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Munster make short work of Ospreys in Champions Cup opener

By Online Editors
Munster coach Johann van Graan (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Munster opened their Heineken Champions Cup campaign with a 32-13 bonus point victory over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

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Tries from Jeremy Loughman, Keith Earls, Andrew Conway, and James Cronin, along with 12 points from the boot of Tyler Bleyendaal was enough to get Munster over the line.

All the Ospreys could muster was a late try from Aled Davies, with Luke Price and James Hook kicking eight points between them.

Price opened the scoring with a successful penalty attempt after Munster were penalised at the scrum. But Munster began to build some pressure with and very nearly scored when Bleyendaal worked an overlap only, for Mike Haley to knock the ball forward with nobody in front of him.

But Bleyendaal kicked Munster ahead as the Ospreys were forced to make a lot of tackles. Price levelled the scores but Munster finally turned pressure into points with Loughman powering his way over from short range.

The try wasn’t initially awarded with television replays showing Conor Murray may have spilled the ball forward. But the television footage proved inconclusive and the try stood. Bleyendaal converted to give the visitors a 13-6 lead at half-time.

Munster carried on from where they left off in the early stages of the second-half with the Ospreys forwards unable to match the home sides dynamic ball carriers.

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The visiting forwards went through the phases before the ball was spun wide for Earls to sneak in at the corner.

Earls try was referred to the television match official due to Hanno Dirksen’s brave tackle but the replays proved the wingers’ foot had not been in touch.

Ospreys hooker Scott Otten cheaply surrendered possession from the restart which put the result beyond the hosts. The ball fell into the hands of Loughman who put Conway into the clear with the Ireland international running in unopposed from 55 metres out.

Bleyendaal was successful with the conversion and Munster went in search of a try-scoring bonus point. But to their immense credit, the Ospreys refused to throw in the towel with Wales internationals Nicky Smith, Aled Davies, Bradley Davies and Adam Beard a welcome sight from the replacements bench.

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And Davies grabbed a late consolation try for the hosts as Munster were caught napping when he took a quickly tapped penalty. Former British and Irish Lions utility back Hook converted but Munster finished the game by laying siege to the Ospreys line.

The Irish province were awarded a penalty and went for the corner. In what was the last play of the match, Cronin powered his way over the line off the back of a driving lineout to secure all five points for the visitors.

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M
Mzilikazi 8 hours ago
Swashbuckling Hurricanes and Harlequins show scrum still matters

I always enjoy a good scrum based article. Thanks, Nick. The Hurricanes are looking more and more the team to beat down here in Australasia. They are a very well balanced team. And though there are far fewer scrums in the game these days, destructive power in that area is a serious weapon, especially an attacking scrum within in the red zone. Aumua looked very good as a young first year player, but then seemed to fade. He sure is back now right in the picture for the AB’s. And I would judge that Taukei’aho is in a bit of a slump currently. Watching him at Suncorp a few weeks ago, I thought he was not as dominant in the game as I would have expected. I am going to raise an issue in that scrum at around the 13 min mark. I see a high level of danger there for the TH lifted off the ground. He is trapped between the opposition LH and his own powerful SR. His neck is being put under potentially dangerous pressure. The LH has, in law , no right to use his superior scrummaging skill….getting his head right in on the breastbone of the TH…..to force him up and off the ground. Had the TH popped out of the scrum, head up and free, there is no danger, that is a clear penalty to the dominant scrum. The law is quite clear on this issue: Law 37 Dangerous play and restricted practices in a scrum. C:Intentionally lifting an opponent off their feet or forcing them upwards out of the scrum. Sanction: Penalty. Few ,if any, referees seem to be aware of this law, and/or the dangers of the situation. Matthew Carly, refereeing Clermont v Munster in 2021, penalised the Munster scrum, when LH Wycherly was lifted very high, and in my view very dangerously, by TH Slimani. Lifting was coached in the late ‘60’s/70’s. Both Lions props, Ray McLouglin, and “Mighty Mouse” McLauchlan, were expert and highly successful at this technique. I have seen a photo, which I can’t find online atm, of MM with a NZ TH(not an AB) on his head, MM standing upright as the scrum disintegrates.

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