Munster down Glasgow in top-of-table showdown

Munster defeated Glasgow 21-10 in their Guinness PRO14 Conference A top-of-the-table clash at a sold-out Musgrave Park to boost their play-off hopes.

A capacity crowd of 8,008 turned out to watch full-back Simon Zebo play his final game for Munster in his native Cork before his summer move to French Top 14 side Racing 92.

And they were not disappointed as Munster cut Glasgow's lead at the summit back to 12 points with a tenacious display.

Tries in either half from front rowers Niall Scannell and James Cronin, together with 11 points from the boot of fly-half Tyler Bleyendaal, guided the home side to their seventh successive win in Cork.

A capacity crowd of 8,008 turned out to watch full-back Simon Zebo play his final game for Munster in his native Cork before his summer move to French Top 14 side Racing 92.

This was just Glasgow's second defeat of the PRO14 season following their narrow loss to local rivals Edinburgh in December, and although they battled back from a 13-0 half-time deficit with scrum-half George Horne touching down, the absence of 19 players due to international commitments and injuries was keenly felt by the Scots.

Munster were forced into a late change before kick-off with young winger Calvin Nash replacing Andrew Conway.

They were backed by a strong breeze in the first half and both sides took time to adapt to the windy conditions in a stop-start opening to the game.

Johann van Graan's men opened the scoring after 10 minutes when their Kiwi fly-half Bleyendaal, making his first start for the province in four months, slotted over a penalty.

Last season's beaten PRO14 finalists then scored the first try of the game in the 24th minute when, from a penalty award inside the Glasgow 22, they opted for a kick to the corner.

After a clean lineout and well-executed maul brought them within touching distance of the try-line, hooker Scannell managed to touch down. Bleyendaal converted for a 10-0 lead.

Munster had to rely on a superb cover tackle from winger Alex Wootton to prevent Glasgow flanker Matt Smith from responding with a try on the half-hour mark.

The Warriors fell further behind as a second Bleyendaal penalty, shortly before the break, had Munster 13-0 to the good.

With the elements behind them in the second period, Glasgow came out firing and a 43rd-minute penalty from Adam Hastings was followed by a smashing try from his half-back partner Horne three minutes later.

Bagging his ninth score of the PRO14 campaign, he was was up on Lee Jones' shoulder after a terrific break from the winger.

When Hastings landed the conversion, Munster's lead was suddenly just three points at 13-10.

However, the province, no doubt stung by their disappointing defeat away to Cardiff six days earlier, showed admirable resilience to regain their grip on the game when prop Cronin beat Glasgow's cover defence to a kick ahead before touching down for 18-10.

Bleyendaal sealed a much-needed win for the Munstermen and deprived Glasgow of a losing bonus point when landing his third penalty goal on the hour mark.

Dave Rennie's charges were unable to manufacture a response at the end of a game which saw flanker Rob Harley become Glasgow's most-capped player of all-time with his 178th appearance.

- PA

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