Erasmus happy with his grinders

In the end the margin of victory was just five points, but Munster were the dominant force at the Liberty Stadium as they made it three straight Guinness Pro14 wins.

Erasmus happy with his grinders

Guinness PRO14

OSPREYS................16

MUNSTER ..............21

After comfortable bonus-point victories over Treviso and the Cheetahs, a trip to Swansea was the first real test for Rassie Erasmus’ men. They came through it with flying colours, though it must be pointed out the Ospreys were poor. Home boss Steve Tandy hit out at his players for a lack of effort – rightly so – but that shouldn’t detract from the visiting performance.

Munster were dominant, particularly up front, where lock Jean Kleyn produced the game’s outstanding individual display as heavy rain made handling conditions difficult in the second half. Kleyn and wing Darren Sweetnam scored before the break and in a nervy second 40 minutes, it looked like Munster might throw victory away. It didn’t happen, but such errors were very much on the radar of Erasmus after the game.

He said: “We made a lot of errors, but we managed to grind out the win. We have a lot of work to do if we are going to beat Glasgow next week. It was a very scrappy game, but we played under par, particularly in the second half. I was very concerned and very nervous at that point and we made a number of individual errors. There are plenty of things for us to sort, but I’m just pleased to get the win.”

Returning Munster out-half Tyler Bleyendaal ended the game with a conversion and three penalties, but the away skipper had started the game poorly with two simple missed kicks at goal. He was successful at the third attempt – finally rewarding his team’s dominance with points – but the Ospreys promptly went up the other end to score the game’s first try.

Former Wales back James Hook danced through some poor Munster tackling and just made it to the line before Sam Davies added the conversion. That only served to wake Munster up though and Kleyn was driven over from close range after a series of powerful forward surges. Bleyendaal added the extras and then just before the break, came the game’s crucial score.

It was a fine team try from Munster. Centre Chris Farrell made the clean break and although he was stopped short, the ball was recycled back right and a long pass from Farrell’s midfield partner Jaco Taute put Sweetnam into the corner for an easy finish. The Ospreys had underwhelmed before the break – save for Hook’s individual moment of brilliance – and the hosts introduced Wales front row forwards Scott Baldwin and Nicky Smith at half-time.

It made a difference of sorts and driving rain didn’t help the flow of the contest. Davies and Bleyendaal swapped kicks, before two more penalties from the Wales out-half left just two points between the teams. Munster refused to panic and as they had done throughout, their forwards stepped up to the mark to boss the encounter. When Erasmus needed someone to stand up, Kleyn did exactly that and Bleyendaal kicked a penalty from in front of the posts to seal victory with three minutes to go.

Kleyn said: “We’ve got good leadership and we kept a lid on the panic quite well. When we realised it wasn’t all going our way, we just regrouped and worked harder on what we needed to do. We didn’t focus too much on the Ospreys. In the Pro14 you’re always happy with an away win.”

There was to be no bonus point for Munster in South Wales, but Erasmus must deep down be happy with what he’s seen so far. Next up is a trip to Glasgow on “Glasgow will be a tough opponent,” said Kleyn.

“We played them more than enough last season so we know what they’re about. It’s going to be a big clash. “They are always a competitive side and we’re going to have to put in the hard yards this week to make sure we come out on top.”

Scorers Ospreys:

Try: Hook 12 Con: S Davies 13 Pen: S Davies 44, 57, 64 M

Scorers for Munster:

Tries: Kleyn 20, Sweetnam 37 Con: Bleyendaal 21 Pen: Bleyendaal 10, 51, 77

OSPREYS:

Evans (Biggar 78); Giles, Allen (Fonotia 54), Hook, Hassler; S Davies, Habberfield; James (Smith 40), Parry (Baldwin 40), Fia (Jones 75), B Davies, Ashley (Beard 52), Lydiate (Mercer 52), Tipuric (capt), Baker

Replacement not used:

Aubrey.

MUNSTER:

Conway (Zebo 64); Sweetnam, Farrell, Taute (R Scannell 55), Wootton; Bleyendaal (capt), Williams; L O’Connor (Cronin 52), Marshall (N Scannell 52), Archer (Ryan 52), Kleyn, Holland, S O’Connor (Copeland 66), O’Donnell, O’Donoghue

Replacements not used:

Wycherley, Hart

Referee:

Stuart Berry (South Africa)

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