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Payback Time For The Ospreys?

December 5, 2009 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

The Ospreys see the visit of Munster this afternoon as the ideal opportunity to settle an old score according to their Kiwi back row Marty Holah.

"Our performances against Munster last season were very disappointing." he told Mark Orders in today’s South Wales Evening Post. "But things don’t always stay the same. 

Last season Munster scored over 100 points in their three wins over the Welsh region but it may be the Heineken Cup quarter final defeat that rankles the most. "While we can’t do anything about the way we played against Munster in the Heineken Cup last term," he says, " I don’t think we’ll have a repeat performance.We have really good ideas and a smart game-plan to bring to the table on Saturday."

And the 33 year old who won 32 caps for his native New Zealand also feels that this could be a Munster side who’ve lost their edge, " Maybe the Munster we’ve seen this term isn’t the Munster we’ve come to expect over the past couple of years, " he ventures.

The Ospreys are without big-hitters such as Lee Byrne, Adam Jones, Mike Phillips, Ryan Jones and Ian Gough while head coach Sean Holley has left James Hook on the bench.

Munster arrived in Swansea without Marcus Horan, Jerry Flannery, David Wallace and Denis Leamy and give their Sprinboks prop Wian du Preez his first start while Doug Howlett returns to action after injury in the game against Benetton Treviso.

Both coaches share the same challenge of integrating players back into the fold after the autumn international series and with European matches looming this afternoon’s encounter means much more than just the Magners League points that are on offer.

Munster: P Warwick; D Howlett, J de Villiers, L Mafi, K Earls; R O’Gara, T O’Leary; W du Preez, D Fogarty, J Hayes; D O’Callaghan, P O’Connell; A Quinlan, N Ronan, J Coughlan. Replacements: D Varley, T Buckley, D Ryan, N Williams, P Stringer, I Dowling, D Hurley.

Ospreys: G Owen; T Bowe, S Parker, A Bishop, N Walker; D Biggar, L Davies; D Jones, R Hibbard, C Mitchell; A-Wyn Jones, J Thomas; J Collins, M Holah, F Tiatia. Replacements: H Bennett, P James, C Griffiths, A Lloyd, B Lewis, R Webb, J Hook.

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Munster Come Up Short at Liberty

December 5, 2009 12:00 am By Munster Rugby

Despite a late flurry that yielded a try for a bonus losing point, Munster will be disappointed coming away from the Liberty Stadium following their 19-14 defeat tp Ospreys.

They dominated territorially in the opening half and led 7-6 after the home side conceded a penalty try in the 12th minute, two Dan Biggar penalties keeping his side in touch.

 

However within minutes of the restart Munster were trailing and reduced to 14 men. Tommy Bowe was the beneficiary of a clearly forward pass on his way to scoring in the corner and shortly after Denis Fogarty was binned for coming in from the side.

 

Munster were fortunate not to concede a try when replacement Paul James knocked on over the line but Ospreys came away from that period of pressure with a Biggar drop goal and the out-half added a 63rd minute penalty that really put this game beyond Munster.

 

They once again ended up reduced to 14 when James Coughlan was yellow-carded with 15 minutes remaining but they then played some of the best football for Williams to crash over wide on the right.

 

Ronan O’Gara who had missed much easier kicks landed a superb conversion and in the closing stages Denis Hurley, a replacement for Jean de Villiers almost did a reprise of his match winning act from earlier this year against the Scarlets, with a run down the right as Munster battled to save this game.                                           

 

Munster: P Warwick, D Howlett (I Dowling), J de Villiers (D Hurley), L Mafi, K Earls, R O’Gara, T O’Leary (P Stringer), W du Preez, D Fogarty (D Varley), J Hayes (T Buckley), D O’Callaghan, D Ryan (M O’Driscoll 57 min), A Quinlan, N Ronan, J Coughlan, (N. Williams).                                                                   

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