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Dublin: 13°C Wednesday 21 October 2020

Munster slip to second Thomond Park defeat after Ospreys boss breakdown

Anthony Foley’s side lost out to the in-form Welsh region in Limerick.

Paul O'Connell and Denis Hurley wrap up man of the match Rhys Webb.
Paul O'Connell and Denis Hurley wrap up man of the match Rhys Webb.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Munster 14

Ospreys 19

MUNSTER SLIPPED TO their second home defeat of the Guinness Pro12 season as the Ospreys came away with a 19-14 victory at Thomond Park.

Anthony Foley’s side were second best at the breakdown all evening, lacking urgency in their rucking as the Welsh region pilfered a generous amount of possession. Munster’s defeat means they miss out on the opportunity to move into the top four of the league.

For the Ospreys – again powered by lively scrum-half Rhys Webb – a fourth consecutive win sees them continue as the league’s form side and moves them back to the summit of the table.

A crowd officially listed at 13,547, but clearly containing less people than that, added to the sense of disappointment on a damp evening in Limerick.

Foley’s men trailed by 10-8 at the break, following a first half in which they lacked aggression, particularly around the crucial rucks. The Ospreys were able to compete and thrive in that area, stemming much of Munster’s possession at source.

That said, the opening try from Munster was a lesson in clinical play form close-range. After a five-metre line-out, the forwards and Conor Murray battered the Ospreys’ tryline, before an excellent long, flat Ian Keatley pass released van den Heever to score in the left corner.

Keatley was wide with his conversion attempt, which meant the Welsh side took the lead when Dan Biggar converted their almost-immediate reply. Clever hands from Biggar and Justin Tipuric allowed Jeff Hassler to romp in on the right. Biggar’s extras saw the Ospreys into a 7-5 advantage with 16 minutes on the clock.

Munster went close shortly after when another Keatley pass, this time of the floated variety, sent van den Heever galloping into the left-hand corner. He was halted, Munster entered the ruck from the side and the Ospreys were off the hook.

Gerhard van den Heever scores a try Van den Heever crosses to score his first-half try. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A maul infringement resulted in Munster conceding another three points in the 33rd minute, Biggar firing over the penalty from 46 metres out despite not making the cleanest of contact.

Keatley’s penalty on the stroke of half-time, awarded when Dan Baker scragged scrum-half Conor Murray at a ruck in front of the posts, saw Munster head into the interval just two points behind the visitors.

Keatley’s penalty allowed Munster into the lead early in the second-half, but that lasted for only nine minutes until Biggar replied with three points of his own, following a scrum collapse in front of the home side’s posts.

A needless penalty concession from Alun-Wyn Jones, after his side had been reduced to 14 men thanks to a yellow for Rynier Bernardo, allowed Keatley to slot a 43-metre penalty on the 57-minute mark and again Munster led.

Ian Keatley Keatley's kicking, from the tee and from hand, was something of a mixed bag. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A retreating scrum then forced van den Heever into an isolated carry and he was pinged for holding on. Biggar sent the Ospreys in front with the kick, continuing the ping-pong policy of the advantage on the scoreboard.

That ended when the Welsh international out-half nailed another penalty heading into the final 10 minutes. Munster responded by sending JJ Hanrahan in to play alongside Keatley, but the Ospreys continued to defend powerfully against the additional width.

Munster had two late, desperate surges into the Ospreys’ 22, benefiting from the ball-carrying impact of James Cronin and Jack O’Donoghue off the bench, but couldn’t come up with the crucial winning score.

Munster scorers:

Tries: G van Den Heever

Conversions: I Keatley [0 from 1]

Penalties: I Keatley [3 from 4]

Ospreys scorers:

Tries: J Hassler

Conversions: D Biggar [1 from 1]

Penalties: D Biggar [4 from 4]

MUNSTER: Johne Murphy; Andrew Conway, Ivan Dineen (JJ Hanrahan ’71), Denis Hurley (Andrew Smith ’64), Gerhard van den Heever; Ian Keatley, Conor Murray (capt.); Dave Kilcoyne (James Cronin ’60), Duncan Casey, BJ Botha (Stephen Archer ’78); Donncha O’Callaghan (Dave Foley ’55), Paul O’Connell; Paddy Butler (Donncha O’Callaghan ’76), Sean Dougall (Jack O’Donoghue ’68), CJ Stander.

Replacements not used: Kevin O’Byrne, Duncan Williams.

OSPREYS: Dan Evans; Jeff Hassler, Andrew Bishop (Hanno Dirksen ’78), Josh Matavesi, Eli Walker; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith (Duncan Jones ’58), Scott Baldwin, Dmitri Arhip (Cai Griffiths ’79); Alun Wyn Jones (capt.), Rynier Bernardo (YC ’48); Joe Bearman, Justin Tipuric (James King ’26), Dan Baker )Morgan Allen ’58).

Replacements not used: Sam Parry, Martin Roberts, Sam Davies.

Referee: Neil Hennessy [WRU].

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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