Munster 14 Ospreys 19: Three talking points
Munster 14 Ospreys 19: Three talking points as Dan Biggar impresses at Thomond Park
Biggar inspires impressive Ospreys win
After an impressive performance against Edinburgh in Swansea last week, Dan Biggar again showed Wales head coach Warren Gatland Welsh public why he should be first-choice outside-half for the autumn internationals series with a masterclass in Limerick. The Ospreys 10 dominated play in the first half with ball in hands and with the boot, including several kicks from distance in difficult conditions as he ended with a 100 per cent kicking record. His half-back partner Rhys Webb may have picked up the man of the match award for the second match in a row, but Biggar controlled the match and marshalled his team all over the park along with captain Alun Wyn Jones. The 19-14 win saw the Ospreys join Glasgow Warriors in making it four wins from four and shows that this young Ospreys side could yet be top four material come May.
Out of sorts Munster lose again
Three times in front, Munster can have only themselves to blame for slumping to a second home defeat this season. They had plenty of chances to win this encounter as the penalty count stacked up against the Ospreys, but they were from the ruthless Munster of old who would have pounced all over any sniff of the tryline. The second half was a prime example as they struggled to get out of their half despite the wind at their backs, but given a glorious period of sustained pressure in the Ospreys 22 with minutes left on the clock, they struggled to break through a determined defensive effort and eventually coughed up possession at the death. As a former Munster player, new head coach Anthony Foley knows the culture at Munster well. It appears to be diminishing and the problem in the backs that existed last season have not been resolved despite the acquisition of Tyler Bleyendaal (injured) and Andrew Smith. Simon Zebo may have been rested, but he wouldn’t have made much of a difference here. These are worrying times for Munster.
Much more to come
Four from four for the Ospreys. Eighteen points, a truckload of tries, but they still look a few penalties short of a hiding. Not that penalties against them have been in short supply recently. Head coach Steve Tandy can often appear miserable, even in victory, but sat at home watching on Sky he can’t have been impressed with the way the penalty count racked up in the second half while waiting for his wife to give birth. They weren’t even contentious penalties. Just careless. For a team that strives for perfection, they still have a long way to go, but if they come close to it anytime soon, this team could really challenge Glasgow Warriors, Leinster and Ulster come the end of the season. Of the teams that finished outside of the top four last season, the Ospreys look to have used the summer to really work on their problem areas. That they are a relatively young squad makes their performances to date even more impressive. There are, however, big questions about how they cope with losing half-back duo Biggar and Webb, captain Jones and Tipuric during the international windows. The quartet are the heartbeat and leadership of all that the Ospreys do and will be giant holes to fill.