We’re live in Wales as Munster return to the scene of Tony McGahan’s final match in charge to face the out-of-sorts Pro12 champions.
Full time: Ospreys 30 – 15 Munster
18.27 – Afternoon folks, we’re almost ready to rock at the Liberty Stadium where Rob Penney is supremely confident of taking yet another Pro12 wins.
The champions began the season with a stutter, but they’ll love the sight of a red jersey to convince them that big, big games are afoot.
Here are your teams
Munster: D Hurley; D Howlett (c), K Earls, C Laulala, S Zebo; R O’Gara, C Murray; W Du Preez, M Sherry, S Archer; D O’Callaghan, B Holland, T O’Donnell, N Ronan, P Butler.
Replacements: D Varley, D Kilcoyne, BJ Botha, D Ryan, P O’Mahony, P Stringer, I Keatley, J Downey.
Ospreys: R Fussell; H Dirksen, A Bishop, A Beck, T Isaacs; D Biggar, K Fotuali’i; R Bevington, R Hibbard, A Jarvis; A Wyn Jones (c), I Evans; R Jones, J Tipuric, J Bearman.
Replacements: S Baldwin, D Jones, A Jones, J Thomas, G Stowers, R Webb, M Morgan, R Jones.
18.45 – Both sides began fully intent on running the ball, but with defences well set it has descended into a bit of a scrappy affair. After O’Gara slices a penalty clearance Munster concede possession and are then pinged for holding on.
Kickable chance for Biggar…
18.46 – PENALTY: Ospreys 3 – 0 Munster (Biggar’ 11)
No problem for Biggar. He’s often inconsistent , but if he continues firing like this – a 35 yard effort on the angle from the left – Munster must ensure they cut out the penalties in their own half.
18.49 – And, just as I right that, Hanno Dirksen has engineered another opportunity, kicking past Zimon Zebo and making a meal of the winger’s decrease in pace.
PENALTY: Ospreys 6 – 0 Munster (Biggar ‘ 14)
Conor Murray is back on the field, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from Strings later.
18.51 – Well, no sooner does Murray return to the field than the camera pans over to him. His wound was all taped up, no problem there, but as the physio and doctor approached him he didn’t really look like he was in possession of all his senses. Apparent concussion.
Peter Stringer is on, permanently this time.
18.56 – Stephen Archer is penalised for bringing the scrum down near half way and Biggar opts for a line-out. The fly-half calls the move on himself and he breaks the line, Munster bailed out by a big hit by Butler sending the ball flying forward out of Biggar’s grasp.
19.03 – PENALTY: Ospreys 13 – 3 Munster (O’Gara ’25)
The old warhorse has the southern province on the score-sheet. No problem with his form off the tee. Straight through the middle of the uprights from the right wing.
19.08 – Simon Zebo is imposing himself on the game. An excellent clearance kick is followed up with an excellent take off a high Ospreys ball. unfortunately, there’s only so much a winger can do to turn a game.
The home side are vastly superior at the breakdown, this time Butler is penalised for sealing off a millisecond before Justin Tipuric comes up with the ball in his hands.
19.11 – The black shirts were in complete control in that attack, but after drawing another penalty from the visitors, Biggar inexplicably curls his shot wide of the near post.
Dudley Phillips having a word with Howlett about the penalty count, but they follow up positively from the 22; spinning the ball wide to the right where Earls and Laulala earned a good 30 yards.
19.15 – Much better from Munster off a line-out on the Ospreys’ 10-metre line. They quickly spin it left where Howlett finds a gap and then Earls outside him. The red shirts heave towards the tryline through the pack before again turning to the backs. Hurley was closest to a score, but on the next phase they knock on.
Didn’t catch the number there, but it’s currently an Ospreys scrum in front of their own posts.
19.18 – PENALTY: Ospreys 13 – 6 Munster (O’Gara ’39)
19.34 – PENALTY Ospreys 13 – 9 (O’Gara ’42)
ROG keeps the scoreboard ticking over with a 45 metre arrow, another lump from the confidence of the home side after Ryan Jones gifted him the chance at goal.
19.39 – PENALTY Ospreys 16 – 9 Munster (Biggar ’47)
Well, no doubt that Alun Wyn Jones is in charge of this team. Ospreys go back to basics and simply maul the life out of Munster. They rove through the heart of the red defence until is is pulled down on the 22.
SIN-BIN Tommy O’Donnell will not see minutes 47 to 57 of this game.
19.48 – Doug Howlett has packed down with the scrum. desperation causes them to hit early – twice – and Rpb Penney has readied five burly men to spring from the bench.
PENALTY TRY: Ospreys 23 – 9 Munster
Doug Howlett cannot stop the black shirts marching forward three metres. Archer pops up and so too does the referees arm. Easy conversion for Biggar.
19.55 – PENALTY: Ospreys 23 -12 Munster (O’Gara ’60)
Well, Penney introduces Peter O’Mahony, Donnacha Ryan and BJ Botha from the bench and they are soon followed by Ian Keatley, but only after ROG lands his fourth penalty from four attempts.
Is that one last roll of the dice and a change of tack? Or are the Kiwi’s eyes being drawn to next week’s inter-pro in the Aviva. RoG will be fresh and in decent form, that’s for sure.
20.02 – PENALTY: Ospreys 23- 15 Munster (Keatley ’67)
The newly strengthened pack has definitely given the visitors a new lease of life. A black shirt pinged for running offside and the apprentice picks up where the master left off.
Munster in the game here and it is beginning to open up.
20.15 – Munster now faced with a challenge of preventing Ospreys claiming a bonus point. From a penalty, Biggar drills the ball for a line-out eight metres from try number four.
20.24 – FULL TIME: Ospreys 30 – 15 Munster
There’s the full time whistle, folks. Munster comprehensively outplayed for all bar 15 minutes of this encounter. The home side were vastly superior at the breakdown and, for the most part, at the set-piece.
Still, plenty of reasons to be positive for the southern province. They are intent on running the ball (though sometimes against better judgement) ROG is in form and they will have some big beefy forwards fresh and ready to go against Leinster next week.
Still, against the champions, it’s a big fat zero in the try-count and a big fat zero in terms of league points accrued tonight.
That’s it for my liveblog of the game, be sure to check back later for reaction from this game and the rest of the Pro12 action this weekend.