Closing montage from Heineken Cup final


Barbarians too good for England XV


Carlos Spencer & Stephen Larkham fight


Toulon do the double with Top 14 win


Courtney Lawes crunches Charlie Hodgson


Ma'afu banned for punch on Tom Youngs


Jebb Sinclair red card for leading elbow


Eddie Butler on Jonny Wilkinson career


Jason Rutledge's great tryline defence

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Ospreys into the RaboDirect Pro12 final with big win over Munster

The Ospreys produced a clinical five-try demolition of Munster in the first RaboDirect Pro12 semi-final at the Liberty Stadium on Friday night. The 45-10 victory was one of their best of the season, setting them up nicely for a final in a fortnight's time.

Dan Biggar scored a try and kicked four penalties and four conversion for a personal haul of 25 points for the Ospreys, surpassing 300 points for the season, and over 1000 for the region.

Things hadn't gone entirely the home side's way initially, as Munster scored first through Ian Keatley after a fantastic break by Keith Earls. It was all Ospreys after that, with tries scored by Biggar, Kahn Fotuali'i, Hanno Dirksen, Andrew Bishop and Rhys Webb.

Shane Williams came close to another farewell try, but unfortunately stepped on the touchline.

The home side played some dazzling rugby at times, counter-attacking from deep and splitting the Munster defence on regular occasion. Their defensive effort on the other hand was watertight, thanks in large part to the hard work from the forwards.

It was a sad farewell for Munster players Mick O'Driscoll, Tomas O'Leary, and Lifeimi Mafi, as well as coach Tony McGahan, but with Ospreys in the mood to play, they lacked firepower.

Posted at 4:57 pm | 21 comments

Viewing 21 comments

ccc May 12, 2012 7:16 pm

"And rite now in the Northern Hemisphere there is no rugby quite like Welsh rugby"... Really? Would we not rank the HC Final above the Rabo Pro 12 QF? Really?

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yupyupgup May 12, 2012 7:51 pm

that commentator is a complete tool! haha

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wanderingminstrel May 12, 2012 8:10 pm

"Munster are toast." A very insightful professional opinion.

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Pretzel May 12, 2012 8:40 pm

Not that I follow the tournaments it too closely but I thought Munster were one of the better teams around... Was this an shock victory or was it also going to be either teams on paper? Well done to the Ospreys...

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Calon Lan May 12, 2012 9:21 pm

I think it was expected to go either way really, when they went in at half time even though there was a fair bit of space between them I was really expecting it to be a closer finish.

It's probably safe to say that both would be expected to reach the playoffs most years.

I haven't checked but I would expect Munster to have been the bookies favourites to win as for whatever reason the Irish teams often have that "big game mentality" which seems to go astray so often with the Welsh teams.

They're both in the process of restructuring at the moment so it's all a bit up in the air but the Ospreys seemed to really be playing as a unit in this match which they've only shown glimpses of recently.

I thought Munster didn't actually play that badly but they looked under pressure and sometimes when teams are in that position they start to put pressure on themselves by forcing the game.

I think a win of this size is a massive win for any team playing against Munster as they have really been one of the teams in control over recent years.

It's difficult to find many faults as a win is always going to be a win, particularly at this stage of the championship but I was still quite frustrated that the Ospreys missed out on points that thy should really have scored.

It made no difference in this match and they happy with the result but I think if you want to be a top level team you still need to be asking questions of the mistakes that were made.

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LND May 13, 2012 12:18 pm

A great win by the Ospreys. Not entirely unexpected, Munster are in terminal decline.

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Blew1 May 12, 2012 9:33 pm

Munster = Owned. That is all.

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WelshOsprey May 12, 2012 10:51 pm

Munster got blown away, if we play like that in the final we should beat leinster too.
If only we played like this in the heineken cup...

