Friday 22 September 2017

Angry Penney left with much to ponder

Ospreys 30 Munster 15
Pro12 League

An ashen Rob Penney was extremely annoyed with his team's showing and admitted their hosts bossed them throughout.
An ashen Rob Penney was extremely annoyed with his team's showing and admitted their hosts bossed them throughout.

Declan Rooney

Munster crashed to a fourth consecutive defeat to the Ospreys and had Damien Varley red-carded late on to put the cap on a very poor performance at the Liberty Stadium.

An ashen Rob Penney was extremely annoyed with his team's showing and admitted their hosts bossed them throughout.

"I thought what they did was efficient and they were probably hurting after having some poor results here early in the season," said Penney.

"They came to play and we couldn't match it. What they brought was what we needed to have a bit of.

"We didn't bring anything. For some reason we were flat; we lacked the intensity and physicality that we've had the last few weeks and Ospreys did bloody well and beat us up a bit," added Penney.

Despite trailing by just four points early in the second-half, Munster folded after the sin-binning of Tommy O'Donnell and failed to cross the try-line for the first time this season, as tries from Richard Fussell and Richard Hibbard on on his 100th league appearance, plus a penalty try, gave Ospreys the win their endeavour deserved.

"We'll be on the roller-coaster ride that we said we'd be on. If we turn up and play, we are capable of being a competitive unit; if we don't turn up that's the sort of performance we'll get.

"Tonight aside, we have been working really diligently and endeavouring to do the right thing by the group, so we'll just have to play the cards we are dealt," Penney said.

Varley was shown a straight red card seven minutes from time following an incident in a ruck. At the very least, he is likely to at least miss Saturday's clash with Leinster.

"I haven't seen it, so I can't comment. Damien has got a pretty good record in that area. He said he got his foot caught up in the tackle, so we'll just have to wait and see the footage of it," said Penney.

Toughest

Having lost all three of last year's fixtures between the sides, and May's semi-final play-off by 35 points, Munster knew the Liberty Stadium assignment could be one of their toughest of the season.

From the first whistle, the home side's intensity was evident and a nasty clash of heads between Conor Murray and Fussell saw the Irish scrum-half replaced by Peter Stringer on two occasions during the first half as a blood replacement.

While Murray left the field clearly dazed and failed to return after "feeling unwell," Fussell soon recovered to score Ospreys' first try after 24 minutes after Justin Tipuric blocked a Stringer box-kick.

Dan Biggar -- who kicked 25 points in that play-off mauling last season -- added the extras for a 13-0 lead, which brought his tally to eight after his two earlier penalties in the 12th and 14th minute had gotten Ospreys off to a great start.

Ronan O'Gara put Munster on the board with a 26th-minute penalty from the right touchline and a minute from half-time, he brought Penney's side back to 13-6 with his second penalty after the home side were penalised at the scrum.

O'Gara cut that lead to four points with his third penalty immediately after the restart, when Ryan Jones entered a rolling maul from the side, but the sin-binning of O'Donnell in the 46th minute for collapsing an Ospreys maul proved crucial.

Biggar added the resultant penalty and before O'Donnell's 10 minutes had elapsed, the home side had earned a penalty try after a handful of dominant scrums on the Munster line.

Donnacha Ryan and Peter O'Mahony were introduced for their first action of the season as Penney emptied the bench in an attempt to find some intensity.

Penalties from O'Gara and Ian Keatley brought the three-time league winners into bonus point territory, but Hibbard's late try and Biggar's conversion ensured Ospreys held solid.

Opsreys -- R Fussell (Ross Jones, blood sub 3, sub 69); H Dirksen, A Bishop, A Beck (M Morgan 73), T Isaacs; D Biggar, K Fotuali'i (R Webb 73); R Bevington (D Jones 62), R Hibbard (S Baldwin 69), A Jarvis (A Jones 59); A Wynn Jones, I Evans; Ryan Jones, J Tipuric, J Bearman (J Thomas 59).

munster -- D Hurley; D Howlett, K Earls, C Laulala, S Zebo (J Downey 72); R O'Gara (I Keatley 59), C Murray (P Stringer blood sub 3 and 17); W Du Preez (D Kilcoyne 55), M Sherry (D Varley 55), S Archer (BJ Botha 55); Donncha O'Callaghan, B Holland (D Ryan 55); T O'Donnell, N Ronan, P Butler (P O'Mahony 55).

Ref --D Phillips (IRFU)

Irish Independent

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