Munster progress to URC semi-finals as streak continues with win over Ospreys

Planet Rugby
Munster full-back Simon Zebo makes a break.

Munster full-back Simon Zebo makes a break.

Munster made it 10 victories in a row in the United Rugby Championship (URC) on Friday night after they beat the Ospreys 23-7 in their quarter-final at Thomond Park.

Tries from Simon Zebo and Niall Scannell as well as 13 points from the boot of Jack Crowley saw Graham Rowntree’s charges claim a streetwise victory on home soil.

Keelan Giles scored the Welsh region’s only try that was converted by Owen Williams as the Ospreys‘ impressive late-season surge in the URC was brought to an end in Ireland.

Click here for scorers

It was a rapid-fire start from both teams, with Gavin Coombes releasing Zebo on his outside to extend his all-time Munster record to 73 tries. Crowley converted from the right.

Ospreys hit back with a high-quality seven-pointer when Reuben Morgan-Williams’ deft kick was fastened onto by Owen Watkin, who combined with Morgan Morris to send Giles flying over on a brilliantly-angled 40-metre run.

Munster’s powerful maul drew them back into range by the end of the opening quarter, and hooker Scannell scored under Keiran Williams’ challenge with Crowley converting again.

Ospreys held firm off the next maul, although Crowley punished his opposite number Owen Williams for not rolling away to make it 17-7 in the 27th minute.

Munster player ratings: ‘Masterful’ Jack Crowley steers holders into URC semi-finals

The Welsh side got on top approaching the interval, but Dewi Lake was tackled into touch from a lineout, and a late bout of pressure ended with Munster winning a scrum penalty.

As the rain came down, Ospreys number eight Morris did well to deny Coombes an early second-half try. Captain Justin Tipuric led their next defensive stand to keep the margin at 10 points.

Despite Ospreys holding out again near the hour mark, the resulting scrum saw Munster force a close-in penalty which Crowley sent over for a 20-7 advantage.

Crowley raised the flags again after Huw Sutton had infringed at a ruck. He dropped a long-range effort short in the 68th minute.

A week on from their Round 18 heroics, Ospreys were struggling to get out of their own half, and despite Luke Davies’ blindside break and kick chase, Munster gave very little away.

The teams

Munster: 15 Simon Zebo, 14 Calvin Nash, 13 Antoine Frisch, 12 Seán O’Brien, 11 Shane Daly, 10 Jack Crowley, 9 Craig Casey, 8 Gavin Coombes, 7 John Hodnett, 6 Peter O’Mahony, 5 Tadhg Beirne (c), 4 RG Snyman, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Jeremy Loughman
Replacements: 16 Diarmuid Barron, 17 John Ryan, 18 Oli Jager, 19 Jack O’Donoghue, 20 Alex Kendellen, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Tony Butler, 23 Mike Haley

Ospreys: 15 Max Nagy, 14 Luke Morgan, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Justin Tipuric (c), 6 Jac Morgan, 5 Huw Sutton, 4 James Ratti, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Rhys Henry, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Morgan Morse, 21 Luke Davies, 22 Luke Scully, 23 Harri Houston

Referee: Hollie Davidson (SRU)
Assistant referees: Andrea Piardi (FIR), Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR)
TMO: Andrew McMenemy (SRU)

READ MORE: James Ryan returns to lead Leinster as Bulls and Stormers miss key Springboks for URC quarter-finals