Ospreys 18 Munster 20: A last-gasp converted try from replacement CJ Stander saw Munster stun the Ospreys and make it two wins from two at the start of the new Guinness Pro 12 campaign.
Six penalties from fly-half Sam Davies looked to have been enough to give the hosts victory, only for Stander to burst over the line from the visitors’ final attack, with Ian Keatley adding the extras to claim the spoils.
Winger Stephen Fitzgerald had earlier scored a try on his Pro12 debut, with Tyler Bleyendaal slotting eight points with the boot.
“The boys did a great job of putting the pressure on during that final few minutes,” said Munster head coach Anthony Foley.
“Not many teams win down here so we are delighted to have got a result. Ospreys beat us home and away last season so we take great pride from this result.
“We are still early in the season but we kept going, got our reward, and a lot of the new guys showed up well which is encouraging.”
The visitors made several changes from the side that had laboured past Treviso last weekend, with the former Super 15 trio of fly-half Bleyendaal, centre Francis Saili and lock Mark Chisholm all being handed first starts.
Before hostilities commenced, there was a warm tribute to former Ospreys and All Black flanker Jerry Collins. This was the Welsh region’s first home fixture since Collins and his wife Alana were killed in a car crash in France and a minute’s silence was perfectly observed after the two sides laid wreaths next to his number six jersey.
The emotion of the occasion spurred the home side into a fast start and Davies’ first penalty gave them a 10th minute lead.
Saili quickly showcased his talents by putting the men in red on the front foot with a slashing break and offload which yielded the opportunity for Bleyendaal to level the scores. Foley’s men should have led in the 25th minute thanks to a superb piece of opportunism from scrum-half Cathal Sheridan.
The number nine spotted acres of space down the left flank and his cross-kick picked out Fitzgerald, but the winger could not get the ball down under pressure from covering hooker Sam Parry.
That near-miss sparked a period of Munster pressure, with number eight Robin Copeland rumbling to within inches of the line from a clever Bleyendaal pass, with the fly-half soon putting the visitors ahead with his second penalty. The Ospreys finished the half strongly though with former Wales U20 cap Davies kicking two penalties to give his side a 9-6 half-time lead. The lead was six points early in the second half when the visitors were pinged attempting to play from deep within their own territory.
But Munster roared back with a calmly worked try. Having turned down a shot at goal, a rolling maul sucked in a number of Ospreys defenders, leaving Fitzgerald with the simple task of dotting down when Bleyendaal’s cross-kick found the winger unopposed.
The fly-half added the extras to give the visitors a one-point lead, only for Munster to surrender it in cheap fashion. Rory Scannell and Copeland had a long kick downfield covered, but the back-rower’s decision to run the ball back rather than go for touch saw him concede a penalty for holding on to allow Davies’ reliable boot to put the Ospreys back in front.
A strong Ospreys scrum saw Davies strike again and push the lead to five points, but Munster would not be denied and, with the last play of the game, Stander ended a goal-line siege by barrelling over the line for Keatley to add the extras and snatch the win.
Scorers for Ospreys:
Pens: Davies 6.
Scorers for Munster:
Tries: Fitzgerald, Stander. Cons: Bleyendaal, Keatley. Pens: Bleyendaal 2.
Evans; Phillips (Fussell 65), Spratt, Watkin (Jenkins 59), Dirksen; Davies, Leonard; Smith (Thomas 64), Parry (Otten 36-40, 54), Arhip (Griffiths 79), Ashley (C), Thornton (Steenkamp 68), Bearman (Cracknell 50), Underhill, Baker.
Jones (C), Conway, Saili, Scannell, Fitzgerald, Bleyendaal (Keatley 65), Sheridan (Williams 37); Kilcoyne (Cronin 53), Sherry (Casey 59), Botha, Chisholm, Foley, O’Callaghan, O’Donaghue (Coghlan 72), Copeland (Stander 65).
Dudley Phillips (IRFU).
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