Wednesday 21 February 2018

Erasmus insists Reds have plenty work to do ahead of Glasgow clash

Ospreys 16 Munster 21

Jean Kleyn touches down for Munster’s first try against Ospreys. Photo: Sportsfile
Jean Kleyn touches down for Munster’s first try against Ospreys. Photo: Sportsfile

Alex Bywater

Munster director of rugby, Rassie Erasmus, has challenged his players to improve further despite a third straight Guinness PRO14 victory of the season.

At the Liberty Stadium, the visitors were dominant and would have won by more had Tyler Bleyendaal arrived in South Wales with his kicking boots.

Tommy O'Donnell of Munster is tackled by Jeff Hassler and Tom Habberfield of Ospreys. Photo: Sportsfile
Tommy O'Donnell of Munster is tackled by Jeff Hassler and Tom Habberfield of Ospreys. Photo: Sportsfile

Tries from Man of the Match Jean Kleyn and wing Darren Sweetnam were enough to seal success and Bleyendaal eventually ended the game with a conversion and three penalties.

Erasmus was nonetheless at pains to point out his belief that Munster must go up a level if they are to make it four from four away to Glasgow on Friday night. "We made a lot of errors, but we managed to grind out the win. We have a lot of work to do if we are going to beat Glasgow next week," he said.

"It was a very scrappy game, but we played under par, particularly in the second half. I was very concerned and very nervous at that point and we made a number of individual errors.

"There are plenty of things for us to sort, but I'm just pleased to get the win."

Chris Farrell of Munster is tackled by Ma'afu Fia, left, and Justin Tipuric of Ospreys. Photo: Sportsfile
Chris Farrell of Munster is tackled by Ma'afu Fia, left, and Justin Tipuric of Ospreys. Photo: Sportsfile

The Ospreys were poor and head coach Steve Tandy hit out at his players for what he perceived as a lack of effort. James Hook scored their try with a sublime solo effort and out-half Sam Davies kicked 11 points, but Munster fully deserved to come out on top.

Kleyn was the game's stand-out performer and he echoed Erasmus' words. "We are pleased, but with any performance, there are things to work on and that's the case again," said the former Western Province and Stormers forward. "All the credit has to go to the pack.

"We've got good leadership and we kept a lid on the panic quite well. When we realised it wasn't all going our way, we just regrouped and worked a little bit harder on what we needed to do."

Successful

Bleyendaal had surprisingly missed with two simple early penalty efforts. He was successful at the third time of trying, but the Ospreys quickly went up the other end to hit back.

Former Wales star Hook rolled back the years, weaving his way past four Munster tacklers to make it to the line. Davies converted.

Despite the score, Munster remained dominant up front with their scrum well on top.

Kleyn was driven over and there was still time before the break for Chris Farrell to hit the gas. When the ball was recycled, Jaco Taute's long ball gave Sweetnam an easy finish.

In the second half, driving rain meant whoever won the forward battle would win the game. Munster did that and although Davies kicked three penalties, two from Bleyendaal meant the Irish raiders went home happy, albeit without a bonus point.

Glasgow are the next opponents for Erasmus's men. The Scottish side are familiar foes, with the two teams having met on four occasions last season.

"We made some mistakes we didn't want to and on Monday, we'll go back to the drawing board to correct those for the Glasgow game. It's going to be a big one," Kleyn said.

"Glasgow will be a tough opponent. We played them more than enough last season so we know what they're about. They are always a competitive side and we're going to have to put in the hard yards this week."

OSPREYS: D Evans (Biggar 78); K Giles, C Allen (K Fonotia 54), J Hook, J Hassler; S Davies, T Habberfield; PJames (N Smith 40), S Parry (S Baldwin 40), M Fia (R Jones 75), B Davies, L Ashley (A Beard 52), D Lydiate (G Mercer 52), J Tipuric (capt), D Baker.

MUNSTER: A Conway (S Zebo 64); D Sweetnam, C Farrell, J Taute (R Scannell 55), A Wootton; T Bleyendaal (capt), D Williams; L O'Connor (J Cronin 52), R Marshall (N Scannell 52), S Archer (J Ryan 52),J Kleyn, B Holland, S O'Connor (R Copeland 66), T O'Donnell, J O'Donoghue.

REF - S Berry (South Africa)

Irish Independent

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