Bonus point 28-12 win for Munster in Cork

Credit: @Munsterrugby.

Munster Rugby, who won their previous 11 fixtures at Irish Independent Park, maintained their proud record in Cork with a bonus-point 28-12 victory over Ospreys on Friday night.

Johann van Graan’s side, winners of their last seven clashes with the Welsh region, saw 4 successfully converted tries from James Cronin, Rhys Marshall, Mike Haley and Arno Botha prove too much for the visitors who failed to register a five-pointer.

Ospreys, who lasted tasted victory over tonight’s hosts in February 2016, never looked serious opposition to the southern province as the boot of Luke Price was the only threat they really had to offer.

On a night when Munster ill discipline, conceding a total of 12 penalties, allowed the hosts keep their toe in the game, it was the sin-binning of Ospreys’ Sam Cross, which swung this tie comfortably in Munster’s favour, as they scored 14 points in that ten-minute period.

A high tackle on Munster’s Rory Scannell by Ospreys’ prop Tom Botha failed to see South African referee Stuart Berry produce a yellow card for the offence inside the opening 10 minutes of the game, deciding that a penalty kick was sufficient.

James Cronin, in his first game of the 2019-20, saw the prop stretch out to reach over the try-line on 17 minutes. Dan Goggin had broken through the Opsreys’ defence, but was short of the line, before forward Cronin, the first man in support, touched down to break the game’s deadlock. Tyler Bleyendaal added the conversion for a 7-0 lead to the home side.

Despite seeing both their possession and territory percentages north of 60 in the opening half, it took Ospreys until the 33rd minute to get on the scoreboard. A Luke Price penalty, the first of two successfully converted kicks in the closing minutes of the first-half, saw Munster take a slender 7-6 lead down the tunnel at the break.

Half-time: Munster Rugby 7 Ospreys Rugby 3

Johann van Graan’s side crossed for their second try of the night within minutes of the game’s re-start. With Munster pressure driving them towards the line, Ospreys’ Sam Cross deliberately knocked down the ball in front of the posts, giving the referee no option but to send him to the sin-bin for ten minutes. With Rhys Marshall then scoring a try for the home side, Bleyendaal kicked his second successful conversion of the game to give his side a 14-6 advantage, with only 4 minutes of the second period played.

Ospreys’ kicker Price keep the scoreboard ticking over for his side as he claimed the visitors’ third three-pointer of the evening. Munster immediately responded, however, as fullback Mike Haley broke through the Welsh outfit’s defence, before touching down right of the posts. Bleyendaal maintained his perfect record of kicking for the posts, this time somewhat luckily with the assistance of the left upright. The hosts now led 21-9 with almost half an hour left to play.

With time running out to achieve the bonus point, Munster replacement Arno Botha claimed his side’s crucial fourth try at the death, before another substitute, JJ Hanrahan, converted to give the men in red a 28-12 victory on a cold night at Irish Independent Park.

Munster are now unbeaten in their last 24 home games in all competitions since a defeat by Leinster at Thomond Park in December 2017.

Final score: Munster Rugby 28 Ospreys Rugby 12

Munster Rugby

15. Mike Haley, 14. Calvin Nash, 13. Dan Goggin, 12. Rory Scannell, 11. Shane Daly, 10. Tyler Bleyendaal, 9. Neil Cronin.

1. James Cronin, 2. Rhys Marshall, 3. Stephen Archer, 4. Jed Holloway, 5. Billy Holland (captain), 6. Jack O’Donoghue, 7. Tommy O’Donnell, 8. Jack O’Sullivan.

Munster Rugby Replacements

16. Kevin O’Byrne, 17. Liam O’Connor, 18. Jeremy Loghman, 19. Fineen Wycherley, 20. Arno Botha, 21. Craig Casey, 22. JJ Hanrahan, 23. Sammy Arnold.

Munster scorers:

Tries: James Cronin 17′, Rhys Marshall 43′, Mike Haley 50′, Arno Botha 80′.
Conversions: Tyler Bleyendaal 18′, 44′, 51′; JJ Hanrahan 81′.

Ospreys Rugby

15. Cai Evans, 14. Hanno Dirksen, 13. Scott Williams, 12. Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, 11. Tom Williams, 10. Luke Price, 9. Matthew Aubrey.

1. Rhodri Jones, 2. Sam Parry, 3. Tom Botha, 4. Dan Lydiate (captain), 5. Lloyd Ashley, 6. Olly Cracknell, 7. Sam Cross, 8. Gareth Evans.

Ospreys Rugby Replacements

16. Scott Otten, 17. Gareth Thomas, 18. Ma’afu Fia, 19. Will Griffiths, 20. Dan Baker, 21. Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22. James Hook, Lesley Klim.

Ospreys scorers:

Penalties: Luke Price 33′, 40′, 47′, 59′

Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU).


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