Saturday 20 January 2018

We'll learn from silly mistakes – Penney

Munster 12 Ospreys 6

Munster’s Ronan O'Mahony attempts to give Ospreys’ Richard Fussell the slip at Thomond Park on Saturday DIARMUID GREENE / SPORTSFILE
Munster’s Ronan O'Mahony attempts to give Ospreys’ Richard Fussell the slip at Thomond Park on Saturday DIARMUID GREENE / SPORTSFILE

John Fallon

The school of hard knocks continues to punish Munster but coach Rob Penney believes that harsh lessons will be the making of them.

Last year it was Conor Murray away to Racing Metro and this season it was JJ Hanrahan in Edinburgh who messed up, while on Saturday night promising young winger Ronan O'Mahony was the latest to err and Ospreys were able to snatch a scarcely deserved bonus point.

Munster should have put Ospreys away long before that. Matthew Morgan, who had moments earlier made a hash of a penalty from the left, then messed up a drop goal effort and Italian referee Giuseppe Vivarini once more went to the busy TMO Jude Quinn to seek a ruling on whether O'Mahony had carried the ball back over his own try line before touching down.

It was a close call, even after repeated viewings, but Ospreys got the decision and then forced a penalty following the five-metre scrum. Morgan nailed it for the bonus point.

"From where I was sitting, I thought he caught with one foot in and then the back foot touched down afterwards," said Penney.

"I thought 'he's carried it back', but then on the replay his front foot was closer to the white line, probably pierced the chalk and then his back foot came down afterwards, which would indicate that he's in-goal.

"But it's one of those situations where, you know, I'm not going to be looking at TMOs or whoever.

"The key thing for us is don't put yourself in that position. There was an opportunity for Ronan to just take it out two or three yards and boot it in to the grandstand. But he just second-guessed himself – he hasn't had a lot of experience out there yet and he'll learn from that. It won't happen again I don't think.

UNIQUE

"In the first half we had moments that put us in positions we shouldn't have been in as well, so you can't say it's all Ronan's fault for the one point. Those moments are learning opportunities and I doubt that will ever happen again, it was a pretty unique one."

TMO Quinn seemed to be busier than some of the players and was constantly called into action during a disappointing encounter – even allowing for the absence of a lot of internationals – where the regular interruptions did little to help the game flow.

Munster were celebrating an Ivan Dineen try before the break when Quinn was called into action for an Ospreys scrum in the build-up, which Munster turned over.

"The ball can't come out the same channel it goes into and it was probably a fair ruling," admitted Penney.

The next intervention from the TMO went with Munster when Tito Tebaldi was adjudged not to have released the ball when he was driven over the line six minutes after restart.

Munster took a 6-3 lead into the break after their earlier superiority was rewarded with a couple of penalties from Ian Keatley before Morgan responded for Ospreys.

The hosts held the upper hand for large chunks of the second half but could not turn that into scores and secured their first tryless league win under Penney.

Ospreys, who have been a bogey team in recent years for the Reds, should have been sent packing empty-handed from Limerick but they persevered to the end and were rewarded.

Still, Munster go into the break top of the pile with six wins from seven outings – it was four from seven this time last year – and Penney felt this was the sort of game they might have lost last season.

"The pleasing thing is that the group is able to, even in difficult conditions and on a tough night when things weren't flowing as well as everyone would like, come out with a result, which is what you're about this time of year. Probably this time last year we would have struggled to come out on top of ones like those," he said.

"It's early days but it's nice to be in a position where hopefully we can use this as a launching pad over the Christmas period and cement that place on the table so we put ourselves in contention later on in the year."

MUNSTER – F Jones; J Murphy, C Laulala, I Dineen, R O'Mahony; I Keatley (JJ Hanrahan 64), D Williams (C Sheridan 56); D Kilcoyne (J Cronin 71), D Varley, BJ Botha (J Ryan 40); Donncha O'Callaghan, D Foley; Dave O'Callaghan (B Holland 71), S Dougall (J Coughlan 60), CJ Stander.

OSPREYS – R Fussell (S Davies 64); A Natoga (H Dirksen 50), J Spratt, A Bishop, B John; M Morgan, T Tibaldi (T Habberfield 71); M Thomas (N Smith 67), S Baldwin, J Rees (D Suter 71); L Peers, J King (R Hughes 68); J Bearman, S Lewis, M Allen.

REF – G Vivarini (FIR)

Irish Independent

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