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Late try the difference as Munster pull off big result to return to top of Pro12 table

They edged past Ospreys in the dying minutes of play.

Dave Kilcoyne scored the try.
Dave Kilcoyne scored the try.
Image: Camerasport/Simon King/INPHO

Munster 25

Ospreys 23

By Alex Bywater

MUNSTER MOVED BACK to the top of the Guinness Pro12 table after a dramatic 25-23 success over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

Dave Kilcoyne’s late try sealed victory for Rassie Erasmus’ side, the prop finding his way to the line with just two minutes to go to level the scores at 23-23. Captain Tyler Bleyendaal then added the conversion to ensure his team edged a game in which they spent large periods on the back foot.

Tries from Hanno Dirksen and Kieron Fonotia had put the Ospreys ahead early on, with Jack O’Donoghue and Francis Saili replying for Munster. The rest of the points came from Bleyendaal and his opposite number Sam Davies, but in the end prop Kilcoyne came up trumps for the men in red.

Munster went into the break only trailing 20-18, but that didn’t tell the full story of a first half which saw the Irish side slow out of the blocks.

Home tries from Dirksen and Fonotia and two conversions and a penalty from Davies put the Ospreys 17-3 up, Munster’s only response coming from an early Bleyendaal penalty.

Francis Saili scores his sides second try Francis Saili scored Munster's second. Source: Camerasport/Simon King/INPHO

Erasmus’ men made 105 tackles in the first period to just 35 from the Ospreys but remarkably, they turned around just two points behind.

Ashley Beck saw a third try ruled out for the home side but with the Ospreys guilty of overplaying in key areas, Munster hit back. Bleyendaal’s second penalty of the day narrowed their deficit and quick tries from No 8 O’Donoghue and centre Saili put them right back in contention.

Bleyendaal had converted Saili’s score, but the start of the second period was a tight affair and it took until just before the hour mark for the first points to come. Saili had been lucky to avoid a yellow card in preventing Ashley Beck from scoring with a no-arms tackle, but Davies’ 59th minute penalty was some consolation as he extended his team’s lead from 35 metres out.

The Wales fly-half’s effort looked to have given the Ospreys victory, but Munster never went away.

Munster players take to the pitch Munster players before kick-off. Source: Camerasport/Simon King/INPHO

They dominated possession and territory late on and eventually Kilcoyne broke through.

Bleyendaal still needed to add the extras, but he did just that to seal victory for his team.

Ospreys scorers:Tries: Dirksen, Fonotia Conversions: Davies x2 Penalties: Davies x3

Munster scorers:

Tries: O’Donoghue, Saili, Kilcoyne

Conversions: Bleyendaal x2

Penalties: Bleyendaal x2

OSPREYS: Evans (Leonard 52); Giles (John 54), Fonotia, Beck, Dirksen; Davies, Habberfield (capt); Smith (James 63), Baldwin (Parry 54), Jones (Suter 58), Ashley (Ardron 66), Thornton, Cracknell (Baker 53), Underhill, King

Replacement not used: Price

MUNSTER: Keatley (Conway 46); Sweetman, Saili, Scannell, O’Mahony (Goggin 73); Bleyendaal (capt), Williams; Kilcoyne (McCabe 79), Marshall (O’Byrne 54), Ryan (Archer 75), O’Shea (Foley 46), Holland, O’Callaghan, O’Donnell (Oliver 71), O’Donoghue

Replacement not used: Griesel

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

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