Thursday 12 December 2019

Foley looks for a big performance in Glasgow

Munster 17 Ospreys 21

Robin Copeland goes over to score Munster’s third try against Ospreys in Irish Independent Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Robin Copeland goes over to score Munster’s third try against Ospreys in Irish Independent Park. Photo: Sportsfile
Francis Saili, Munster, goes over to score his side's second try. Photo: Sportsfile
Shane Buckley, Munster, is tackled by Rory Thornton, left, and Dan Baker. Photo: Sportsfile

John Fallon

This was a dismal way to end a disappointing weekend for Irish rugby as Munster, poised for a bonus point win, somehow managed to throw it all away at Irish Independent Park.

After the losses to Leinster and Connacht, this was a third successive home defeat in the Pro12 for Munster which leaves them with a lot of work to do to secure a semi-final spot.

The recovery by Ospreys also revives their play-off hopes and closes the gap on Munster and the other Irish teams.

And with Glasgow Warriors hoping to do the same when they meet Anthony Foley's men next Friday, the cost of this defeat could be significant.

The Glasgow game, brought forward by 24 hours last week, leaves Munster with little time to dwell on this loss but Foley conceded the mental damage might be as significant as the physical cost as they bid to turn things around.

"It's already a tough trip. You're going over and playing on a 4G surface as well so it's just important that the boys get the recovery in, both mental and physical as well.

"It's how we pick up ourselves up after a home loss so that we can go on the road and look for a win."

His men looked good for a bonus point win when Darren Sweetnam put Robin Copeland through for their third try to make it 17-10 after 51 minutes.

Sam Davies cancelled the opening try from Duncan Williams after 12 minutes when the Munster scrum-half charged down a clearance from his opposite number Brendon Leonard.

Francis Saili got the score of the match with his first competitive try for Munster when he danced around Ben John to score and lead 12-10 at the interval but the introduction of Welsh scrum-half Rhys Webb energised Ospreys and replacement Owen Watkin got the key score on the hour to put them ahead for the first time.

Munster: A Conway; D Sweetnam, F Saili, R Scannell, R O'Mahony; I Keatley, D Williams (T O'Leary 71); D Kilcoyne, M Sherry (N Scannell 54), J Ryan (M Sagario 71); D Foley, M Chisholm (S Buckley 62); B Holland, J O'Donoghue, R Copeland.

Ospreys: D Evans; T Grabham, JJ Engelbrecht, J Matavesi (O Watkin 45), B John; S Davies, B Leonard (R Webb 51, T Habberfield 79)); N Smith (G Thomas 51), S Parry (S Otten 65), D Arhip (M Fia 10); R Bernardo (A Beard 71), R Thornton; J Bearman (O Cracknell 51), S Underhill, D Baker.

REF - L Hodges (WRU)

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