The Ospreys Premiership Select kicked off their British And Irish Cup campaign at St Helen’s on Saturday afternoon against defending champions Munster A.
Running out for their first game of this tournament, the Ospreys PS were looking for a winning start against last year’s tournament winners at St Helen’s.
In a dominant start, the Ospreys PS found themselves attacking deep in Munster’s 22 leaving their visitors to scramble their defences.
Puncturing Munster’s defence, the Ospreys looked for their first try, only for a knock on to go against them in the opening stages of play.
Still in a good position, the hosts secured a penalty just shy of the halfway line in Munster territoey. Phil Jones lined up the ball to open the scores for the Ospreys PS to take them 3-0 ahead with seven minutes played.
With momentum on their side, the Ospreys attacked strong once again, carrying the ball well into Munster’s half. Securing another penalty for Munster holding on, Jones opted for the posts once again only for the wind to take it just wide.
Trying to make their mark on the game, Munster took control of possession. The Ospreys putting in some strong tackles stopped them in their tracks, only for the referee to go back for an advantage for an offside Osprey. JJ Hanrahan slotted the penalty to even the scores with just under half hour played.
Not wanting to let their early lead and dominance slip, the Ospreys attack came once again. Turning over Munster after a scrum, a quick kick upfield saw both wings take flight, with Jay Baker in hot pursuit of Munster’s Stephen Fitzgerald. Despite Baker’s efforts, Munster managed to keep hold of the ball, but a good chase from the Ospreys saw the cavalry arrive to keep Munster in their own half once again.
Gaining another penalty for holding on, Phil Jones opted for the posts, to take the Premiership Select side just ahead 6-3 at the halftime whistle.
Half Time - Ospreys Premiership Select 6 - 3 Munster A
Coming out for the second half, Munster were first off the mark, testing the Ospreys defence to its limits. A driving maul from the forwards made way for Kevin O’Byrne to score the first try of the game for the visitors. Hanrahan with the extras to take Munster ahead for the first time at 6-10.
With Munster making headways in the Ospreys 22 once again, skipper Will Jones was shown a yellow card for collapsing the maul, reducing the home side to 14 men in the 45th minute.
And Munster were quick to take advantage, with Gavin Coombes crashing over the line for their second of the game. Hanrahan slotting the conversion to take the Irish side further ahead.
The Ospreys tried to answer back, with a powerful attack in Munster’s half taking them metres from the tryline. But a knock on, on the line, put Munster back in control.
But with that impressive attack, came a knee injury to the Ospreys’ Dylan Moss who was stretchered off the field in the 50th minute.
With Will Jones returning from the sin bin, the Ospreys kicked a penalty for a Munster player offside to take play back into Munster’s half, but a lost lineout put the visitors back in possession.
Quick pace from Munster nearly saw them break through the Ospreys defence, but a forward pass saw play brought back and gave the Ospreys the put in at the scrum.
The Ospreys tried to conjure up another attack but Munster were relentless in defence, turning the ball over and racing up into the Ospreys 22.
A quick pick up from scrum-half John Poland saw Munster score their third try with Bill Johnston kicking the conversion to secure the defending champions the win!
Speaking after the game, coach Tom Smith: “Obviously we’re all disappointed, there’s a boys in the dressing room really gutted, but we’re taking it as a good thing. It’s giving the boys the fire to go out next week and play even better.
“It was a tale of two halves, we played really well in the first half and we can take the positives into the rest of the tournament and hopefully pick up a win next weekend against Bedford.”
Next up for the Ospreys Premiership Select is a trip to Goldington Road next Saturday 21st October, where they face Bedford Blues, K.O 3pm.