Despite a disappointing result against Leinster last week, there were plenty of positives to take away from the fixture, with many young Ospreys making their mark on the game.
This week saw the return of outside half Stephen Myler and centre Keiran Williams into the line up, while another young centre, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, was given the nod at outside centre. Mat Protheroe’s stand-out performance against the reigning champions merited him a spot in the Guinness PRO14 team of the week and made his first start at fullback against Munster. The front row had been rotated in the pack, with Gareth Thomas, Ifan Phillips, and Tom Botha starting while Rhodri Jones, Dewi Lake, and Ma’afu Fia began the game on the bench.
Ospreys drew first blood with a wonderfully worked try from a counterattack, launched from deep by fullback Mat Protheroe. He linked up with winger Luke Morgan who had more than enough pace to get to the try line unscathed. Munster struck back five minutes later through number eight Gavin Coombes, and fullback Mike Haley got over for a second less than five minutes after that to rush into the lead. Munster centre Rory Scannell and Ospreys outside half Stephen Myler exchanged penalties before Munster hooker Kevin O’Byrne took a third try from the back of a maul.
There would be a mountain to climb for the visitors, who would begin the half trailing 24-10 and a man down, with winger Morgan in the sinbin for a deliberate knock on.
The second half began much like the first ended, with Munster capitalising on Ospreys ill-discipline and making inroads from the lineout. The men in red slipped through multiple tacklers and powered their way over the try line, earning themselves a bonus point with only five minutes gone in the second half.
Ospreys’ young replacement hooker, Dewi Lake, burrowed his way to the line from a driving Ospreys maul and a penalty try near the end of the game narrowed the score-line to sixteen points. Unfortunately for the visitors, there wasn’t enough time left on the clock to mount a full-scale comeback and the Ospreys would leave Thomond Park with a 38-22 loss.
Final score Munster 38 Ospreys 22