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Munster return to summit with win at Ospreys

Guinness PRO12 Editor 23 Feb 2014

James Downey helped himself to his first Munster try as the 2011 champions returned to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 with a 25-11 victory over Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

Ospreys hosted the Munstermen off the back of demolishing Treviso 75-7 last time out, their biggest victory since the region was formed in 2003.

But Munster brought their Welsh hosts crashing back down to earth and leapfrogged Leinster to climb back to the summit of the RaboDirect PRO12 thanks to tries from Sean Dougall, Simon Zebo and Downey.

Ian Keatley and JJ Hanrahan added the rest of the points from the tee while the Ospreys could only muster an Ashley Beck try and two Sam Davies penalties in reply.

The game was just five minutes old when Munster went in front. The Irish side’s pack was causing Ospreys all sorts of trouble early on and after a lineout and mail Dougall dotted down, Keatley adding the conversion for an early 7-0 lead.

Ten minutes later Keatley stretched the visitors’ lead as he sent over a penalty, before Davies responded with a three-pointer of his own just moments later.

On 26 minutes Keatley sent over his second penalty of the night but when Davies tries to follow suit just after half an hour he saw his effort cannon back off a post.

But on 38 minutes the Ospreys were well and truly back in the game as Beck shrugged off Keatley, skipped past two more would-be tacklers and dotted down.

Davies however failed to add the extras and a long-range penalty on the stroke of half-time from the fly-half meant Ospreys trailed 13-8 at half-time.

And just five minutes after the restart Munster gave their hosts a masterclass in making the most of their chances as wing Zebo picked up a loose ball and sped in down the wing, Keatley off target with the extras.

Hanno Dirksen came on for his 50th Ospreys appearance and on the hour mark the home side thought they had there second try only for Scott Baldwin’s effort to be ruled out for double movement.

On 67 minutes Davies did reduce the deficit with another penalty but just two minutes later Downey went in under the posts following a good lineout move for his first Munster score.

And things went from bad to worse for Ospreys before the final whistle as with just two minutes left Ryan Jones was sent to the sin bin, meaning they ended the contest with just 14 men.

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