Rob Penney praises players as Munster get the job done
Coach says side would have lost game against Ospreys if it had been played last year
Munster’s David Kilcoyne is tackled by James King of Ospreys. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Date: 2 November, 2013
Venue: Thomond Park
Munster coach Rob Penney said that this was the sort of game which his side would have lost last year and he praised the manner in which they saw off Ospreys in a disappointing game at Thomond Park on Saturday.
The quality of the game, notwithstanding international absentees on both sides, hardly reflected a top of the table encounter at the sparsely attended Limerick where 14,216 tickets were sold – including season tickets – but the actual crowd on a weather-beaten night was considerably less.
But getting the win was all that matter and with just one blip so far – away to Treviso – Munster head into the break top of the pile and never looked like losing Saturday’s clash despite a disjointed display.
“It was a bit of a mixed bag, yeah. Not a classic performance by any means but probably this time last year we would have struggled to come out on top of ones like those.
“The pleasing thing is that the group’s able to, even in difficult conditions and on a tough night when things weren’t flowing as well as everyone would like, come out with a result, which is what you’re about this time of year.
“It’s still early days but it’s nice to be in a position where hopefully we can use this as a launching pad for us over the Christmas period ands really cement that place on the table so that we put ourselves in contention later on in the year.”
Ospreys outhalf Matthew Morgan was off target with a drop goal two minutes from time but Ronan O’Mahony was adjudged to have taken the ball back over the endline and the Welsh forced a penalty which Morgan landed with the last kick of the game.
Ospreys coach Steve Tandy was relieved to leave Thomond Park with a late bonus point and, like Penney, will now take stock before embarking on the next segment of the season.
“It is good to have a losing bonus point away from home against a team like Munster and especially given the amount of young players we had out there.
“I thought the bench, the young kids who came on, did really well. We are not pleased that we lost and while we are happy to get the bonus point, we would feel that if we had a bit more accuracy we would have got four points for a win,” said Tandy.
His side remained positive in a poor game on Saturday night when two Ian Keatley penalties gave Munster an early advantage before Morgan responded for the Welsh to leave it 6-3 at the break.
Munster thought they had crossed for the opening try just before the interval but TMO Jude Quinn said that a scrum was incomplete when Munster turned it over on an Ospreys put-in and which was finished by Ivan Dineen.
“The ball can’t come out the same channel it goes into and it was probably a fair ruling,” said Penney.
However, the next intervention from the far too busy TMO went with Munster when Tito Tebaldi adjudged not to have released when he was driven over the line six minutes after restart.
Ospreys seemed set to leave pointless when JJ Hanrahan landed his only kick of the night with a penalty from 25 metres on the right 12 minutes from the end. But Ospreys were rewarded for battling to the end and Morgan salvaged the late bonus point with the final kick of a disappointing encounter between the top two.
MUNSTER: F Jones; J Murphy, C Laulala, I Dineen, R O’Mahony; I Keatley, D Williams; D Kilcoyne, D Varley, BJ Botha; Donncha O’Callaghan, D Foley; Dave O’Callaghan, S Dougall, CJ Stander. Replacements: J Ryan for Botha 40, C Sheridan for Williams 56, J Coughlan for Dougall 60, JJ Hanrahan for Keatley 64.
OSPREYS: R Fussell; A Natoga, J Spratt, A Bishop, B John; M Morgan, T Tibaldi; M Thomas, S Baldwin, J Rees; L Peers, J King; J Bearman, S Lewis, M Allen. Replacements: H Dirksen for Natoga 51, S Davies for Fussell 64, N Smith for Thomas, 67, R Hughes for King 68, T Habberfield for Tebaldi 71, D Suter for Rees 71.
Referee: Giuseppe Vivarini (FIR)
Attendance: 14, 216