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Dublin: 4 °C Sunday 16 December, 2018

Perfect start for Van Graan as Munster make light work of Ospreys in Cork

Sam Arnold, Darren Sweetnam, Chris Cloete, Jack O’Donoghue and Rory Scannell all crossed for the hosts.

Rory Scannell scored the bonus-point try.
Rory Scannell scored the bonus-point try.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Munster 36

Ospreys 10

RORY SCANNELL SCORED the bonus point try just after half-time as Munster sailed to an impressive Pro14 victory over Ospreys in Cork.

Munster return to Champions Cup action next weekend against Leicester Tigers and it was almost the perfect start for new head coach Johann van Graan.

Liam O’Connor’s serious looking leg injury was the only downside, and with James Cronin already out with a calf injury, Munster’s depth will be tested at loosehead for their back-to-back European games.

But this was a brilliant performance with Sam Arnold, Darren Sweetnam, Chris Cloete and Jack O’Donoghue cancelling out Jeff Hassler and Will Jones’ tries.

Ian Keatley scored an early penalty and Munster pushed home their advantage through the half leading 24-5 at the interval.

The turning point was a yellow card for Will Jones in the 17th minute. He was penalised for recklessly dragging Cloete to the ground by his neck.

Arnold touched down his third try of the season one minute later when he burst through a hole in the Ospreys rearguard.

Cloete was having a big say in the opening half and he gave the pass to Sweetnam for Munster’s second try, before Keatley gave the hosts a 17-0 lead.

The South African openside grabbed a deserved try in the 30th minute when he dotted down past Hassler.

Johann van Graan Source: James Crombie/INPHO

But Hassler got on the score-sheet in the final minute of the first-half.

Sam Davies missed the conversion and it was 24-5 at half-time but Munster got their bonus point three minutes into the second half.

Alex Wootton broke and sent Scannell through but in the 47th minute O’Connor’s injury dampened the enthusiasm.

Munster were still rampant and O’Donoghue evaded the Ospreys cover to add a fifth try before he saw yellow with 12 minutes left. And Jones scored his try as a result.

Munster scorers:Tries: S Arnold, D Sweetnam, C Cloete, R Scannell, J O’Donoghue
Penalties: I Keatley [1 from 1]
Conversions: I Keatley [4 from 5]

Ospreys scorers:

Tries: J Hassler, W Jones
Conversions: S Davies [0 from 2]

MUNSTER: Simon Zebo (JJ Hanrahan 40’); Darren Sweetnam, Sam Arnold, Rory Scannell, Alex Wootton; Ian Keatley (Calvin Nash 57’), James Hart (Duncan Williams 51’); Liam O’Connor (Brian Scott 48’), Rhys Marshall (Kevin O’Byrne 63’), John Ryan (Stephen Archer 74’); Jean Kleyn (Darren O’Shea 51’), Billy Holland; Jack O’Donoghue, Chris Cloete, Robin Copeland (Sean O’Connor 76’).

OSPREYS: Dan Evans; Hanno Dirksen, Kieron Fonotia, James Hook, Jeff Hassler (Joe Thomas 72’); Sam Davies (Luke Price 77’), Tom Habberfield; Gareth Thomas (Ma’afu Fia 40’), Sam Parry (Scott Baldwin 26-33 HIA & 36’), Dmitri Arhip (Rob McCusker 40’); Lloyd Ashley (Rowan Jenkins 54’ HIA), Bradley Davies; Olly Cracknell (Guy Mercer 73’), Will Jones, James King.

Replacements not used: Reuben Morgan-Williams

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU).

Attendance: 8,008.

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Daragh Small

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