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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 13 December, 2019
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Good evening and welcome to part three of today’s European triple-header and, after wins for both Ulster and Leinster on opening weekend, Munster’s opportunity to make it a perfect day for the provinces.

The odds are certainly in their favour, up against an Ospreys side still shorn of most of their Welsh internationals and who have been having a nightmare in the early rounds of the Pro14.

Kick-off is at 5.30pm. Team news is on the way.

TEAM NEWS: Here’s a reminder of how Ospreys will line out — no George North, Justin Tipuric and Alun Wyn Jones among others.

Ospreys

15. Cai Evans
14. Hanno Dirksen
13. Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler
12. Scott Williams
11. Tom Williams
10. Luke Price
9. Shaun Venter

1. Rhodri Jones
2. Scott Otten
3. Ma’afu Fia
4. Marvin Orie
5. Lloyd Ashley
6. Dan Lydiate (captain)
7. Olly Cracknell
8. Morgan Morris

Replacements:

16. Ifan Phillips
17. Nicky Smith
18. Gheorghe Gajion
19. Bradley Davies
20. Sam Cross
21. Aled Davies
22. James Hook
23. Kieran Williams

TEAM NEWS: And here’s the Munster XV, with Keith Earls making his first appearance of the season. Tyler Bleyendaal starts at 10.

Munster

15. Mike Haley
14. Andrew Conway
13. Chris Farrell
12. Rory Scannell
11. Keith Earls
10. Tyler Bleyendaal
9. Conor Murray

1. Jeremy Loughman
2. Niall Scannell
3. John Ryan
4. Jean Kleyn
5. Billy Holland
6. Peter O’Mahony (captain)
7. Tommy O’Donnell
8. CJ Stander

Replacements:

16. Kevin O’Byrne
17. James Cronin
18. Stephen Archer
19. Tadhg Beirne
20. Arno Botha
21. Alby Mathewson
22. Sammy Arnold
23. Dan Goggin

2Mins

First penalty goes Ospreys’ way as Tommy O’Donnell is pinged for not releasing on the ground just inside his own half. Luke Price kicks deep into the Munster 22.

3Mins

Ospreys bring the ball down safely but somehow, it’s Peter O’Mahony who comes out of the maul with the ball in his hands. It’s legal, and it’s a great turnover.

6Mins

Ospreys will have a chance here to kick themselves into the lead. Munster rushed up out of defence and it’s Billy Holland - I think – who went too soon and is offside.

8Mins

PENALTY! Ospreys 3-0 Munster (Price, 8′) Lovely strike from Price who sneaks it inside the right post from all of 40 yards. Ospreys lead.

10Mins

Half-chance for Munster to strike back as Conor Murray marshals Niall Scannell at the back of a maul before spreading the play out to the left. Mike Haley sends the skip pass to Earls but he’s trying to pick it up off his laces and it slips just through his fingers. Ospreys were stretched if he’d gathered that.

Flag 16Mins

PENALTY FOR MUNSTER! Ospreys 3-3 Munster (Bleyendaal, 16′)

Munster work it through the phases and win a penalty in front of the posts for an Ospreys offside. It’s straight in front of the posts, and no bother to Bleyendaal. All square.

18Mins

Rory Scannell puts a Garryowen up into the Swansea sky but Hanno Dirksen gets up and claims it. Holland is there to tackle him when he lands, and with no Ospreys reinforcements arriving, Stander gets in over the ball to force the penalty for not releasing.

Bleyendaal will go for the posts…

20Mins

PENALTY FOR MUNSTER! Ospreys 3-6 Munster (Bleyendaal, 20′)

Could have been a tricky one but Bleyendaal converts to put Munster in front.

21Mins

Super clearing kick from Earls on the turn. Just clips the edge of the line before bouncing into touch.

23Mins

Play is briefly stopped so that Ospreys’ 19-year-old centre Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler can receive treatment following a big hit from Chris Farrell. The TMO takes a look at it as well for potential foul play — Farrell drilled him and took him off his feet — but is happy that there’s no infraction.

26Mins

This one is a penalty though — Tommy O’Donnell pinged for an obvious high tackle. Nothing more than that, despite the reaction of the home crowd.

27Mins

Some stats as we approach the half-hour mark: 61 tackles made by Ospreys so far; 16 made by Munster by comparison.

28Mins

Another high tackle — this one by Jean Kleyn on Marvin Orie — and it’s another kickable Ospreys penalty, as well as a verbal warning to Peter O’Mahony as Munster captain.

29Mins

PENALTY! Ospreys 6-6 Munster (Price, 29′)

No bother. All square again.

32Mins

Twenty-six phases of attacking pressure from Munster but Ospreys hold firm as they’re pushed back inch by inch. Shaun Venter steps out of the line to try for the intercept but it comes off his arm and goes forward. Scrum Munster about seven or eight metres out.

Flag 34Mins

TRY FOR MUNSTER! Ospreys 6-13 Munster (Loughman, 34′)

Jeremy Loughman has a try on his first Champions Cup start! After taking a quick tap, Munster keep the pressure on close to the Ospreys line and Murray plays the short pass to Loughman who barrels his way over.

But it will be checked for a knock on at the breakdown. On-field decision is a try.

And there is no clear and obvious knock on there from the available camera angles so the try stands.

40Mins

Bleyendaal dinks a ball over the top for Conway to chase, and probably won’t be too disappointed to see it bounce into touch close to the Ospreys line. Munster will have the hosts pinned back for the final moments of this first half.

Back in five.

