AND so for the second time in a little over 13 hours, a Welsh rugby side did a number on fancied Irish opponents and although - unlike Ireland at the Rugby World Cup - the defeat to the Ospreys at Thomond Park may not be fatal to Munster’s hopes of landing silverware at the end of the season, it will take some time to get over.
True, Munster contributed to their own downfall in a competitive – if uninspiring - RaboDirect PRO12 top-of-the-table clash. At times, Munster displayed a worrying lack of composure and failure to execute in the final third as the home side suffered a first home League defeat at their Limerick home for 18 months.
A lack of discipline hurt the home side too. Some old failings re-emerged at scrum time too and although some of referee James Jones’ decisions in this area left the home players and supporters somewhat perplexed, there was no doubting the home side played second fiddle in this sector for periods of the game. The introduction of South African prop BJ Botha for the final half an hour did have a steadying influence, however.
Second-placed Munster can point to a degree of misfortune too, with the concession of an intercept try on 56 minutes to Ospreys scrum-half Rhys Webb, while two penalty attempt form out-half Ian Keatley struck uprights. But, then again, the same fate befell his opposite number Dan Biggar.
It was a disappointing end to the opening phase of the PRO12 with four successive wins followed by two defeats. The competition takes a break now until Friday, October 28 when Aironi visit Musgrave Park and a week later McGahan’s men face up to arch rivals Leinster when Ireland’s World Cup players will go head-to-head.
Afterwards Munster forwards coach Anthony Foley admitted the home side was left with several regrets. He was, however, perplexed by some of the decisions which went against Munster at scrum time.
“We didn’t execute when camped on their line. There was some indiscipline, an intercept try when we had a three-man overlap, so all the errors were down to ourselves,” Anthony Foley said.
“In a good way that can be resolved. Ospreys came to Thomond Park and did a number on us. They managed to get over the line. Unfortunately, we have to take our hats off to them and wish them all the best.
“The scrum was bizarre. I don’t know. For the past few weeks the scrum has been going one way and that is forward. I don’t see why in three weeks when we play Aironi it can’t be the same.
“One person’s decisions are something I can’t tell you. I would like to have a chat with him (the referee) and see what they were about.
“It was going to go one way or another and it went the wrong way from our point of view.”
SCORERS – Munster: Danny Barnes try, Ian Keatley two pens, one con). Ospreys: Rhys Webb try, Dan Biggar four pens.
MUNSTER – Johne Murphy; Doug Howlett, Danny Barnes, Lifeimi Mafi, Denis Hurley; Ian Keatley, Duncan Williams; Wian du Preez, Denis Fogarty, Stephen Archer; Billy Holland, Mick O’Driscoll; Dave O’Callaghan, Niall Ronan, Peter O’Mahony. Replacements – Tommy O’Donnell for Ronan (temp, 5-14 mins), BJ Botha for Archer (53 mins), Ian Nagle for Holland, Marcus Horan for du Preez (both 61 mins), Simon Zebo for Murphy (70 mins), Scott Deasy for Hurley (74 mins).
OSPREYS – Barry Davies; Hanno Dirkson, Tom Isaacs, Andrew Bishop, Richard Fussell; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Duncan Jones, Richard Hibbard, Cai Griffiths; Ian Gough, Ian Evans; Joe Bearman, Justin Tipuric, Jonathan Thomas. Replacements – Aaron Jarvis for Griffiths (53 mins), Tom Smith for Gough, Sonny Parker for Isaacs (both 57 mins), James King for Evans (71 mins).
REF – James Jones (Wales)