Crusaders come up short against Munster after final kick jeered by crowd


In a battle between the two hemisphere club champions, the Crusaders have gone down to Munster 21-19 after a missed conversion from a late try failed to level proceedings at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork.

The first Crusaders game without Scott Robertson in eight years, the Crusaders went within a whisker of a draw when lock Jamie Hannah crashed over after a lineout maul three minutes into extra time.

Young flyhalf Rivez Reihana had the chance to snatch a draw with the conversion but his attempt sailed across the face of the posts from the right sideline, much to the delight of the home crowd. Whistles and jeers were sent towards Reihana as he moved in to strike the ball.

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Both sides were missing a number of top line stars, Munster through injury and Six Nations duty, while the Crusaders opted to rest seven All Blacks including Codie Taylor, David Havili, Scott Barrett, Ethan Blackadder, Sevu Reece, Will Jordan and Joe Moody.

Former Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny made his Crusaders debut at fullback, while former All Black centre Ryan Crotty made his return to his old club.

Munster jumped out to a 14-0 lead early on the back of two tries to lock Gavin Coombes crashing over from close range, both converted by Kiwi-born flyhalf Joey Carbery.

Captain Quinten Strange was sin-binned after one too many team indiscretions when he went off feet at a ruck, leading to the possession for Coombes’ second try scored in similar fashion to his first.

The Crusaders struck just before half-time after a left-side break by Springer was finished inside by veteran Mitch Drummond. Kemara’s conversion kept the visitors within seven.

Last year’s capped All Black Dallas McLeod exploded in the final quarter with a brilliant solo run, scything through two defenders before using his strength to hold off the fullback and score with an acrobatic finish in the corner.

Reserve flyhalf Rivez Reihana slotted the sideline conversion to bring scores level at 14-all.

With 10 minutes remaining Munster hit again with their third pick-and-go try of the night through hooker Scott Buckley and Carbery nailed the extras.

The Crusaders looked dead before a final possession well into injury time saw Hannah find a try, but the crowd was successful in throwing Reihana off his final kick.

 





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