Munster claim bonus point win against poor Ospreys

Jack O’Sullivan and Jed Holloway both made their debuts as part of the Munster pack, with the Waratahs import Holloway lining out in the second row alongside captain Billy Holland.

Munster claim bonus point win against poor Ospreys

[team1]Munster[/team1][score1]28[/score1][team2]Ospreys[/team2][score2]12[/score2][/score]

Munster made their home advantage count with a dominant second half display to claim a bonus point win against an off-colour Ospreys.

With both sides short of numbers due to proceedings in Japan - Ospreys were without the services of eight players due to World Cup obligations, with more out injured, while Munster had 12 players travel to Japan - this was a PRO14 clash that allowed players on both sides to stake their claims for starting places further down the line.

Jack O’Sullivan and Jed Holloway both made their debuts as part of the Munster pack, with the Waratahs import Holloway lining out in the second row alongside Munster captain Billy Holland.

Perhaps the cold weather and the changes in both sides played a part, but nonetheless the opening half was categorised by errors and sloppiness from both sides at Musgrave Park.

The most costly of those - from Ospreys out-half Luke Price - led to the opening score of the game, which came after an opening 15 minutes of play that was short on quality.

Price, frustrated by dropping a regulation pass in midfield, swiped wildly at the ball with the boot, giving Munster a lineout instead of a scrum.

Munster went through the phases before scrum-half Neil Cronin opened up the Ospreys defence with a smart pass-and-go before feeding Mike Haley on the wing. Haley’s deft offload back inside allowed centre Dan Goggin with space to run whose looped pass found James Cronin in support.

Cronin rode the tackle from Ospreys’ Olly Cracknell to ground for the opening score, leaving Bleyendaal to kick the extras.

It took the visitors over 30 minutes to get on the scoreboard themselves, with Price atoning in part for his earlier blunder with two first-half penalties to reduce the deficit to the minimum at the break.

Having handed the initiative back to the visitors with those two first-half penalties, Munster didn’t waste any time re-asserting themselves in the second half.

Not for the first time in the game, Bleyendaal made the most of a penalty, his kick Munster a lineout deep in Ospreys territory. After left empty-handed from similar positions in the first half, this time van Graan’s side made no mistake.

Concerted pressure brought a penalty under the posts and a yellow card for Sam Cross, with Rhys Marshal finishing off the quickly taken penalty for the second try of the night.

Price replied with another three points from the boot, but Munster were now in the ascendancy and had their third try before the 50th minute. Quick passing just outside the Ospreys 22 gave Mike Haley room to manoeuvre between the Ospreys defence for a fine try.

A high tackle on Tom Williams gave Price another opportunity for three points, reducing the gap to nine with just over 20 minutes to play, but his side again spurned a number of opportunities shortly after with more sloppy play.

If anything was keeping the Ospreys alive it was poor discipline from the home side, but Munster’s rearguard action prevented any further damage when Ospreys did decide to kick for the corner late in the game.

With the game all but beyond them, Allen Clarke rolled the dice by changing his half-back pairing, bringing the experienced James Hook in at out-half, but Munster controlled the final stages and secured the bonus point victory their second half showing deserved with a try right at the death from Arno Botha.

Munster: Mike Haley; Calvin Nash, Dan Goggin (Arnold 73), Rory Scannell, Shane Daly; Tyler Bleyendaal (Hanrahan 58), Neil Cronin (Casey 67); James Cronin (O’Connor 55), Rhys Marshall (O’Byrne 60), Stephen Archer (Loughman 67); Jed Holloway (Whycherley 49), Billy Holland (C); Jack O’Donoghue, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Sullivan (Botha 57).

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Liam O’Connor, Jeremy Loughman, Fineen Wycherley, Arno Botha, Craig Casey, JJ Hanrahan, Sammy Arnold.

Ospreys: Cai Evans; Hanno Dirksen, Scott Williams, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, Tom Williams (Klim 62); Luke Price (Hook 67), Matthew Aubrey (Morgan-Williams 67); Rhodri Jones (Thomas 60), Sam Parry (Otten 60), Tom Botha, Dan Lydiate (capt), Lloyd Ashley, Olly Cracknell, Sam Cross (Griffiths 53), Gareth Evans (Evans 60).

Replacements: Scott Otten, Gareth Thomas, Ma’afu Fia, Will Griffiths, Dan Baker, Reuben Morgan-Williams, James Hook, Lesley Klim.

Referee: Stuart Berry

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