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Munster fall to first defeat of season against Ospreys

MUNSTER slipped to their first defeat of the season as they were battered into submission by a powerful Ospreys side in Swansea.

he Ospreys were full value for the win as Johann van Graan’s side were taken to the cleaners in the scrum, while they got outmuscled around the park. Despite unloading a strong bench which included South African World Cup winner Damian de Allende and Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray a number of unforced errors undermined their chances. And they were punished by the boot of experienced outside-half Stephen Myler who kicked all 18 of his sides points.

Due to the Welsh Rugby Union’s insistence of scheduling at least one test match outside of World Rugby’s designated international window each autumn, the Ospreys were without their Wales contingent.

Munster on the other hand had the majority of their Ireland internationals playing with Johann van Graan having made eight changes from the side which scraped home against Connacht last weekend. Out-half Jack Crowley made his first Munster start as Matt Gallagher, Liam Coombes, Dan Goggin, and Shane Daly came into the backline. Jeremy Loughman, Fineen Wicherley, and Jack O’Donoghue came in to strengthen the pack while Tadhg Beirne and Peter O’Mahony also starting.

Ireland scrum-half Conor Murray started on the replacements bench along with South African World Cup winning centre Damian De Allende. The

Munster made a poor start getting penalised for holding on at the breakdown which allowed Stephen Myler to open the scoring with the simplest of penalties. But Munster hit back immediately with Jack Crowley knocking over three points on his first start for the Irish province.

Munster looked to be the stronger of the two sides and were more efficient in the contact area, but unlike the Scarlets a fortnight ago they found the Ospreys defence a tougher nut to crack. The visitors had a driving lineout try disallowed with tighthead prop John Ryan caught offside.

Munster’s pack enjoyed more territory and possession in the opening half, but the Ospreys harassed them into making errors, with young openside flanker Jac Morgan their standout player. Morgan’s charge into the towards the Munster try line forced the visitors to cynically kill the ball at the breakdown which resulted in Myler kicking the hosts into the lead.

The Ospreys scrum began to win the upper hand and they forced Munster to fold and concede a penalty which Myler kicked from 45 metres out on an angle. Such was the Ospreys’ scrum dominance one of their more vocal supporters shouted out “take a bow Duncan Jones” in recognition of the former Wales props work as forwards coach is having a profound effect on his pack.

One player who did real damage to the Munster scrum was loosehead prop Nicky Smith who had a point to prove after being a shock omission from Wayne Pivac’s Wales squad for the upcoming autumn internationals. After a promising start to the game Munster turned around 9-3 behind on the scoreboard.

Munster made a sloppy start to the second-half conceding a penalty for a high tackle and spilling the ball twice within the first five minutes. And they conceded another penalty at the scrum which allowed Myler to make it a two score game with another successful kick from 45 metres out.

The Ospreys had the bit between their teeth and were pushing for their first try but Ireland loose-forward Tadhg Beirne denied them with an excellent turnover. And Munster hit back with a powerful driving lineout, which included 13 of their players, with scrum-half Craig Casey claiming the try. Crowley added the extras to make it a two point game. Munster introduced the likes of De Allende and Murray to proceedings but the Ospreys pack refused to lie down and proceeded to lay siege to the visiting try line which resulted in Myler kicking a further three points. Another powerful surge from mightily impressive Ospreys openside Morgan allowed Myler to seal the win with further points.

Ospreys: M Nagy; A Cuthbert, O Watkin, K Williams (J Hawkins 74), M Protheroe (D Evans 46); S Myler, R Webb (R Morgan Williams 79); N Smith (G Thomas 61), E Taione (I Phillips 66), T Botha (R Henry 61), B Davies, R Davies, S Cross (J Regan 68), J Morgan, E Roots (M Morris 56).

Munster: M Gallagher (D de Allende 59); A Conway, L Coombes, D Goggin, S Daly; J Crowley (B Healey 65), C Casey (C Murray 59); J Loughman, N Scannell (K O’Byrne 56), J Ryan (K Knox 53), J Kleyn (G Coombes 53), F Wycherley (J Wycherley 74), T Beirne, P O’Mahony, J O’Donoghue (J Hodnett 59).

Referee: Hollie Davidson (SRU)

Attendance: 5,678

Star man: Jac Morgan (Ospreys)

SCORERS

Ospreys

Penalties: S Myler 2, 32, 37, 46, 64, 72

Munster

Tries: C Casey 55

Conversions: J Crowley 56

Penalties: J Crowley 6

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