Munster's unbeaten run comes to an end against Ospreys

Innishannon's Jack Crowley had a decent debut but the Reds failed to get a losing bonus-point
Munster's unbeaten run comes to an end against Ospreys

Munster's Fineen Wycherley is tackled by Rhys Webb of Ospreys. Picture: INPHO/Ashley Crowden

Ospreys 18 Munster 10 

MUNSTER'S perfect start to the season came a-cropper on Saturday evening as they were beaten by a far hungrier Ospreys side at the Swansea.com Stadium in this United Rugby Championship clash.

Munster failed to secure a losing bonus point, despite a couple of last gasp long-distance penalty efforts from Ben Healy.

The Ospreys wasted no time getting up and running, with out-half Stephen Myler kicking the first three-pointer of the game after just 90 seconds when loosehead prop Nicky Smith executed a brilliant jackal after the first carry of the game by Munster centre Dan Goggin.

Munster responded almost instantly with Jack Crowley engineering territory within the Ospreys 22 and when Munster were awarded a penalty soon after the Innishannon native slotted his first-ever score for Munster, in his first start. Crowley impressed in his time on the pitch, but ultimately his pack were no match on the night for their hosts.

Munster's Jack Crowley takes a kick. Picture: INPHO/Ashley Crowden
Munster's Jack Crowley takes a kick. Picture: INPHO/Ashley Crowden

Munster were in control early on but they didn’t get the points on the board that this domination probably deserved, with a 15th minute Niall Scannell try off an attacking maul being chalked off due to John Ryan being offside prior to the formulation of the maul.

Ospreys attacks were rare events in that first half, but they hung in there and capitalised on a poor knock-on by Munster number eight Jack O’Donoghue to win a penalty under the Munster posts in the 32nd minute, which Myler slotted, to regain the lead for the home side.

Four minutes later Myler added yet another penalty, with Munster being punished for over-exuberant celebrations after winning a scrum penalty, with the penalty being reversed and Myler took the present on offer to make it 9-3 at half time.

The Ospreys had capitalised on Munster’s mistakes in that opening half and they continued that trend at the start of the second half when another O’Donoghue knock-on led to an Ospreys scrum, which duly led to another penalty, blown against tighthead John Ryan for burrowing in, and the metronomic Myler again slotted to extend the lead out to nine.

Munster needed a moment just to stay in the tie and in the 53rd minute they got one, with a typical driving maul doing the damage from fully 25m out, with numerous backs adding their considerable heft to proceedings and the diminutive scrum-half Craig Casey ultimately being awarded with the much-needed touchdown.

Munster coach Johann van Graan emptied his bench for a full-on assault in the last quarter, but it never came, and the Ospreys kept their foot on the pedal, with another Myler penalty in the 64th minute pushing them back out to a five-point lead, and at this juncture, the hosts looked very much in the ascendancy.

Myler kept his 100% record with his sixth successful penalty in the 72nd minute and again Munster needed two scores. When the returning World Cup winner Damian de Allende turned back into Liam Coombes, who got pinned for accidental offside you sensed that it wasn’t going to be Munster’s night.

Replacement out-half Ben Healy struck a huge penalty from inside his own half in the 77th minute to try and get Munster back within a score of their hosts, but the attempt just slid away to the left from fully 60m, and within seconds a long-range drop-goal effort missed to the right, as Munster desperately attempted to find themselves a lifeline.

They had one last chance to get something out of the game when another monster Healy penalty, this time from even further out, deep in his own half, again slid agonisingly away to the left of the posts, meaning that Munster would ultimately leave Swansea pointless.

Scorers for Ospreys: Myler (6 pens).

Munster: Crowley (1 pen, 1 con), Casey (1 try).

OSPREYS: Nagy; Cuthbert, Watkin, Williams, Protheroe; Myler, Webb (capt.); Smith, Taione, Botha, B. Davies, R. Davies, Cross, Morgan, Roots.

Subs: Evans for Protheroe (46), Morris for Roots (55), Thomas for Smith (59), Henry for Botha (61), Phillips for Taione (66), Regan for Cross (68), Morgan-Williams for Webb (72), Hawkins for Williams (76).

MUNSTER: Gallagher; Conway, L. Coombes, Goggin, Daly; Crowley, Casey; Loughman, Scannell, Ryan; Kleyn, F. Wycherley; Beirne, O’Mahony (capt.), O’Donoghue.

Subs: Knox and G. Coombes for Ryan and Kleyn (52), J. Wycherley, O’Byrne, Hodnett, Murray and de Allende for Loughman, Scannell, O’Donoghue, Casey and Gallagher (59), Healy for Crowley (64).

Referee: Hollie Davidson (SRU)

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