Munster slip to Ospreys defeat as Heineken Cup semi looms
25 April 2010 07:00am
Ronan O'Gara suffers nightmare day with the boot
Munster suffered the worst possible preparation for next weekend's Heineken Cup semi-final at Toulouse as they slipped to a 15-11 Magners League defeat against Ospreys.
Ospreys have impressed to lie second in the league this season but the Welsh region had never won at Thomond Park and Munster head coach Sean Holley made his intentions clear with an all-star line-up.
But Ospreys fly-half Dan Biggar was in clinical mood with the boot and kicked five penalties from five as Munster slipped to a second consecutive home Magners League defeat for the first time in seven seasons.
Biggar's opposite number and Irish international Ronan O'Gara was enjoying less success from the ground and missed two penalties as Munster found themselves 6-3 down at half time.
Another three penalties from Biggar stretched Ospreys' lead to 12 with James Coughlan's yellow card on 51 minutes making matters worse for the hosts.
Welsh captain Ryan Jones' late yellow card allowed Munster back in as O'Gara crossed to reduce the deficit to four with ten minutes remaining.
But the Red Army couldn't find a way through at the death and remain fourth in the league with a final match at Cardiff Blues in two weeks likely to decide their play-off fate.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.