Mun­ster pack lift Reds to third win on the spin

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SPORT | RUGBY -

Ospreys 16 Mun­ster 21

LIB­ERTY STA­DIUM

MUN­STER sur­vived a late fight­back from the Ospreys to seal a third straight Guin­ness PRO14 vic­tory at the Lib­erty Sta­dium.

Tries from Jean Kleyn and Darren Sweet­nam were enough to en­sure Rassie Eras­mus’ men came out on top de­spite Sam Davies kick­ing the home side into con­tention in the sec­ond half.

Driv­ing rain in Swansea didn’t make for a clas­sic, but Mun­ster hung on and their mar­gin of vic­tory could have been greater had Tyler Bleyen­daal kicked his goals. Skip­per and out-half Bleyen­daal booted a con­ver­sion and three penal­ties, but it was his pack’s phys­i­cal dom­i­nance which paved the way for their hard-fought vic­tory.

James Hook scored the Ospreys try and Davies ended the game with 11 points, but Bleyen­daal’s late kick sealed things.

Mun­ster started with a bang, but Bleyen­daal missed two sim­ple kicks at goal and Jaco Taute’s clean run to the try line was ruled out for a for­ward pass.

Bleyen­daal was suc­cess­ful at the third time of ask­ing, but on their first at­tack the Ospreys scored the game’s open­ing try. Hook was the man to come up trumps, danc­ing through some poor Mun­ster tack­ling. Davies con­verted.

Hook’s solo ef­fort had come against the run of play and Mun­ster soon re­stored their dom­i­nance. Lock Kleyn pow­ered over from close range and Bleyen­daal added the ex­tras.

The first half turned into a scrappy af­fair un­til a clean break from Chris Far­rell brought the game to life. Sean O’Con­nor was in sup­port and al­though he was hauled down, the ball was spread to give Sweet­nam an easy fin­ish. Bleyen­daal’s off day with the boot con­tin­ued, but an eight-point half-time lead was one Mun­ster de­served.

Davies kicked two penal­ties to one from Bleyen­daal on the re­sump­tion. And al­though the wet con­di­tions suited Mun­ster’s power game, they couldn’t pull clear on the score­board.

Davies’s third penalty set up a nail-bit­ing fin­ish. Mun­ster kept the ball in the for­wards and it paid off. Bleyen­daal’s third penalty sealed the win and al­though there was no bonus point, this suc­cess would have pleased Eras­mus no end.

Scor­ers — Ospreys: Hook try; S Davies con; S Davies 3 pens. Mun­ster: Kleyn, Sweet­nam try each; Bleyen­daal con, Bleyen­daal 3 pens.

Ospreys: Evans (Big­gar 78); Giles, Allen ( Fono­tia 54), Hook, Hassler; S Davies, Hab­ber­field; James (Smith 40), Parry (Bald­win 40), Fia (Jones 75), B Davies, Ash­ley (Beard 52), Ly­di­ate (Mercer 52), Tipuric (capt), Baker.

Mun­ster: Con­way (Zebo 64); Sweet­nam, Far­rell, Taute (R Scan­nell 55), Woot­ton; Bleyen­daal (capt), Wil­liams; L O’Con­nor (Cronin 52), Mar­shall (N Scan­nell 52), Archer (Ryan 52); Kleyn, Hol­land; S O’Con­nor (Copeland 66), O’Don­nell, O’Donoghue.

Ref­eree: Stu­art Berry (South Africa).

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