Updated: Apr 2, 2021
The Ospreys, looking to avoid a third successive defeat, made the short trip to Ireland to face Munster in their latest Pro14 fixture. Whilst the last two matches had gone the wrong way, there were, at least, some promising signs but the Ospreys would need to cut out the silly errors if they were to get something from this game.
The Ospreys kicked off and Munster got into their work straight away and went through the phases before a clearing kick that Gareth Evans took and ran back at the Munster defence before passing to Bradley Davies who took the ball into contact. As soon as he hit the ground, he grabbed at his shoulder and winced in pain and was forced off the pitch inside two minutes with what looked like a nasty injury that could see him out for a while. Rhys Davies came on for the unfortunate Davies far early than anyone would have expected.
When play restarted, Munster won the game’s first penalty after Dan Lydiate was pinged for not rolling away. The penalty was kicked to touch but the Ospreys were able to repel the Munster attack with a turnover and Tian Thomas-Wheeler kicked long. Munster’s fullback replied with a kick of his own that was taken by Steven Myler who immediately passed to Mat Protheroe who went straight on the counter attack. He sliced open the Munster defence, drew the last man and put Luke Morgan in to score the opening try of the game in the 7th minute. For the second week in succession, the Ospreys had scored a good try and shocked the opposition and Myler converted to make it 0-7.
This seemed to sting Munster into upping their game and intensity and their try came as a result of an Ospreys error as Thomas-Wheeler kicked the ball out on the full when he was under no pressure. This gave Munster an attacking line out just outside the Ospreys 22 and they took full advantage of the gift. Firstly, they used their driving maul to gain good yards before going through several tight drives and their No8 crashed over with three Ospreys defenders on his back. 5-7 and the conversion was good, so it was 7-7 after 14 minutes.
The Ospreys kicked off for the second time and Munster again went through a couple of phases before clearing their lines into touch. At the corresponding lineout, the Ospreys were penalised for a non-straight throw and handed possession back to Munster with a scrum. The Ospreys did well to stop the first Munster wave but a fortuitous bounce of the ball fell to the Munster fullback and he raced in from the 22 to score Munster’s second try, which was also converted to make it 14-7 after 19 minutes.
The Ospreys kicked off for the third time and Munster were able to beat the chase and make a good fifty metres but turned the ball over after a knock on, giving the scrum to the Ospreys. Evans picked up the ball at the back of a hastily retreating scrum but was swamped by the Munster defenders who counter-rucked and won possession but the chance went begging when a speculative kick through went too far, resulting in a scrum to the Ospreys. Unsurprisingly, Munster went for it again at the scrum and won a penalty with a tremendous 8-man push. The posts were selected and the kick successful so after 23 minutes, Munster led 17-7.
For the fourth time, the Ospreys kicked off and won back possession after a forward pass gave them a scrum. However, possession did not last for long after Hanno Dirksen knocked the ball on. Munster kicked long and turned the Ospreys defence. Protheroe chased back and slid down on to the ball but the Munster player did not allow him to get back to his feet and instead forced a knock on. Fortunately for the Ospreys this Munster attack came to nothing after a knock on and Shaun Venter sent his box kick into touch. From the lineout, Munster set up a maul but this time, the Ospreys defence stood strong and forced a turnover, giving Protheroe another chance to counterattack. Again, he drew his man and put Morgan away into space, but he did not look for the return pass and the chance was gone. However, the Ospreys did win the next penalty after the Munster defender did not roll away and Myler slotted his kick to make it 17-10 after 33 minutes.
Munster kicked off and after an exchange of kicks, the Ospreys had a ruck just inside their 22. Venter went for the box kick but was charged down and Munster were awarded the advantage. Munster went wide but Morgan went for the intercept but was penalised for a deliberate knock on giving Munster another penalty which was kicked to touch. Munster set up another driving maul, their backs joined in and they drove their way over the line for another try. The conversion was successful, and Munster led 24-10 after 38 minutes. Morgan was shown a yellow card for his deliberate knock on. There was no further action in the final two minutes after the Ospreys kicked off for the fifth time and the half time whistle went.
Munster kicked off the second half and won a penalty after a high tackle by Evans. This was kicked to touch allowing Munster to set up a maul. However, the referee was hit in the ensuing play and had to award Munster a scrum. They then, went through several phases before their No8 scored another try, again crashing over from a metre out. This was all too easy, and the bonus point secured after just three second half minutes. The conversion was successful, and Munster now led 31-10.
For the sixth time, the Ospreys kicked off and Munster’s scrum half talked the ref into giving them another penalty allowing Munster an easy exit. Munster won another penalty that was kicked to touch, and they almost scored but the referee, despite the best efforts of the TMO to say otherwise, stuck with his original decision and decreed that the ball was held up. The Ospreys changed their entire front row at this point with Thomas, Lake and Fia on for Jones, Phillips, and Botha. From the corresponding scrum, Munster were awarded a penalty and some quick thinking saw their No8 take a quick tap, before powering his way over the line for his third and Munster’s fifth try. The conversion was good, and Munster led 38-10 after 54 minutes.
The Ospreys kicked off for the seventh time and this time Lydiate caught the ball and put the Ospreys on the front foot. The Ospreys kept up the pressure and Morgan, back from his yellow card, kicked long into the Munster 22. The kick chase was good, and the Munster defender sliced his kick into touch some 7 metres from his own line. From the lineout, the Ospreys set up a maul, Dirksen and Williams joined in and helped force Lake over the line with the ball for Ospreys second try. Unfortunately, the conversion was wide and after 65 minutes the score was 38-15.
Did Munster take their foot off the gas or did the Ospreys fight their way back into the game or was it probably a bit of both? It was all Ospreys as the final ten minutes of the game unfolded; and after a period of sustained pressure, a Munster yellow card for repeated infringements and a retreating scrum, the referee awarded the Ospreys a penalty try. With no need for a conversion, the full 7 points were added to the scoreboard to make it 38-22 after 72 minutes. The official Man of the Match was awarded to the Munster No8 for his all action display and three tries. There was no further action to speak off in the final few minutes and the final whistle blew.
Full time score Munster 38 0spreys 22.
This was in parts, a decent effort from the Ospreys but they still gave away silly penalties, conceded points from their own errors, and struggled to win dominance at the breakdown. However, Protheroe continued his blistering form and the scrum and lineout worked at times.
Next up is Benetton in the Pro14.