Munster find Ospreys a tough nut to crack
Munster 13 Ospreys 13:Last week it was the Munster players that Rob Penney took his frustration out on after their Treviso show, but this week he defended his side, while the officials and Ospreys came under fire.
“There was no lack of commitment this week and that was important. We could easily have picked up a couple of penalties and I’m sure Rog would have slotted them and we’d be in a different state.
“I don’t think it was a lack of effort. It is difficult when you have got the opposition players in your back-line when you are trying to play and the officials probably let a few things slip through there.
“So maybe, on reflection, we were not always in control, but we created opportunities, and in tight games you need the odd thing going for you and that wasn’t the case for us tonight,” said Penney, whose side now sit seven points off the play-offs in mid-table.
With the small matter of the Ireland number 10 shirt in mind, O’Gara put in one of best performances in quite some time. He settled early nerves with a fourth-minute penalty from wide on the left and he played a key role in the build-up to Declan Varley’s 45th minute try from close range. His coach praised the outhalf’s courage under fire.
“He did really well. It was really pleasing. He has had a tough couple of weeks and it shows how resilient the man is. He has still got a lot left to offer, I thought he played really well. But I was really proud of the effort and energy the guys put in. Again (we lacked) a little bit of accuracy at times, but no team is perfect. I was really proud of their efforts and the way they went about their work.
“There was a marked difference in performance today than there was in the last two weeks. I think that was evident,” he said.
The game hinged on the seven minutes after Varley’s try. Instead of building on that seven-point advantage, Munster found themselves down to 14 men after Stephen Archer’s sin-binning for a reckless tackle. And immediately Ospreys struck through Jonathan Thomas after a rolling-maul forced the leveller.
“Obviously a yellow card at that point had a massive effect. But in saying that they got into the corner and they got a try and converted it.
“They are a very good defensive side and are hard to penetrate as their defensive record would suggest. They were no different tonight; they were tenacious,” said Penney.
In the closing act, Munster trundled from deep in search of the winning score. The pack just about managed to penetrate the 22, but under pressure O’Gara failed to slot the drop goal and Munster had to settle for two points not four.