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moddeur May 12, 2012 11:32 pm

Here I was sitting back thinking "wow!" at each try being scored, until that lame dance came for the last try ...
I'm definitely old-fashioned.

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modeselektor May 12, 2012 11:45 pm

Agree. I'd hoped this sort of thing had left the O's with the galicticos, but alas, the Ospreys still repulse me

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J May 13, 2012 11:54 am

The dance was a joke- it was Rhys Webb taking the piss out of a dance Danny Cipriani did having scored a try for the Rebels a few months ago. Cracking! See the original here http://www.rugbydump.com/2012/03/2441/danny-ciprianis-great-try-and-celebration-against-the-western-force

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Pretzel May 13, 2012 3:43 pm

Cipriani did "the doogie" or whatever it is called, so I don't think Rhys' effort of doing the same was a piss take of Cipriani.. I don't know what it was, but he looked far to into it for it to be a piss take...

My 2 cents..

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NOLA May 13, 2012 12:05 am

im an american and played opposite of hanno back in the states in high school and we beat his team...crazy to see him playing on this stage and playing well

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thegaffer89 May 13, 2012 12:50 am

Couldn't agree more yupyupgup!

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Bunn May 13, 2012 12:27 pm

Awful commentator, but more importantly. How good was Richard Fussell! So many line breaks that led to tries and none tries......

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mise May 13, 2012 3:12 pm

Rabo final is, unfortunately, something of an irrelevancy this year, As 2 Rabo teams are in the HC final, which is on the week before. Bad timetabling. Leinster will not give 2 hoots about the rabo if they win the HC. (Plus they will prob celebrate til wednesday!)

Maybe if they loose they will give a hoot in the Rabo, but that's unlikely.

Ospreys will be a radically different team nex tyear - the galacticos havent really worked for them (many seemed to be just coasting and picking up inflated cheques)

Munster really are in rebuilding mode now...!


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The Green Mafia May 13, 2012 6:34 pm

This is what I dont get. Wales are just on a rampage in the international scene with loads of potential, but clubwise they never seem to follow that up. Yet, by this game, we can see they have it in them. It's not common for munster to loose in a semi, let alone have 40 points put through them in the process. Granted, munster started without ROG, etc. but towards the end they were on the field and the thrashing went on.

So the question? remains, why arent we witnessing more welsh teams getting past the groups at top flight european rugby?

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Reality May 13, 2012 9:43 pm

I think it's to do with the mentality and coaching. From what I've heard, nobody really buys into the franchises in Wales, and when the teams play they just never seem capable of going the whole way and winning important matches, whereas when Wales play they're all really confident of their abilities to the point of arrogance.

I think this result has to be taken with a pinch of salt though. It's very much a once-off, and I think Munster actually have some huge, huge weaknesses, and the reason that they get away with it is that most teams just aren't capable of exploiting these weaknesses, but when one comes along that can they get easily beaten, for example this match here and Ulster in the HC. And I think it's ideas like the one that O'Gara can save Munster that are killing them. If you look at the video, every one of his contributions were completely negative. He got destroyed every time he had the ball, turned it over several times, and was a matador in defence. But people still talk about him as if he was the second coming. Paul O'Connell was the real loss here. A great leader and player, and someone who can lead others by example. And he could have helped fix the failing lineout. People just are just blind to the failings of some of the Munster players (not just O'Gara) and nothing is ever done to change things.

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Calon Lan May 13, 2012 10:49 pm

It oversimplifies things somewhat but Regional rugby just doesn't seem to mean that much to anybody. You can't just create franchises overnight and expect players and fans to believe in them.

Look at how it's been done in Ireland, the Provinces in one form or another have been existed for centuries. Look at the Irish players, O'Driscoll, Sexton, Earls, etc, etc were born to play in their teams.

I can't imagine that Sexton at any point in his life was thinking that he would to play for Munster.

For me as a fan it's the same, the regions just aren't anything to do with me emotionally apart from The Ospreys line to the old Neath team.

