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Dublin: 11°C Saturday 8 May 2021

The penalty count killed Munster as Ospreys' first half blitz does the damage

Anthony Foley’s men were their own worst enemy in the opening 40.

Dan Baker slides over for the game's opening try.
Dan Baker slides over for the game's opening try.
Image: Ashley Crowden/INPHO

Ospreys 26 Munster 12

A DISMAL FIRST half display from Munster ultimately proved too much to overcome as they went down 26-12 to an efficient Ospreys side at the Liberty Stadium.

The Ospreys were squeaky clean in the opening period, not conceding a single penalty, while the visitors were pinged eight times en route to a 17-0 deficit at the break.

Ospreys struck first, with Sam Davies converting a penalty after a strong spell of possession in the Munster 22 in the first five minutes.

Munster showed some promise in attack thereafter, with centres Denis Hurley and Keith Earls making nice gains. However, the visitors couldn’t penetrate the Ospreys defence during that time and when the home side went on the attack again, Dave O’Callaghan came in from the side, which allowed Davies to increase his team’s lead.

From the resulting kick-off, Munster forced a lineout in the Ospreys 22 as tenacious tackling saw wing Hanno Dirksen bundled into touch.

A strong charge from Dave Kilcoyne then brought Munster to within five metres of the line but once again the Ospreys kept them out.

The visitors’ indiscipline prevented them from putting the Ospreys under any sustained pressure though, and O’Callaghan was sent to the bin ten minutes before half time after a high tackle.

Davies kicked to the corner rather than go for the posts and it paid off, with the out-half looping a pass over the Munster defence to the unmarked Dan Baker, who dove over in the corner.

Munster struggled with 14 men, conceding a further three penalties, and Davies gave his side a 14-point buffer when he nailed another kick with three minutes left in the half.

The home side weren’t done yet and after the marauding Justin Tipuric popped up on Josh Matavesi’s shoulder and sprinted 30 yards into Munster territory, Davies dropped a goal a few phases later to bring his personal haul for the half to 12 points.

Munster briefly threatened a resurgence in the second half but their pack’s rampaging maul was stopped yards short of the line and Ospreys won the turnover.

After that, handling errors crept in as the visitors looked to play from deep to start their comeback, with Ian Keatley and Felix Jones two of the offenders.

Donnacha Ryan came on for his first game in 11 months with 20 minutes to go, but even his presence couldn’t stop Davies from making it a 20-point game with another successful kick.

Ryan scored Munster’s first try with ten minutes to go after he dotted down at the back of a maul but Davies responded with another penalty after his front row won a decision at the scrum.

Keith Earls responded by finishing off a nice move in the corner but fittingly Davies had the final say, as he tacked on three more points in the final minute to complete the job.

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