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Munster end Ospreys’ unbeaten run to return to top

Munster captain Tyler Bleyendaal kicked 10 of their 25 points against Ospreys
Pro 12: Ospreys v Munster
Ospreys (20) 23
Tries: Dirksen, Fonotia Conv: Davies 2 Pens: Davies 2
Munster (18) 25
Tries: O’Donoghue, Saili, Kilcoyne Conv: Bleyendaal 2 Pens: Bleyendaal 2

Munster lifted themselves back to the top of the Pro12 with a hard-fought win against the Ospreys in Swansea.

Prop Dave Kilcoyne powered over for a try in the 78th minute with Munster captain Tyler Bleyendaal kicking the winning conversion.

This victory ended a 13-match unbeaten run for the Ospreys which stretched back to November.

Wales outside-half Sam Davies kicked 13 points with Ospreys tries from Hanno Dirksen and Kieron Fonotia.

Leinster had moved top on Friday with victory over Edinburgh but drop to second following Munster’s win, with the Ospreys remaining third.

Ospreys had seven Wales squad members released, including outside-half Davies, while teenage wing Keelan Giles returned after a hamstring injury.

Ireland internationals bolstered Ian Keatley, Billy Holland and John Ryan bolstered Munster, who had defeated Ospreys 33-0 in Cork in November.

Captain Tyler Bleyendaal opened the scoring for Munster with a penalty before a superb opening try from wing Hanno Dirksen following impressive build-up work from back-rowers Sam Underhill and James King.

New Zealand centre Kieron Fonotia side-stepped his way to the try line before his midfield partner Ashley Beck had a try disallowed because of a forward pass.

Davies and Bleyendaal exchanged penalties before Munster scored through number eight Jack O’Donoghue from a well-worked lineout move while centre Francis Saili wriggled over the Ospreys line.

Bleyendaal kicked the extras as the Ospreys led by just two points at the interval in a first-half they dominated.

A dramatic second half

Ospreys fly-half Sam Davies came on as a replacement during Wales’ Six Nations win over Italy on 5 February

In the second half, Beck had another try disallowed in the right-hand corner following the decision which was referred to Italian television match official Stefano Penne, with no action taken against a challenge from Saili.

Davies kicked his third penalty of the match but Munster responded and were denied a try for captain Bleyendaal by another TMO decision.

The Irish province piled on the pressure and were rewarded when prop Dave Kilcoyne powered over in the 78th minute to draw the scores level, before Bleyendaal kicked the winning conversion.

There was late drama as the Ospreys pressed and Munster thought they had won the game when they kicked the ball out.

Italian referee Marius Mitrea again called for the TMO, this time to adjudicate on a suspected high tackle from Munster replacement hooker Kevin O’Byrne on Ospreys scrum-half Brendon Leonard.

No action was taken, however, and Munster celebrated victory.

Ospreys: Dan Evans; Keelan Giles, Kieron Fonotia, Ashley Beck, Hanno Dirksen; Sam Davies, Tom Habberfield (capt); Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Rhodri Jones, Lloyd Ashley, Rory Thornton, Olly Cracknell, Sam Underhill, James King.

Replacements: Sam Parry, Paul James, Daniel Suter, Tyler Ardron, Dan Baker, Brendon Leonard, Luke Price, Ben John.

Munster: Ian Keatley; Darren Sweetman, Francis Saili, Rory Scannell, Ronan O’Mahony; Tyler Bleyendaal (capt), Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Rhys Marshall, John Ryan, Darren O’Shea, Billy Holland, Dave O’Callaghan, Tommy O’Donnell, Jack O’Donoghue.

Replacements: Kevin O’Byrne, Peter McCabe, Stephen Archer, Dave Foley, Conor Oliver, Abrie Griesel, Dan Goggin, Andrew Conway.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

Assistant referees: Claude Blessano (Italy), Stuart Kibble (WRU)

TMO: Stefano Penne (FIR)

Attendance: 8,782

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