Jack Crowley shines as Munster beat Ospreys to earn home URC semi-final

Jack Crowley kicked 13 points as Munster overcame eighth-place finishers Ospreys 23-7 at Thomond Park to earn a BKT United Rugby Championship home semi-final.

Niall Scannell’s maul try and a Crowley penalty gave Munster a 17-7 half-time lead, after Simon Zebo and Keelan Giles had swapped two slick early scores.

In front of an attendance of 14,072, two more Crowley place-kicks made it 10 league wins in a row as the defending champions move on to host either Glasgow Warriors or the DHL Stormers next weekend.

It was a rapid-fire start from both teams, with Gavin Coombes releasing Zebo on his outside to extend his all-time Munster record to 73 tries. Crowley converted from the right.

Ospreys hit back with a high-quality seven-pointer when Reuben Morgan-Williams’ deft kick was fastened onto by Owen Watkin, who combined with Morgan Morris to send Giles flying over on a brilliantly-angled 40-metre run.

Munster’s powerful maul drew them back into range by the end of the opening quarter, and hooker Scannell scored under Keiran Williams’ challenge with Crowley converting again.

Ospreys held firm off the next maul, although Crowley punished his opposite number Owen Williams for not rolling away to make it 17-7 in the 27th minute.

The Welsh side got on top approaching the interval, but Dewi Lake was tackled into touch from a lineout, and a late bout of pressure ended with Munster winning a scrum penalty.

As the rain came down, Ospreys number 8 Morris did well to deny Coombes an early second-half try. Captain Justin Tipuric led their next defensive stand to keep the margin at 10 points.

Despite Ospreys holding out again near the hour mark, the resulting scrum saw Munster force a close-in penalty which Crowley sent over for a 20-7 advantage.

Crowley raised the flags again after Huw Sutton had infringed at a ruck. He dropped a long-range effort short in the 68th minute.

A week on from their round 18 heroics, Ospreys were struggling to get out of their own half, and despite Luke Davies’ blindside break and kick chase, Munster gave very little away.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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