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Munster player ratings | 2023/24 BKT United Rugby Championship quarterfinal

BY Philip Bendon  ·  Friday Jun 7, 2024

Munster Rugby hosted the Ospreys in the first of the 2023/24 BKT United Rugby Championship quarterfinals.

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In a physical affair, the reigning Champions took one step closer to retaining their title with a 23 – 7 win against a determined Ospreys side.

Here is how the Munster players fared on the evening.

1. Jeremy Loughman – 6
Struggled at scrum time early as Tom Botha got underneath him as the Ospreys pack rolled in. He recovered well to get parity back and won a few crucial penalties as he reversed roles with Botha and got underneath him.

2. Niall Scannell – 6
Scorer of the second try of the match, he did exceptionally well to get the ball down when it seemed like the Ospreys defender got underneath him. Left early in the second half having soldiered through with what looked like a foot injury.

3. Stephen Archer – 6
Mr dependable Archer did what he always does by nailing the basics and doing the often unseen dirty work. His ability as a carrier and ball player is severely underrated as he made some solid yardage and pulled off a few clever passes. At scrum time, he had a great battle with Nicky Smith, losing a penalty before claiming a massive upper hand as Munster was under pump late in the first half.

4. RG Snyman – 5
It was not a vintage performance from the big Springbok, but he made some big carries when they were needed most. Defensively, he had a couple of key interventions, namely at the breakdown, where he held off several Ospreys cleaners to slow down the Welsh side’s ball.

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5. Tadhg Beirne (capt) – 6
Not the flashiest of performances but highly effective from the captain at the breakdown where he was a member of the ‘Munster menaces’ as they continually disrupted the Ospreys cleaners.

6. Peter O’Mahony – 5
It was one of those matches where he rolled up his sleeves and caused havoc around the breakdown by getting himself into awkward positions. Replaced early in the second half by Jack O’Donoghue.

7. John Hodnett – 7
Some big hits from the Munster backrow bruiser who must be so close to an international call up. His ability hit low and get back to his feet to contest is other worldly and was a major asset to Munster when they were defending towards the end of the first half.

8. Gavin Coombes – 7
Like Snyman, Coombes carried into heavy traffic routinely as he once again displayed his exceptional work ethic. Never the flashiest but always reliable, Coombes is the motor in the Munster pack.

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9. Craig Casey – 7
Nippy, narky and clever, Casey is really hitting his straps as a first-choice nine and should he continue to play this way and he will close the gap on Jamison Gibson-Park for Ireland. He dictated Munster’s play masterfully despite being faced with the untidy ball at the ruck, and in defence, he was monstrous.

10. Jack Crowley – 8
Another intelligent outing from the Ireland incumbent who is wise beyond his years and is really becoming a top quality international ten. Identifying that his team were struggling to make yards early, he went to the boot as an attacking weapon and set up his pack in brilliant positions which they capitalised on.

11. Shane Daly – 6
The hardest worker in the room, Daly chased everything like his life depended on it and put in some great tackles and contests on Jack Crowley’s high kicks.

12. Seán O’Brien – 5
Back in his preferred position but not quite as a effective as he has been on the wing this season. In defence, he was rock solid alongside Crowley against an impressive Ospreys backline who ran hard.

13. Antoine Frisch – 6
The Toulon bound man brings a level of guile to the Munster backline that is so evident when they run strike plays. Defensively, he shuts down the outside options brilliantly, and he limited the Ospreys opportunities throughout the contest. A real loss for Munster and Ireland next season.

14. Calvin Nash – 6
There was an air of anticipation every time he got near the ball but it was his work rate when chasing kicks and making tackles that stood out today.

15. Simon Zebo – 7
Started the match with bang as he showed some fancy footwork followed by power to claim the opening try of the match inside two minutes. Exposing space in the Ospreys backfield, Zebo put in some brilliantly worked short kicks. Playing arguably his best rugby since returning from Racing 92, it is a travesty that he is retiring at the end of the season.

REPLACEMENTS

16. Diarmuid Barron – 5
Hit and miss from the man who captained the side earlier in the season but return from injury is a big boost for an area where Munster don’t have much depth. Part of a strong scrum but iffy at line-out time but he will keep getting better as he works back into form.

17. John Ryan – 7
A strong impact in a less familiar position of loosehead, Ryan put in some big hits in conjunction with Oli Jager. As Munster have done frequently of late, his injection later in the fixture has seen the pack go up a level when it was most needed.

18. Oli Jager – 7
Immediately got on top at scrum time when he entered the fray to win his team a key penalty following a knock-on (from himself ironically). For a man of his size he remarkably mobile and dynamic which is a huge boost for Ireland to have a viable alternative to Tadhg Furlong.

19. Jack O’Donoghue – 7
Upped the tempo when he came on and had some great takes at the line-out. In a similar vein to Jack Conan at Leinster, his versatility and impetus when he comes on make him the perfect bench option for Munster.

20. Alex Kendellen – 6
Not quite as evident around the park with the ball in hand as the man he replaced (Hodnett) but he was busy in defence and is clearly a leader for Munster as you can see him directing his teammates around the park.

21. Conor Murray – 7
Brought great control when he came on and punished the Ospreys for their aggression at the breakdown as he called attention to them not rolling which was rewarded with advantage and penalties.

22. Tony Butler – 6
Took the ball to the line nicely when he came on and showed his ability to pass late when he fixed the defenders. Certainly one to watch for the future, don’t expect the 22-year-old to hand Billy Burns his jersey next without a fight.

23. Mike Haley – 6
Some clever play, highlighted by well placed kicks in behind the Ospreys defence which kept the visitors inside their own territory and put them under pressure.

In the latest episode of Walk the Talk, Jim Hamilton chats with double World Cup winner Damian de Allende about all things Springbok rugby, including RWC2023 and the upcoming Ireland series. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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