The Ospreys had to settle for a losing bonus point in the Liberty Stadium rain as Munster held on for the win in Round 3 of the Guinness PRO14.
It was very much a game of two halves as, despite an early James Hook try giving the Ospreys the lead, Munster dominated the first 40 and deserved to be more than eight points clear at the turnaround. Then, the second half was all about the Ospreys pressing but being unable to make the possession count as the visitors held on to make it three wins in three this season.
Munster skipper, Tyler Bleyendaal, clearly had clearly forgotten to chalk his boots ahead of the game, missing the target with two very kickable early penalties, the first clipping the outside of the post, the second pushed wide of the far stick.
It was the visitors who enjoyed the early dominance though, and only a forward pass prevented them from grabbing the first try eight minutes in, the ball drifting forward before Jaco Taute drifted through a hole in the Ospreys defence.
However, Munster had the lead straight after, the Ospreys penalised at the resulting scrum and, this time, Bleyendaal made no mistake.
The response from the home team was immediate as they took the lead on their first venture into opposition territory.
A penalty on the Munster 10m line allowed Sam Davies to put his team in a good position and, after the lineout drive stalled, Davies fed Hook who danced his way through a crowded midfield to go over for his first try in an Ospreys shirt since the 60-17 Christmas 2010 win over the Scarlets.
Davies added the extras and the Ospreys led 7-3 with 12 minutes played.
Munster then hit back just before the 20-minute mark, a side entry from Ma’afu Fia giving the visitors the opportunity to go to the corner. Although the Ospreys managed to stop the drive it always looked ominous and it took just a couple of carried before second row Jean Kleyn easily broke through the tackle to score from close range, Bleyendaal with the extras.
There was little further of note until four minutes from the break, when we saw Munster at their clinical best. Chris Farrell broke the defensive line stepping inside Justin Tipuric and although Keelan Giles and Cory Allen did exceptionally well to get back and prevent the score.
The defence was looking stretched though and a long miss pass found Darren Sweetnam in acres of space on the right for a simple score that went unconverted.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 7 MUNSTER 15
A positive start to the second half from the Ospreys was rewarded with three points from Davies, Munster offside four minutes after the restart.
The rain was hammering down by now and the deficit was back up to eight points five minutes later, Bleyendaal with a straightforward kick after a spell of Munster pressure in and around the 22.
It was all very nervy but Davies was able to keep the scoreboard ticking over, punishing a Munster offside in the 56th minute.
The Ospreys were now enjoying their best spell of the game and their increased intensity was forcing mistakes from Munster, with just one try separating the teams.
A huge scrum on the Munster 10m line was rewarded with a penalty and Davies brought his team back to within two points.
As the clock ticked towards the 80 the Ospreys were on top but unable to find a way of breaking down Munster.
The next score was crucial and, despite the Ospreys being well on top, it went the way of Munster, Bleyendaal in front of the posts.
The Ospreys needed a converted try to win it and they gave it a good go but with the clock now well past time, Giles found himself tackle into touch deep in Munster territory and that was it.
They now hit the road this week for a two-game mini tour that sees away games versus Benetton Treviso and Cheetahs as they look to bounce back from defeats on the last two Saturday’s.