Munster get down and dirty to maintain winning start
Forwards secure victory against the Ospreys as Munster make it three from three
Justin Tipuric, Lloyd Ashley and Bradley Davies in action for the Ospreys against Munster. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Ospreys 16 Munster 21
Munster’s forwards stood up to be counted as they helped deliver a third straight Guinness Pro14 victory with this 21-16 win over the Ospreys. Tries from Jean Kleyn and Darren Sweetnam - plus three penalties and a conversion from captain Tyler Bleyendaal - saw Rassie Erasmus’ men come out on top.
The Ospreys stayed in the game through 11 points from the boot of Sam Davies and James Hook’s first-half try, but Munster were deserved winners.
Munster dominated the early stages, Bleyendaal putting two penalty efforts wide before succeeding at the third attempt. Erasmus’ side still fell behind to Hook’s sublime solo effort, Davies converting. But the try failed to hide the fact Munster were the better side, though, and there was time before the break for them to take back control.
Kleyn was driven over from close range and a clean line break from Chris Farrell saw the ball recycled for Sweetnam to score in the corner. Bleyendaal converted the first of those efforts to send his team into the break 15-7 to the good.
Munster’s scrum superiority and breakdown work would have impressed watching Ireland forwards’ coach Simon Easterby, but the second half was far from a classic. Driving rain didn’t help the game’s flow, but it did suit Munster’s powerful forward pack the better of the two sides.
Davies and Bleyendaal exchanged penalties, and two more kicks from the young Wales pivot set up a nerve-jangling finish.
Munster should have been further clear, but with the game in the balance they reverted to their traditional strengths. Keeping the ball in the tight exchanges paid dividends and Bleyendaal’s third penalty put the final nail in the Ospreys’ coffin.
Scoring sequence - 10 mins: T Bleyendaal pen, 0-3; 12 mins: J Hook try, S Davies con, 7-3; 20 mins: J Kleyn try, T Bleyendaal con, 7-10; 37 mins: D Sweetnam try, 7-15. Half-time; 7-15. 44 mins: S Davies pen, 10-15; 51 mins: T Bleyendaal pen, 10-18; 57 mins: S Davies pen, 13-18; 64 mins: S Davies pen, 16-18; 77 mins: T Bleyendaal pen, 16-21.
Ospreys: D Evans; K Giles, C Allen, J Hook, J Hassler; S Davies, T Habberfield; P James, S Parry, M Fia, B Davies, L Ashley, D Lydiate, J Tipuric (capt), D Baker. Replacements: S Baldwin for S Parry, N Smith for Paul James (both half-time), A Beard for L Ashley, G Mercer for D Lydiate (both 52 mins), K Fonotia for C Allen (54 mins), R Jones for M Fia (75 mins), D Biggar for D Evans (77 mins). Not used: Aubrey
Munster: A Conway; D Sweetnam, C Farrell, J Taute, A Wootton; T Bleyendaal (capt), D Williams; L O’Connor, R Marshall, S Archer, J Kleyn, B Holland, S O’Connor, T O’Donnell, J O’Donoghue. Replacements: J Cronin for L’O’Connor, N Scannell for R Marshall, J Ryan for S Archer (all 52 mins), R Scannell for J Taute (55 mins), S Zebo for A Conway (64 mins), R Copeland for S O’Connor 66. Not used: F Wycherley, J Hart
Referee: S Berry (RSA)