The Ospreys fell to a 12-6 defeat in a top of the table clash with Munster at Thomond Park.
Matthew Morgan clinched a valuable losing bonus point for the Ospreys with the last kick of the game as he exchanged penalties with Ian Keatley and JJ Harahan in a match which failed to get going.
It was Munster who started the brighter of the two teams after an Ian Keatley clearance from the kick off pinned the Ospreys back in their twenty-two. When the home team gathered possession, it took only a couple of phases for hooker, Damien Varley to find a gap in the midfield.
Munster looked to spread it wide but Ospreys, Tito Tebaldi knocked on an attempted interception. The first scrum of the game provided Munster with a penalty opportunity and Keatley stepped up to give his team an early lead.
Keatley continued to put pressure on the Ospreys with his tactical kicking, keeping the visitors in their own half. A chip out wide was gathered by Ben John but he was penalised for holding on the floor. The Munster outside-half had the chance to double the lead which he failed to do.
Territory and possession were both in Munster’s favour but the home team had yet to threaten the Ospreys try line too much. As Munster ventured into the twenty-two, Joe Bearman provided Keatley with a chance to make amends for his missed kick when the back rower entered the ruck at the side. The ouside-half, this time, added the three points.
The Ospreys hit back immediately as they entered their opponents twenty-two for the first time in the match. Sam Lewis carried just short of the Munster try line before number 8, CJ Stander failed to roll away at the ruck. Matthew Morgan stepped up for the first time in the match to slot the easy penalty.
A powerful maul from the Munster pack saw them drive the Ospreys back several metres before the visitors brought it down illegally. Captain, Varley backed his forwards and opted for touch before another maul ensued. The Ospreys were back pedalling but were let off the hook as the ball spilled forward off a Munster player.
Munster scrum-half Duncan Williams came up with the ball from the Ospreys scrum before two simple passes away to Ivan Dineen saw him cross the line. To the relief of the Ospreys, a try was ruled out by the TMO who deemed the scrum incomplete.
HALF TIME: Munster 6 Ospreys 3
Leading by example, Varley made his second line break of the match early in the second half, putting his team on the front foot. Munster looked for a way through the wall of black jerseys but to no avail. Jonathon Spratt, the captain for the evening, intercepted before clearing his lines.
It was the Ospreys turn to attack after Andrew Bishop provided the visitors with good field position following an outside of the boot kick. The visitors put the ball through the hands as they looked for an opening try. Italian scrum-half, Tito Tebaldi claimed to have scored a try as he lay on the bottom of a ruck but the TMO ruled it out for holding on.
Munster carried the ball into their opponents half as the typical Irish weather started to show. The rain started to fall as ill-discipline at the breakdown provided Keatley with a chance to extend his team’s lead. The outside-half pulled the penalty wide but minutes later, from a similar position, Keatley slotted it.
The majority of the half was played in between both twenty-two metre lines with neither team causing much trouble for the other. A late tackle by Hanno Dirksen, returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, gave replacement JJ Hanrahan an easy three points. Morgan had a chance to grab a penalty of his own soon after but he dragged the kick wide.
With little happening in the match, the Ospreys looked to get within bonus point territory from the boot. Replacement scrum-half Tom Habberfield marshalled his forwards as Morgan dropped back into the pocket but he missed.
Munster winger Ronan O’Mahony was deemed to have taken the ball over his own try-line before he dotted it down, following another consultation with the TMO. The Ospreys scrum looked dominant with replacement props Nicky Smith and Dan Suter earning a penalty with the clock in the red zone. Morgan stepped up to clinch an important losing bonus point for the Ospreys with the final kick of the game.
FULL TIME: Munster 12 Ospreys 6