Champions Cup: Munster 33-6 Ospreys

match action
European Champions Cup
Munster (14) 33
Tries: Stander 2, Archer, Murray, Casey Cons: Hanrahan 4
Ospreys (6) 6
Pens: L. Price 2

Munster inflicted more misery on Ospreys as they triumphed in the Champions Cup Pool Four dead rubber in Limerick.

With neither side able to achieve quarter-final qualification, Munster inflicted a European whitewash on an Ospreys side who lost six group games.

Two tries from CJ Stander and further scores from Stephen Archer, Conor Murray and Craig Casey sealed the bonus point win for the hosts.

Ospreys led 6-0 in the early stages.

The Welsh region are on a 13-match losing streak that stretches back more than three months.

They have suffered with 15 losses in 16 Pro14 and European games in a disastrous and unprecedented season which has also seen the side lose head coach Allen Clarke.

Ospreys will now have to try and regroup with a four-week break on the horizon a period that needs to galvanise a beleaguered region bereft of ideas and decimated by injuries.

Captain and flanker Justin Tipuric was forced to play the final quarter in the centre at Thomond Park.

Munster will reflect on a European campaign that might have been as they focus on Pro14 success.

They were dominant in a game that saw further injury troubles for the Welsh region.

Ospreys suffered a late blow just before kick-off when centre Scott Williams pulled out with a bad back forcing a backline reshuffle. Full-back Dan Evans switched to the midfield, while Cai Evans slotted in from the replacements bench.

Tipuric returned from an ankle injury, while George North continued in the centre and Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones also played.

For the hosts, wing Calvin Nash made his European debut as he took over from knee-injury victim Keith Earls. Centre Sammy Arnold was a late inclusion for Chris Farrell who also suffered a knee problem in training.

Ospreys outside-half Luke Price opened the scoring after being a victim of a late Wycherley tackle and doubled the lead when the hosts were penalised at a scrum.

Munster suffered a blow when Ireland wing Andrew Conway was forced off the field for a head injury assessment and did not return, a worry for Andy Farrell less than two weeks before the start of the Six Nations.

The home side were continually punished for their discipline by French referee Mathieu Raynal in the opening quarter, but they recovered from a sluggish start when Ireland back-rower Stander powered over with JJ Hanrahan converting to give the home side the lead.

The hosts were inspired and prop Archer dived over under the posts to give Munster a 14-6 lead.

The Munster wave continued after the break with Ireland scrum-half Murray grabbing the third try after sustained build-up.

Centre Rory Scannell should have grabbed the bonus point try but inexplicably dropped the ball over the Ospreys line under no pressure.

Ospreys injury woes continued as Dan Evans and props Ma'afu Fia and Nicky Smith were forced off the field with Tipuric slotting into the backline at inside centre.

Replacement scrum-half Casey took advantage of the confusion to claim Munster's fourth try.

Munster's attacking dominance resulted in a yellow card for Ospreys replacement Olly Cracknell as Stander sealed the victory with his second score.

Ospreys forwards coach Carl Hogg told BBC Sport:

"It was a difficult day. I though there were periods of the game we were in the arm wrestle especially in that first-half.

"I was immensely proud of the resistance in the group and the way they fought but it took its toll in the last 30 minutes.

"It has been a difficult Champions Cup campaign. The boys did magnificently well at the end of last season to get into this tournament but it's been hard.

"We have a natural break in the season now and it's critical now the boys go away and have a mental and physical break and come back for the tail end of the season."

Munster head coach Johann van Graan:

"I am very happy (with the performance) and to go from 6-0 down to 33-6.

"For the supporters who came out today it was brilliant to finish off like this and I am proud.

"We are disappointed we did not progress to the next part of this competition and we were a few points short.

"If you look at the first five rounds we had one or two opportunities in our control which we did not use and that's professional sport.

"We have only one goal now and that is the Pro14."

Munster: Haley; Conway, Arnold, R Scannell, Nash; JJ Hanrahan, Murray, Kilcoyne, N Scannell, Archer, Wycherley, Holland, O'Mahony (capt), O'Donoghue, Stander.

Replacements: O'Byrne, Loughman, Ryan, Botha, O'Sullivan, Casey, Healy, Goggin.

Ospreys: C Evans; Dirksen, North, D Evans, L Morgan; L Price, Venter; N Smith, S Otten, Fia, B Davies, AW Jones, Lydiate, Tipuric (capt), Baker.

Replacements: Lake, Marfo, Gajion, Ashley, Cracknell, Cross, Morgan-Williams, Klim.

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (Fra)

Assistant referees: Pierre Brousset (Fra), Sebastien Minery (Fra)

TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)