Munster got their Champions Cup campaign off to a great start with a 32-13 bonus-point win away to the Ospreys.
Jeremy Loughman’s 34th-minute try gave Munster a 13-6 lead at the interval and the two-time European champions made their dominance count in the second half through scores from Keith Earls and Andrew Conway.
And they clinched a bonus point at the death, James Cronin touching down off a driving maul to put them in good stead ahead of Donnacha Ryan and Simon Zebo’s return to Thomond Park next Saturday with Racing 92.
Shorn of their Rugby World Cup contingent, the Ospreys entered the game on the back of a three-game losing streak in the PRO14, which included a 28-12 defeat away to Munster on October 25.
Their defence was given a rigorous workout during the first half. They were forced to make 126 tackles as Munster dominated possession but it wasn’t until the closing stages that the Irish province made it count on the scoreboard.
The teams were locked at 6-6 after half an hour, two Luke Price penalties sandwiching a brace of kicks from opposite number Tyler Bleyendaal.
The Ospreys survived 26 lung-busting phases on 32 minutes as Munster took play from halfway to deep inside the 22, but that defensive shift took its toll.
The visitors scored from the next passage, Jean Kleyn latching onto Loughman as the prop took Conor Murray’s pass and barging him over the tryline.
Leading 13-6 at half-time, Munster put daylight between the teams with two tries in as many minutes from their wings.
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