Munster head coach Johann Van Graan stressed the importance of his side’s last-minute try as it secured the province a 32-15 bonus-point win over Ospreys.
With reigning European champions Saracens and French giants Racing 92 also in their pool, Van Graan appreciates the importance of getting their European campaign off to a winning start.
“That last try could be vital,” said Van Graan.
“It doesn’t matter when you score as long as you get four. The last two years we started the Champions Cup with draws away from home so we were happy to get the win tonight.
“A lot of people didn’t give them a chance but I knew all week it would be tough and I have a lot of respect for Allen Clarke.
“But we gave away too many high shots and we will have to improve our discipline next week. We exploited some areas of space which was pleasing and we created some nice set play.
😀😀😀😀😀😀— Munster Rugby (@Munsterrugby) November 16, 2019
“Most games in the world of rugby are won in the second half. It was a titanic battle and we are grateful to have won.”
Tries from Jeremy Loughman, Keith Earls, Andrew Conway and James Cronin, along with 12 points from the boot of Tyler Bleyendaal, were enough to get Munster over the line. All Ospreys could muster was a late try from Aled Davies, with Luke Price and James Hook kicking eight points between them.
After a tight opening quarter Loughman grabbed the game’s opening try as he powered his way over from short range. Bleyendaal converted to give the visitors a 13-6 lead at half-time.
Earls pushed Munster further ahead with a try at the corner before Conway ran in unopposed from 55 metres out. Davies grabbed a late consolation try for the hosts as Munster were caught napping when he took a quickly tapped penalty.
Former British and Irish Lions utility back Hook converted but Munster finished the game by laying siege to the Ospreys’ line.
The province were awarded a penalty and went for the corner. In what was the last play of the match Cronin powered his way over the line off the back of a driving lineout to secure all five points for the visitors.
“When the draw came out and we got Munster at home we envisioned we’d have our strongest team out on the park,” said Ospreys head coach Clarke.
“If we had everybody available to us I would have fancied us. We showed a lot of tenacity and fight in every aspect of the game against a side who really challenged us.
Find you a prop that thinks he's a fly-half 🙌@Munsterrugby's Jeremy Loughman with a magical left-handed pass as Andrew Conway is unleashed down the wing!
“All credit to Munster but for us the scoreline probably did us a disservice in terms of the effort.
“If you don’t have effort you don’t have anything. We have effort and we’ve had it every week.
“What we’ve got to improve is our quality, our accuracy and execution.”