The Ospreys Development faced tough opposition in round two of the Celtic Cup, when they welcomed Munster A to St Helen’s on Saturday afternoon
- A young Ospreys side struggled to hold back an experienced Munster A team despite their efforts
- The Irish side proved too strong for the Development team, with Josh Thomas scoring the only points for the Ospreys with a try and conversion.
The Ospreys got off to a positive start at Swansea RFC, putting early pressure on their visitors to take play into their half. A build up of phases kept the Ospreys attack plugging away at Munster’s defence, but a pass out wide saw Dewi Cross cornered by three of Munster’s backline, leaving the wing no option but to chip the ball forward before landing in touch.
But an overthrow from Munster at the lineout was nicely picked up by the Ospreys to take back possession. Although the Ospreys control was short lived, with Munster securing a penalty for holding on. Kicking to touch to take play into the Ospreys half for the first time of the game, Munster won their lineout and drove over the line for the opening try of the game. John Hodnett with the grounding to put the visitors ahead 0-5 with no conversion.
Moments later, Munster found themselves attacking once more in the Ospreys 22 and a quick break from Hodnett saw the flanker glide over the line for the second try. The conversion on target from Bill Johnston put Munster ahead 0-12 with just over 10 minutes played.
With the opposition firmly in control of the game, the pack powered their way into the Ospreys half once more and with the Ospreys caught off guard, Gavin Coombes broke loose for the oppositions third try of the game. Bill Johnston with the conversion to take the scores to 0-19.
Just moments later, a pass out wide to Matt Moore left the Ospreys struggling to regroup their defence. Leaving Munster free to score their fourth try through Moore. Johnston with the conversion extending Munster’s lead to 0-26.
Ospreys looked to gain some momentum in the closing minutes of the opening half. Gaining a penalty for a high tackle left Josh Thomas to kick deeper into Munster’s 22. Ospreys did well to puncture the oppositions defence, with some powerful carries from Charlie Davies and Joe Grabham in the pack. Strong support from the backs left Munster struggling to hold the Ospreys back, but just as the Ospreys looked to finish off their chance, a knock on handed the visitors back the ball on the half time whistle.
Half time – Ospreys Development 0 – 26 Munster A
Coming out for the second half, the Ospreys looked to build on the momentum created towards the end of the first half. Harri Morgan was first out of the blocks, with a superb break from his own half taking the skipper into Munster’s 22. Strong support from the squad kept the Ospreys in control as Munster struggled to regroup. But a forward pass out wide gifted Munster back the ball.
Munster picking up quickly from the scrum, chased the ball back up field and managed to win another penalty for the Ospreys not releasing. Taking it quickly a quick run from Alan Tynan saw Munster win the try. No conversion left the scores at 0-31.
With the visitors firmly in control of the game, Munster punished the Ospreys back into their own half once more. Jack Stafford picked up and drove over the line for another try for the visitors, with the conversion extended their lead 0-38.
But despite the 38-point deficit, the Ospreys weren’t giving up. A solid set piece from the pack set the Ospreys up nicely inside Munster’s half, and quick pace and interplay from the backs saw Dewi Cross chip the ball inside and Josh Thomas race over the try line for the Ospreys first try of the game! Converting his own try, Thomas put the Ospreys on the boards 7-38 with just over ten minutes left to play.
However, Munster were quick to answer back. Racing their way back into the Ospreys 22 from the restart, a turnover from the side saw Fineen Wycherly with the try. The conversion taking Munster further ahead 7-45.
In the closing stages of the game, Ospreys looked for the next score. But despite their efforts, Munster took advantage of a penalty to take play into the Ospreys 22 once more. The Ospreys side valiantly defended with one tackle even shaking the goal posts back a notch from the force. But with the advantage in hand and penalty count stacking up against the Osprey side, the referee blew up for a penalty try for the opposition to leave the final score at 7-52.
Speaking after the game, head coach for the side Richard Fussell said: “It was a tough tough ask out there for those boys this afternoon. It’s never good to ship that amount of points in a game, but there are positives we can take out of it. There were some really good performances from the likes of Josh Thomas, Will Griffiths and Joe Thomas and I though Harri Morgan had a really good performance and led well as the captain. Joe Grabham and Charlie Davies were outstanding in the back row and it was really pleasing to see Kieran Williams back on the field as well.
This competition is a great opportunity for us to expose these boys to a higher level and standard of rugby and just allowing them to experience what that’s like. Munster are a well drilled machine that are four or five years more experienced compared to us who are fresh out of the tracks and in certain areas of the game it certainly showed we just have to keep building and going forward and going in the right direction.”
Next up for the Ospreys Development team is a trip to Athlone to face Connacht Eagles for round three on Friday 21st September, K.O 7pm.