Tuesday 26 September 2017

Late try hero Kilcoyne sends the Reds back to the summit

Ospreys 23 Munster 25

Dave Kilcoyne of Munster crashes over to score the last-gasp try Photo: Sportsfile
Dave Kilcoyne of Munster crashes over to score the last-gasp try Photo: Sportsfile

Alex Bywater

Dave Kilcoyne was Munster's hero as the prop secured a last-gasp Guinness Pro12 victory over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

The top-of-the-table clash ended with prop Kilcoyne diving over with just two minutes to go, Tyler Bleyendaal's conversion ensuring Rassie Erasmus's men came from behind to seal a dramatic victory and move to the league's summit once again.

In a tight encounter, Hanno Dirksen and Kieron Fonotia had exchanged first-half scores with Jack O'Donoghue and Francis Saili, with Sam Davies and Munster skipper Bleyendaal booting the rest of the points. Davies' second-half penalty had looked like winning it for the home side, but Kilcoyne ended up having the last laugh.

Bleyendaal's early penalty gave Munster the perfect start, but the initial stages of the half saw Erasmus's side on the back foot.

With seven of Wales' Six Nations squad available to them and on the back of a 13-match unbeaten run, the Ospreys looked full of confidence. That self-belief was soon evident, with Munster forced to defend for long periods of the first half.

Sam Underhill and James King combined to put Dirksen over for the Ospreys' first, before poor tackling from the men in red saw Fonotia power through to get to the line. Fly-half Davies booted both conversions and a penalty and it could have been even worse for the visitors had Ashley Beck's try not been rightly ruled out for a forward pass.

Tyler Bleyendaal of Munster kicks a penalty Photo by Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile
Tyler Bleyendaal of Munster kicks a penalty Photo by Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile

At that stage Munster were firmly on the back foot but, benefiting from the home side's overconfidence, they rallied to go into the break just two points down.

Davies and Bleyendaal swapped kicks at goal, and then two tries within five minutes from O'Donoghue and Saili gave Munster hope. No 8 O'Donoghue powered over from the back of a line-out and centre Saili just reached for the line, Bleyendaal converting the second of those scores.

Saili had ended the first period on a high but on the game's resumption he was lucky to avoid a yellow card for a no-arms tackle on Beck. His effort saw Beck have another try ruled out, this time by the TMO, as the game approached the hour mark with just two points between the teams.

Munster had made 105 first-half tackles compared to just 35 from the Ospreys, but the second half was much closer.

Francis Saili of Munster crosses the line for his sides second try Photo by Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile
Francis Saili of Munster crosses the line for his sides second try Photo by Darren Griffiths/Sportsfile

A tight, tactical battle emerged and although the home side had more of the ball, there was now little between the teams. Just before the hour mark Davies booted the first points of the second half and that looked like being enough to give the home side victory.

But Munster rallied with their bench making an impact and Kilcoyne's late effort with just two minutes to go, converted by Bleyendaal, was just reward for their impressive resilience.

Scorers - Munster: Kilcoyne, O'Donoghue, Saili try each; Bleyendaal 2 pens, 2 cons; Ospreys: Dirkson, Fonotia try each; Davies 3 pens, 2 cons.

Ospreys: Evans (Leonard 52); Giles (John 54), Fonotia, Beck, Dirksen; Davies, Habberfield (capt); Smith (James 63), Baldwin (Parry 54), Jones (Suter 58), Ashley (Ardron 66), Thornton, Cracknell (Baker 53), Underhill, King.

Munster: Keatley (Conway 46); Sweetman, Saili, Scannell, O'Mahony (Goggin 73); Bleyendaal (capt), Williams; Kilcoyne (McCabe 79), Marshall (O'Byrne 54), Ryan (Archer 75), O'Shea (Foley 46), Holland, O'Callaghan, O'Donnell (Oliver 71), O'Donoghue.

Referee: M Mitrea (Italy).

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