Munster Ospreys

Munster Ospreys. Pic: Getty Images

We’re On The Way Back, Insists Justin Tipuric After Ospreys Go Down Fighting

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By David Williams

Justin Tipuric admitted the Ospreys were “ground down” by Munster after the only Welsh team to make the knockout stages of the United Rugby Championship fell to a 23-7 defeat in Limerick.

The former Wales star captained an Ospreys team who put up an admirable showing against the champions, without ever looking likely to make it into the last four.

Their head coach, Toby Booth, wants his team to become a play-off side after a number of years in the doldrums and he could feel proud of the effort of his team.

Their dogged defence kept them in the game for long periods, they responded with a great try two minutes after Simon Zebo had scored and provided stiff opposition throughout.

In the end, though, they conceded far too many penalties due to the pressure put on them by Munster.

That allowed the home side to dominate territory and enabled player of the match Jack Crowley to kick three vital penalties – to add to Niall Scannell’s try – to put the game virtually out of sight on the hour mark.

Tipuric said: “We’re disappointed. We thought we could have got something just before half-time and that could have made it a different game.

“But Munster are a top side and just ground us down. We gave everything but perhaps the discipline let us down in the second half.

“We don’t like to lose but we’ve reached two quarter-finals this season so hopefully we’re heading in the right direction to get this club back to where it belongs.”

Munster head coach Graham Rowntree said: “It was job done without being perfect. They threw everything at us and we did well in defence.

“Elements of our attack were good but they held us out so we had to keep our composure, we kicked really well in the second half and took the points when we could. It was nothing glamourous but that’s knockout rugby.”

The game got off to an explosive start with Zebo opening the scoring inside two minutes for the home side and then new Wales squad member Keelan Giles replying three minutes later.

Both tries were converted, both teams reminded this was going to be a tight tussle.

To their credit, Booth’s Ospreys fought tooth and nail from start to finish and made life very difficult for the holders.

There was only one more try in the game, from home hooker Scannell, and the rest of the points came from the boot of player of the match Crowley.

A week on from their win over Cardiff at Judgement Day that clinched their ticket into the play-offs the visitors achieved a 94% tackle completion and gave Munster a tough time at the scrum.

They also tested them in attack and Giles’ score was a cracker.

Far from being disheartened by conceding so early, the Welsh region took full advantage of some excellent advantage play on offer from Scottish referee Hollie Davidson and quick hands from Owen Watkin and Morgan Morris gave Giles the chance to show off his speed and finishing skills as he raced 30 metres to score.

Owen Williams added the extras and it was all square. Scannell’s try, from a driving line-out, and five points from Crowley’s boot made it 17-7 at the break.

Munster had to flex their muscles in defence just before half-time to bring down Jac Morgan inches short and then earned a penalty from an Ospreys scum five metres out.

That enabled them to stay ahead and it was Crowley’s boot that completed the picture after the break.

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