Second half tries from Tommy Bowe and Richard Fussell weren't enough to prevent the Ospreys leaving Thomond Park empty handed on Saturday night.
After a gruelling first 40, the two sides went in at the break separated by the only three points of the period, from the boot of Ronan O’Gara, but the hosts were able to pull away after the interval to secure what turned out to be a comfortable victory.
With Munster applying the early pressure they were handed a couple of opportunities to take the lead, first Paul Warwick and then Ronan O’Gara, on for Ian Dowling after just four minutes, missing with their penalty kicks.
The hosts were enjoying the bulk of possession but were unable to get any real fluency into their game, the Ospreys doing a sterling defensive job to keep them at bay without any real problems.
With the clock approaching half hour, there was a blow for the Ospreys as Ian Evans underwent lengthy treatment after landing awkwardly in a lineout. The big second row, who has had such dreadful luck with injury, was able to continue briefly before Ian Gough was sent on in his place.
O’Gara then spurned another opportunity, his effort from near halfway after Jonathan Thomas was penalised for going off his feet fading at the death and dropping underneath the crossbar.
With defence well and truly on top there had been little to get the Thomond Park crowd excited during the first period, but they were cheering in the 38th minute when O’Gara finally broke the deadlock, Paul James penalised in the scrum, allowing the fly half a simple kick from a central position just outside the 22.
HALF TIME: MUNSTER 3 OSPREYS 0
Munster upped the tempo straight from the restart and were rewarded with the first try of the game just three minutes in. The hosts moved the ball up field at pace, recycling efficiently and sucking defenders in before striking, Warwick’s long miss pass exposing the overlap, Doug Howlett finishing off the move with O’Gara converting.
That sparked the Ospreys into life and they struck back within 90 seconds, Shane Williams releasing Tommy Bowe just inside his own half and the Irishman’s clever angles allowed him to gallop home to score, although Biggar failed to convert.
Once again O’Gara spurned what seemed a straightforward penalty opportunity, putting it well wide of the upright, before slotting a more difficult effort over after Jonathan Thomas was pinged for excessive use of the boot at a ruck to make it 13-5 to Munster with 54 minutes gone.
Having issued several warnings to the Ospreys, referee Neil Paterson finally lost patience and issued a yellow card to Marty Holah for playing the ball on the floor, O’Gara successful with the resulting penalty.
Ill discipline was proving costly, and O’Gara again made the Ospreys pay when a penalty originally awarded against Adam Jones for binding incorrectly was moved forwards 10m into kicking territory for backchat.
The Ospreys were struggling to get any kind of rhythm or momentum to their game, and O’Gara was able to keep the scoreboard ticking over after Bowe was ruled offside.
It had been all Munster, but the Ospreys showed finally put together some good rugby to work their way up field for a rare foray into Munster territory as the game entered the final 10 minutes, Andrew Bishop showed a good combination of strength and footwork before being hauled down two metres short.
Billy Holland failed to role away after the tackle and was shown yellow for his efforts. Having opted for the scrum, the Ospreys were able to fashion their second try with just three minutes remaining, Thomas breaking from the back of the set-piece and when it was recycled, Biggar’s long pass reached Fussell who went over in the corner for his second try of the season, Biggar missing with the conversion.
There was to be no further scoring, Munster taking the points to maintain their 100 per cent record and regain their place at the top of the table.