IT IS a measure of the talent assembled by Glasgow coach Gregor Townsend that his side came so close to securing victory over Munster at Thomond Park last night, only to be deprived by a late penalty.
The Irish side have only five players away at the World Cup but they were forced to dig deep by a Warriors side who are battling on with 21 players away on duty at the tournament.
Townsend has had to manage his resources carefully and stand-off Rory Clegg, signed on a short-term deal for World Cup cover, looked set to be the hero when he edged the Pro12 champions in front with a neat drop goal five minutes from time.
But Munster, bidding to gain some measure of revenge for last season’s final defeat and also trying to extend a home winning run to 11 games, summoned up a winner when Ian Keatley converted a penalty from 35 metres.
It was tough on a Glasgow side who had battled away bravely throughout, holding Munster to a 13-9 interval lead when the home side enjoyed the bulk of the possession in the opening half and had an edge in the scrums.
Flanker Dave O’Callaghan got the only try after Glasgow flanker Tyrone Holmes was sin-binned, when Munster worked a good maul off a penalty to the corner.
A try from Gerhard van der Heever had earlier been ruled out after the TMO spotted a knock-on in the build-up by Mark Chisholm. The reprieve did not last long for the champions but their response to the try was good with Clegg landing two penalties.
He was key to the revival by Glasgow after the restart and they opened up an 18-13 lead when he landed three more penalties after they took control of the game, keeping the ball alive for multiple phases with 18-year-old lock Scott
Cummings again impressing along with another find, winger Junior Bulumakau. The Munster response though was good and they worked a 20-phase move for former Springbok World Cup winner BJ Botha to get over to tie the match 13 minutes from the end.
Keatley converted to push Munster back in front but it looked like their winning start to the season would end when Clegg split the posts with a drop goal. But there was time for Munster to respond and Keatley secured Munster’s third win out of three with his late penalty.