Ospreys crushed in Cork as con­fi­dence drains away again

Wales On Sunday - - SPORT ON SUNDAY -

THERE are re­mote Ama­zo­nian tribes­peo­ple who have prob­a­bly heard the old line about there never be­ing a great time to play a rugby match on the road against Mun­ster.

They might also have heard that the chal­lenge be­comes es­pe­cially daunt­ing if the vis­it­ing team have lost by the rugby equiv­a­lent of an in­nings in their pre­vi­ous game.

So, it was that the Ospreys headed out to Cork, just days after been thrashed by Glas­gow War­riors in Swansea.

Logic sug­gested it wouldn’t end well.

And the Ospreys couldn’t defy logic.

Flanker Will Jones bat­tled hard for them, scor­ing a try on his full league de­but; Jeff Hassler also touched down and James King, Olly Crack­nell and Kieron Fono­tia caught the eye.

But they are a team shorn of con­fi­dence and were un­able to pre­vent five-try Mun­ster bank­ing a bonus-point win.

There was late de­fi­ance from the vis­i­tors, but it wasn’t enough. Nowhere near enough.

They had trailed 24-5 at the break after a first-half shot through with er­rors.

The mis­takes started when Sam Davies’s low-tra­jec­tory kick was charged down and the vis­i­tors were forced to con­cede a penalty.

Teenage flanker Jones then found him­self yel­low-carded on his full league de­but.

The 18-year-old was pinged for head-rolling his op­po­site number Chris Cloete “with force”, ac­cord­ing to ref­eree Ben White­house.

Cloete im­me­di­ately went look­ing for ret­ri­bu­tion, but he picked on the wrong bloke be­cause Jones is a Euro­pean ju­nior judo cham­pion and the South African rapidly found him­self on the back foot once again. White­house duly carded Jones.

Mun­ster made the Ospreys pay with quick tries from Sam Arnold – after a botched Ospreys line-out – and Dar­ren Sweet­nam.

And when Cloete went over from close range, tak­ing ad­van­tage of lax de­fence, it was sud­denly 24-0 and a long way back for the vis­i­tors.

Jones showed up with his ag­gres­sion and strength over the ball in con­tact. On an­other tough night for the Ospreys, his ef­fort at least sug­gested some hope for the fu­ture.

Hassler crossed be­fore the break, prof­it­ing from a break down the left from Fono­tia, but the Welsh side were soon lin­ing up be­neath the posts early in the sec­ond half when Rory Scan­nell crossed after a flow­ing at­tack.

And when Jack O’Donoghue ploughed over after the ball was moved from a ruck, the only ques­tion was whether the Ospreys could claw back a mea­sure of pride in the fi­nal 20 min­utes.

Credit them: they did score for a sec­ond time when the de­serv­ing Jones went over.

But at no stage had the re­sult ever been in doubt. MUN­STER: Tries: S. Arnold, D. Sweet­nam, C. Cloete, R. Scan­nell, J. O’Donoghue. Cons: I. Keat­ley (5). Pens: I. Keat­ley. OSPREYS: Tries: J. Hassler, W. Jones.

Chris Cloete of Mun­ster and Will Jones of Ospreys get up close and per­sonal in last night’s clash

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