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Disappointing Start
9 September 2004, 11:30 pm
It was always going to be a tough opener for Munster against a full strength Ospreys outfit playing in front of their home crowd. And yet after a half an hour of play Ospreys were only 3 points up
It was always going to be a tough opener for Alan Gaffney s side against a full strength Ospreys outfit playing in front of their home crowd. And yet after a half an hour of play Ospreys were only 3 points up thanks to a Gavin Henson penalty.

The final ten minutes however decided the eventual outcome of the game and Munster it must be said were the architects of their own downfall.

They gifted the home side two tries and ended the half reduced to 14 after Jerry Flannery was yellow carded. Flannery was fortunate not to have received that sanction earlier for a silly and blatant trip on Henson.

The first try arrived moments after Jason Holland had replaced Paul Burke who needed stitches to a head wound and the second came when a promising Munster attack broke down. A missed tackle and a wild pass later, Munster were 17 points down and chasing the game big-time.

Burke landed an early second half penalty and his conversion of Christian Cullen s try offered a glimmer of hope. Had Munster been a little more precise in the minutes that followed they might have turned things around but it was the Ospreys who capitalised with and Adrian Durston try to kill off any hope of a Munster revival.

Cullen scored his second when Anthony Horgan collected a clever chip ahead by Holland and then off-loaded sweetly to the supporting full-back but Munster were denied respectability when the Ospreys struck for the bonus point try deep in injury time.

Consolation for Munster may lie in the fact that they did manage to deny the Ospreys for most of the opening half and the realisation that seventeen points scored in that half were the result of mistakes in the case of the tries and stupidity in the case of Henson's final penalty.

There was also the ever reliable Jim Williams, the continuing energence of Denis Leamy, the threat posed in attack by Mike Mullins and Anthony Horgan and the best performance to date of Christian Cullen since his arrival in Munster.

Yes a disapponting result but no need is for patience rather than panic.

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Team
Pld
W
D
L
Pts
1Leinster Rugby19141469
2Ulster Rugby19140565
3Munster Rugby19140563
4Glasgow Warriors18140460
5Ospreys19111756
6Scarlets1991945
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