Munster return to the top of RaboDirect PRO12

Steven Miller

Reporter:

Steven Miller

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Munster returned to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 once again thanks to a 25-11 win over the Osprey on Sunday.

Munster returned to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 once again thanks to a 25-11 win over the Osprey on Sunday.

Tries from Sean Dougall, Simon Zebo and James Downey helped Munster to the win as they leap-frogged Leinster back into first place.

Both teams went into the game shorn of Six Nations stars but Munster took the lead after just five minutes when Sean Dougall went over a good lineout maul. Ian Keatley added the conversion.

The Ospreys, fresh from their 75-7 hammering of Treviso a week earlier, looked threatening in attack with Fijian wing Aisea Natoga to the fore.

But a strong Munster scrum allowed Keatley to extend his side’s advantage with a penalty after 16 minutes.

The home side responded quickly with a successful kick from full-back Sam Davies, but Keatley restored Munster’s 10-point cushion with a fine strike from 40 metres.

Davies, who had an off day with the boot, struck the upright with a long-range penalty, but with the clock ticking down to half-time, the Ospreys got the score they wanted through Wales squad member Ashley Beck who showed good pace to touch down. Davies missed the conversion and a penalty before the break and Munster led 13-8 at half time.

Zebo raced 60 metres for Munster’s second try early in the second half, his fourth in three games and it will be interesting to see if his good run of form can see him force his way into the Ireland squad for the 6 Nations game against Italy on Saturday week. Keatley was off target with the conversion.

The Ospreys hit back with a penalty but Munster stretched further clear when JJ Hanrahan sent James Downey over under the posts. Hanrahan added the conversion and Munster pulled away for a 14-point win.

SCORERS - Munster: Sean Dougall, Simon Zebo and James Downey try each, Ian Keatley one conversion, one penalty, JJ Hanrahan one conversion. Ospreys: Ashley Beck try, Sam Davies two penalties

MUNSTER - Felix Jones; Andrew Conway, Casey Laulala, James Downey, Simon Zebo; Ian Keatley, Cathal Sheridan; James Cronin, Duncan Casey, BJ Botha; Donnacha Ryan, Dave Foley; Tommy O’Donnell, Sean Dougall, James Coughlan. Replacements: Ger Slattery, Dave Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer, Donncha O’Callaghan, CJ Stander, Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan, Denis Hurley

OSPREYS - Sam Davies; Jeff Hassler, Jonathan Spratt, Ashley Beck, Aisea Notaga; Matthew Morgan, Tom Haberfield; Duncan Jones, Scott Baldwin, Dan Suter; Perry Parker, James King; Tyler Ardron, Sam Lewis, Joe Bearman. Replacements: Matt Dwyer, Mark Thomas, Joe Rees, Ryan Jones, Dan Barker, Tito Tebaldi, Richard Fussell, Hanno Dirksen