O'Gara masterminds taming of Ospreys

Neath-Swansea Ospreys 18 - Munster 20
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The Independent Online

They say you win the Heineken Cup on foreign fields and this latest dogged away triumph for Munster proved they are once again likely to be a mighty force in Europe.

They say you win the Heineken Cup on foreign fields and this latest dogged away triumph for Munster proved they are once again likely to be a mighty force in Europe.

The unbeaten leaders of the Celtic League, the Ospreys forced Munster to dig deep to make it two out of two in their opening matches in Pool Four and the home side were left kicking themselves for spilling too much ball and not closing out a game that was in their grasp.

The boot of Gavin Henson ensured the Ospreys stayed in touch as the lead changed hands five times. But while the Welsh international managed to hit the mark with six penalties, he also missed with three others.

Meanwhile, his opposite number Ronan O'Gara came through a sticky patch in the first half to once again mastermind Munster's victory march. He kicked three penalties in the first half to keep his side within three points of their hosts and then knocked over two more after the break.

But the decisive moment came five minutes after the restart when scrum-half Peter Stringer completely bamboozled and humiliated the Ospreys back row with a blindside dart from a five-metre scrum that enabled him to notch only his fifth European try in 47 outings.

Having coughed and spluttered to victory over Harlequins in the opening round, this win has given Munster pole position in their pool. Now comes the real deal with back-to-back games against arch rivals Castres Olympique in rounds three and four in December.Ospreys coach Lynn Jones put a brave face on defeat, which came in front of a 10,000-strong crowd at The Gnoll.

Neath-Swansea Ospreys: Penalties Henson 6. Munster: Try P Stringer; Penalties R O'Gara 5.

Neath-Swansea Ospreys: A Durston; R Mustoe, S Parker, E Seveali'I, S Williams; G Henson, J Spice; D Jones (P James, 65), B Williams (capt), A Jones, A Newman, B Cockbain, J Bater, S Tandy (R Pugh, 65), R Jones.

Munster: C Cullen; J Kelly, S Payne, R Henderson, A Horgan; R O'Gara, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, J Williams (A Quinlan, 80), D Wallace, A Foley (capt).

Referee: J Jutge (France).

¿ The Wales coach, Mike Ruddock, has called in Newport Gwent Dragons' Steve Jones and Hal Luscombe to boost his squad ahead of Saturday's game against South Africa.

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