Over on BT, a lot of the half-time chatter has focused on how Ospreys made 126 tackles in that first half; the natural implication being that they must be close to banjaxed already.

41Mins

SECOND HALF: Tyler Bleyendaal gets us back underway.

43Mins

Nice hands from Farrell to set O’Donnell free and get Munster moving forward. Scannell gets in on the act as well, and Bleyendaal, as Munster keep the ball alive and Ospreys guessing but eventually it’s knocked on.

44Mins

BIG scrum from Ospreys, and their pack aren’t shy about celebrating it. There’s a bit of afters but order is quickly restored.

47Mins

Dirksen isn’t held in the tackle so gets back to his feet, as he’s entitled to, and has another go at it before he’s finally brought down by Munster. Ospreys trying to find a foothold in Munster territory before Price hangs up a high ball. Rory Scannell does well to scoop it up and then break a couple of tackles to relieve the pressure.

48Mins

Munster penalty for Ospreys playing the ball off their feet at the breakdown. Bleyendaal just finds touch, but by slim margins.

Flag 50Mins

TRY FOR MUNSTER! Ospreys 6-18 Munster (Earls, 50′)

Hats off to Tommy O’Donnell who fools everyone and sneaks back down the blindside to kickstart this move. Munster have Ospreys on the back foot, and a penalty advantage in their favour, so they spread it wide and Earls wins the foot race to dive in right in the corner.

We’ll check this one with the TMO but on-field decision is a try and it looks good at first glance…

And it is good — but only because Earls lifted his feet just as they were about to hit the whitewash and go into touch. Presence of mind, or sheer good fortune? Either way, the Munster try stands.

Bleyendaal misses the conversion on the far side.

Flag 52Mins

TRY MUNSTER! Ospreys 6-25 Munster (Conway, 52′)

Munster again, and Ospreys have a mountain to climb. Jeremy Loughman — who has looked very comfortably today — leaves jaws on the floor with a sumptuous piece of handling, and then Chris Farrell ships it on to Conway, who flicks on the afterburners and sprints clear.

Can Munster kick on and get the bonus point now? There’s plenty of time left.

59Mins

Peter O’Mahony gets up to steal an Ospreys lineout on the Munster 22.

A minute or two later, Arno Botha on to replace Tommy O’Donnell.

62Mins

There’s a break in play now while Marvin Orie is tended to for a cut over his right eye.

63Mins

Scrum goes down on this near side and James Cronin is the man getting all the plaudits from his Munster team-mates. Ma’afu Fia is singled out as the guilty part on the other side – “straight to ground”, the ref informs him.

65Mins

Ospreys turn it over and come right back at Munster, winning a penalty which Aled Davies taps and takes quickly. They’re right on the Munster 22… but then they turn it over themselves, leaving the ball exposed for Peter O’Mahony to pounce on.

66Mins

Huge momentum shift there. Munster have a lineout on the Ospreys 22. Can they get the bonus point here?

67Mins

No! They’re caught short at the breakdown and it’s Luke Price, the Ospreys out-half, who gets in over Rory Scannell and wins the turnover penalty.

69Mins

With would-be tacklers swinging off him, Tadhg Beirne does really well first to stay upright, then to get his hands free, and finally to throw an offload that keeps Munster moving forward. Alby Mathewson tries to repeat the trick a moment later but spills the ball backwards and Ospreys snaffle up possession.

71Mins

Munster pinged for not releasing and Ospreys will have an attacking lineout about five metres out from the Munster line.

72Mins

Orie wins the lineout and Kieran Williams thunders onto the ball and into the Munster 22, but again, Ospreys can’t make it count. It’s knocked on and Munster are able to clear — although not particularly well.

74Mins

Price tries a little chip over the top but Haley is there ahead of Dirksen and able to position his body to shepherd it into touch.

75Mins

Ospreys are three metres out, throwing everything at Munster…

77Mins

Super defence by Munster as the phase count ticks into double digits – and the ball’s held up over the line so we’ll have a five-metre scrum to Ospreys.

Flag 78Mins

TRY FOR OSPREYS! Ospreys 13-25 Munster (Davies, 78′)

Ospreys win a penalty, and Davies takes it quickly, diving over the line while the Munster players scramble to retreat the necessary 10. No less than they deserve.

80Mins

One last chance for Munster to claim that bonus point but the referee spots and obstruction and instead, Ospreys will have the opportunity to snatch a losing bonus in the dying minutes.

80Mins

Clock’s in the red. Ospreys inside the Munster 10m line.

Wait! Tadhg Beirne pounces on the ball, forces the turnover penalty, and Munster will have a chance to get a fourth try. They’re inside the Ospreys 22…

80Mins

Penalty advantage to Munster for an Ospreys offside and they’re going back to the corner… or are they? A moment of indecision, but yes, back to the corner. Mike Haley stitches it into the corner. We’re into the 84th minute…

Maul set…

Flag 80Mins

TRY & BONUS POINT FOR MUNSTER! 

Ospreys 13-32 Munster (Cronin, 80+5′)

Munster have their bonus point with the last play of the game. The maul takes a moment to get moving but then powers over the line and the camera man picks out James Cronin as the man with the ball in hand to touch down.

How big might that be in the final reckoning in this pool?

Bleyendaal nails a beautiful conversion to ice the cake.

And that’s it!

A grandstand finish at the Liberty Stadium and it’s Munster who come away with maximum points. It wasn’t always pretty but it’s job done for Johann van Graan, Stephen Larkham and co.

That’s all we’ve got time for for now, but stay with us for more reaction and analysis from all of today’s games. Thanks for reading.

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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