You just can't create what's needed in 10 years and if it does happen it needs to evolve naturally rather than being forced.

I was trying to explain to a football loving mate over the boarder what Regional rugby was. I tried to get him to imagine how he'd feel if a Super League was formed from the current Premiership and the first team was created from Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Manchester City...and Chelsea (For financial reasons).

Their new stadium would be built...in Germany and ticket prices would be doubled because, well why not?

He's a Liverpool supporter and I asked whether he'd go and watch the new team which was formed with teams who were "enemies" a week ago or stick with the same team knowing that all the better players have followed the large wage packets.

He said he just wouldn't bother.

I think that's how a lot of Welsh fans feel, I try to care but I shouldn't need to try.

Maybe for the staff it's become more of a job? There's nothing wrong with being professional but you still need to belong to a team rather than just a contract.

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mise May 14, 2012 11:13 pm

@Calon Lan

I do get what you mean about the regions, though I think the soccer example is a bit OTT. there is something regional still about the regional clubs, isn't there? Its more like Liverpool and Everton and a few feeder teams from the lower divisions being turned in one club, isn't it? (Also soccer hatred in the last 4 decades is different to rugby rivalry). And soccer is almost completely meaningless as regards identity now that's its a rich man's plaything.

Certainly the Irish example is a good one, as the Irish clubs aren't the richest but are managed well. Irish clubs tend to have the biggest number of native players (from what I can gather). It is about 2/3 of the starting line ups, and obviously most of the squad, of both Munster and Leinster, who are Irish. (And nearly always from Leinster or Munster)

When professionalism came, in, they really expected Irish rugby to nosedive: most top Irish players played in England then. It didn't for a few reasons:

Its v hard to get into the Irish team unless A u play here B you got into the team when playing here is key. As is the restriction on imports (which is getting tighter again next year).

Wages are obviously lower than in France, but there are tax intensives for players who retire in Ireland. (That's why so many of them did stay and didn't move)

Fewer games each season.

Ireland boomed economically from professionalsm til 2007/2008: it made Ireland a more attractive place to live in some (but not all) ways: esp if you were a rugby player perhaps, but also, if u were an aspiring one, there was always the likelihood of work. Now, people emigrate.

Yes the provinces actually meaning something helped, esp in Munster

No League whatsoever (as in Rugby League) this may or may not have helped, but its a reality.

Club game beneath this level has of course suffered

And the mad thing is the national team isn't great! Flatters to deceive.

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Calon Lan May 15, 2012 9:29 pm

@mise
Yeah, please don't take that the wrong way.

It's clearly not a like for like comparison and I've gone to the extreme in what I say but for the mate I was explaining it to he doesn't follow rugby at all so any mention of the older teams and the regional teams was completely out of his understanding.

I needed be "daft" about it for him to able to get a feel for how it works.

I'm an Osprey's fan and have been since regional rugby started through my love of the old Neath team and what they stood for. For better or for worse the Ospreys are MY team, they regularly get my money, I'll endlessly defend them when needed...but there isn't the same connection as there was when growing up watching Neath.

As professional as it is, sport is always a very emotional and passionate thing and because of that I don't I would ever be able to really explain the difference between the two because none of it is based on sense.

I find a lot of time now when watching the Pro12 that I want "the Welsh team" to win more so than I want MY team to win. If it comes down to The Ospreys playing another Welsh region they are my team again.

I don't think I'm explaining this well at all but I largely see the regions as training squads for the international team now and the only time I get the "old fashioned" feeling that I used to get is watching the international team.

That doesn't mean I don't love The Ospreys or the other three regions it's just they don't relate to me in the same way as the older teams.

I think I've confused things even more with that!! :)

I think as well as provincial rugby that central contracts have helped sustain the rugby community in some way and it's not quite the same but I'm glad that the WRU is moving in that direction although again, it's not an overnight method of success.

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