Limerick Rugby

Munster leave it late against courageous Ospreys

Munster 23, Ospreys 7
THEY march into the semi-final of this URC competition before a 14,072 attendance, but Munster will have to show more composure if they are to retain the title.

It was 17-7 to the holders at half time but it was the Welsh side who were deserving of more points on the board. They brought their A-game to Thomond Park in that first 40 minutes and the ‘top team v bottom team’ label in the qualifiers was certainly not on view. For the second week-end in succession the home dressing room must have been rattling at half time.’ The Reds needed an early score in the second half to ease the anxiety. The Ospreys had thrown away presious ploints in the opening stages, opting to go to the corner and they spoiled good possession two minutes after the restart  with a knock-on in Munster territory. The visitors had to withstand a long period of Munster mauls and drives before a knock-on followed by a penalty at a scrum  reduced the pressure. Selcom have we experienced the lack of encouragement by the home support ten minutes into the second half.

The Welsh were locked in their own half for most of the second half but to their credit their defence was heroic. On 57 minutes the Ospreys were awarded a put-in alongside their own posts, Munster turned them over, were awarded a penalty and Crowley increased the lead to 20-7. The same player was successful with another penalty on 61 minutes and the pattern of play was now fully in favour of Munster. 

Munster got off to a blistering start in this game and within one minute Simon Zebo had raced over and touched down in the right hand corner at the Ballynanty end with Jack Crowley converting. The lead lasted another two minutes, the Ospreys out-foxing the home midfield and Keelan Giles raced in unopposed with Owen Williams converting to level the game. The first scrum of the game had to be re-set twice and Munster were guilty of their first knock-on with ten minutes played. The second scrum forced a penalty to the Ospreys and already, it was clear that the Welsh side were well prepared  for this challenge.

On 17 minutes Munster struck for a second try, Niall Scannell forcing his way over after a series of penalties to the home side and once again Crowley landed the conversionto put his side 14-7 up. Crowley almost put Shane Daly in on 25 minutes with a tasty cross-field punt but the bounce just evaded him but a minute later Munster increased their lead with Jack Crowley popping over a penalty in front of the posts to extend the lead to 17-7. Munster conceded a penalty at an Ospreys scrum going into the last ten minutes but they muffed it up five metres from the home line. Munster were giving away a lot of penalties in this game four minutes from half time they were pinned in their own 22 in the final minutes of the half they lifted the siege with the pack forcing a relieving penalty.

Munster: Simon Zebo, Calvin Nash, Antoine Frisch, Seán O’Brien, Shane Daly, Jack Crowley, Craig Casey, Jeremy Loughman, Niall Scannell, Stephen Archer, RG Snyman, Tadhg Beirne (c), Peter O’Mahony, John Hodnett, Gavin Coombes
Replacements: Diarmuid Barron, John Ryan, Oli Jager, Jack O’Donoghue, Alex Kendellen, Conor Murray, Tony Butler, Mike Haley
Ospreys: Max Nagy, Luke Morgan, Owen Watkin, Keiran Williams, Keelan Giles, Owen Williams, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Nicky Smith, Dewi Lake, Tom Botha, James Ratti, Huw Sutton, Jac Morgan, Justin Tipuric (c), Morgan Morris
Replacements: Sam Parry, Gareth Thomas, Rhys Henry, Victor Sekekete, Morgan Morse, Luke Davies, Luke Scully, Harri Houston

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