Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

Match Page 2017-18 - H2H WP: 136

Match Page 2017-18 - Last 3 Matches WP: 142

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Preview: Ospreys v Munster

Ross Lawson 15 Sep 2017

Last season’s beaten finalists Munster will look to maintain their perfect Guinness PRO14 season record when they travel to Ospreys for a 3:15pm kick-off on Saturday at the Liberty Stadium.

What’s at stake? The two faced off in the semi-final in the previous campaign with Munster prevailing, and now making the trip to the Liberty Stadium looking to defend their three-match winning run against the Welsh side. With two bonus-point wins from their opening two matches, Munster are the only team on a perfect ten in Conference A, with Glasgow Warriors the only other side victorious in both matches to date. Meanwhile, Ospreys were victorious in their only previous home match, against Zebre, looking to replicate the form that saw them win their first seven home outings last year – a run ended by Munster.

Team news (Ospreys): James Hook comes into the Ospreys centres in place of Kieron Fonotia, a move which sees Cory Allen shift from 12 to 13. That’s the only change in the backs, while Dan Baker comes in for Olly Cracknell in the back row, with James King transferring from No.8 to flanker.

Team news (Munster): Like last weekend, the one change comes in the half-backs with Tyler Bleyendaal returning to captain the side in the 10 jersey. Should he appear off the bench, Irish international John Ryan will make his 100th appearance for the province having made his debut against Cardiff Blues in September 2011.

Talking points: A dependable part of the Munster side since 2011, a deserved three figures are set to come John Ryan’s way if he comes off Saturday’s replacements bench. Coming into his own last year, Ryan was nominated by his teammates for the 2017 Munster Rugby Senior Player of the Year, with the tighthead prop also named in the 2016–17 Guinness PRO12 Dream Team.

Key Battle: Lighting up the competition last year, Keelan Giles has been a revelation to the Ospreys wing – both in the Guinness PRO14 and in European competition. He’ll take the 14 jersey on Saturday, operating on the same flank as Munster counterpart Alex Wootton, who simply dazzled for his side last week. The wing scored four tries against the Toyota Cheetahs and, with confidence flying high, will be keen to make sure he can repeat the trick.

Key Stat: Munster have won seven of the last eight meetings with Ospreys, including the 23-3 victory in last season’s semi-final.

Did you know? Munster are in the midst of their best-ever away record in the Championship having won on each of their last eight trips away from home since losing in Leinster in round six last season.

Ospreys: D Evans; K Giles, C Allen, J Hook, J Hassler; S Davies, T Habberfield; P James, S Parry, M Fia; B Davies, L Ashley; J King, J Tipuric, D Baker

Replacements: S Baldwin, N Smith, R Jones, A Beard, D Lydiate, M Aubrey, D Biggar, K Fonotia

Munster: A Conway; D Sweetnam, C Farrell, J Taute, A Wootton; T Bleyendaal, D Williams; L O’Connor, R Marshall, S Archer; J Kleyn, B Holland; S O’Connor, T O’Donnell, J O’Donoghue

Replacements: N Scannell, J Cronin, J Ryan, F Wycherley, R Copeland, J Hart, R Scannell, S Zebo

TV: Sky Sports Action/TG4 (KO 3.10pm)

Match officials – Referee: Stuart Berry (SARU), AR1: Dan Jones (WRU), AR2: Adam Jones (WRU), TMO: Tim Hayes (WRU)

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Three victories on the spin for Munster after battling win over Ospreys

Jimmy Booker 16 Sep 2017

First-half tries from Jean Kleyn and Darren Sweetnam was enough for Munster Rugby as they battled past a gutsy Ospreys to stay top of Conference A and make it three Guinness PRO14 wins in a row.

The scores cancelled out James Hook’s early try for the hosts as the sides battled tricky conditions in south Wales.

The Irish outfit had registered two bonus point victories from two going into the clash at the Liberty Stadium, and struck the first blow when Tyler Bleyendaal slotted home a penalty on nine minutes, having missed two earlier kicks.

However, Hook charged over from the 22 as Ospreys replied immediately, Sam Davies, who kicked impressively all afternoon, making no mistake with the extras.

But back came Munster, and South Africa lock Kleyn crashed over for his third try in three games, Bleyendaal adding the two as the visitors opened up a 10-7 advantage.

The ball was in the air for much of the half as both sides searched for a way to trouble the opposition defences.

And it was the visitors who secured the crucial score, and stretched their advantage further four minutes before half-time. Wing Sweetnam crossed the whitewash after smart link up play between Chris Farrell and Sean O’Connor.

Ospreys rallied and moved with a score of the visitors at the start of the second half, Davies landing a monster kick from distance after Munster were penalised for offside.

However, this was short-lived, as Tyler returned the favour moments later after prop Ma’afu Fia was brought back for trying to halt a Munster attack.

Steve Tandy shuffled his back and brought on Guy Mercer and Adam Beard for Dan Lydiate and Lloyd Ashley, while John Ryan took to the turf for his 100th Munster appearance, coming on for Stephen Archer.

Davies kicked a second penalty of the afternoon as the hosts stayed in touch, and he added a third on 63 minutes from near the half-way line as Ospreys chipped the deficit down to just two points.

The Welsh side hammered away at the Munster defence, but the visitors stood tall and kept the hosts at bay.

And Bleyendaal slotted over another penalty four minutes from time to give Munster breathing space.

Despite Ospreys enjoying late possession, Keelan Giles was forced into touch as Munster made it three victories from three and emerge as the team to beat in Conference A.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138