Munster edge Crusaders in URC versus Super Rugby battle
REPORT: Munster managed to hold on for a nailbiting 21-19 win over the Crusaders to win the Clash of Champions in Cork on Saturday.
It was an entertaining encounter between the URC champions and the Super Rugby champs which produced an exciting finish.
Former Munster coach Rob Penney saw his Crusaders side almost snatch a draw when they crossed for a try with the clock two minutes in the red but they were unable to add the conversion.
The scene was set when the Crusaders performed the first Haka at Páirc Uí Chaoimh ahead of kick-off.
— Crusaders (@crusadersrugby) February 3, 2024
Munster led 14-7 at the end of an opening half where they were on top for long periods.
They hit the front after a good bout of possession when Gavin Coombes got in for his first try after 15 minutes after Shane Daly was stopped short.
Joey Carbery added the extras from the left wing to make it 7-0.
Daly was denied a try four minutes later when three Crusaders managed to get back to prevent him from grounding the ball after another good build-up.
But the pressure paid off six minutes from the break when Munster went to the corner with a penalty. Hooker Eoghan Clarke was stopped short but from the recycle Coombes got over for his second try.
Carbery again converted for 14-0.
But Crusaders hit back before the interval with scrum-half Mitch Drummond scoring after being set up by Macca Springer and Dallas McLeod. Taha Kemera converted to leave it 14-7 at the break.
Crusaders got back on level terms after 66 minutes when McLeod got in for a try which Rivez Reihana converted to make it 14-14.
But Munster hit the front ten minutes from time when they were again rewarded for going to the corner and a few phases later Scott Buckley squeezed over and Carbery converted to lead 21-14.
Crusaders finished strongly but while Jamie Hannah got in for their third try, the conversion from Rivez Reihana drifted across goal and Munster held on to back up their win last season over South Africa A with another win at Cork.
The fixture forms park of Crusaders’ pre-season tour which sees them take on Bristol Bears on Friday at the Ashton Gate.
Munster: Shane Daly; Seán O’Brien, Antoine Frisch, Alex Nankivell, Shay McCarthy; Joey Carbery, Ethan Coughlan; Josh Wycherley, Eoghan Clarke, Stephen Archer; Gavin Coombes, Fineen Wycherley; Ruadhán Quinn, Alex Kendellen (Captain), Jack O’Sullivan.
Replacements: Colm Hogan, Rory Scannell, Tony Butler, Neil Cronin, Mark Donnelly, Scott Buckley, John Ryan, Kamil Nowak, Jack Daly, Daniel Okeke.
Crusaders: George Bower, George Bell, Owen Franks, Quinten Strange (Captain), Tahlor Cahill, Dominic Gardiner, Tom Christie, Cullen Grace, Mitchell Drummond, Taha Kemara, Macca Springer, Dallas McLeod, Levi Aumua, Chay Fihaki, Leigh Halfpenny.
Replacements: Ioane Moananu, Kershawl Sykes-Martin, Seb Calder, Jamie Hannah, Christen Lio-Willie, Noah Hotham, Rivez Reihana, Ryan Crotty, Josh Southall, Heremaia Murray.