest of wins.

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With Edinburgh losing in Dublin earlier, the result leapfrogs the Warriors over their Scottish rivals in the United Rugby Championship table with both teams in play-off places.

Realistically any chance of the game ever developing into a free-flowing spectacle had disappeared about half an hour before kick-off when the heavens opened. With two disciplined, tight defences and handling errors at regular intervals, it was bound to be a war of attrition and so it proved.

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Playing into the light wind in the first half, Glasgow had the better of most of it after edging ahead with a penalty from fly-half Duncan Weir. They struggled to make further inroads however with a scything break from Sam Johnson, dropped from the Scotland squad after playing in last week’s win over England, the highlight of a frustrating period.

It all turned in the final seconds of the half when first Munster drew level with a Ben Healy penalty after a rare period of pressure. Glasgow kicked off deep, Munster set up a routine ruck for Neil Cronin to clear their lines only for Scott Cummings, another discarded by Scotland, to stretch his 6ft 7in frame and charge the kick down.

He was first to the ball and had the height and strength to reach out and ground the ball. With Weir converting, Glasgow had the 10-3 interval lead their dominance deserved.

The second half turned out to be more of the same, though this time it was Munster, now playing into the wind, who had more of the game. They were helped by some sloppy kicking from Glasgow, who put the ball out on the full several times, scuppering their plan to play for territory.

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It looked as though they may pay the penalty when co-captain Fraser Brown used his hand to push the ball out of a ruck and was sin-binned for the cynical foul. Though they did manage to edge further ahead with Weir’s second penalty, Munster were mostly in charge and a scrum penalty gave Healy three points.

Munster were beginning to win territory, though, and even when the Scots were back up to 15 men they were able to take advantage. They set up camp on the home line until Glasgow ran out of defenders and lock Jean Kleyn went over.

Crucially, replacement fly-half Crowley missed the tricky conversion and though they had a few nervous moments, Glasgow managed to hold out to the finish.

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