Munster increased their chances of reaching the Heineken Cup knock-out stages with a hard-earned victory over the Ospreys at Thomond Park.
HEINEKEN CUP Pool Two
Munster (17) 20:
Tries: Foley, Cullen
Cons: Burke 2
Pens: Burke 2
Ospreys: (7) 10:
They moved into pole position in Pool 2 thanks to first half tries from Anthony Foley and Christian Cullen.
Paul Burke weighed in with both conversions and a couple of penalties as Munster maintained their unbeaten European record at the Limerick venue.
Ospreys had a Shane Williams try and five points from Gavin Henson's boot.
Munster, without the injured Ronan O'Gara, had an able deputy in Burke who had a perfect four from four and opened the scoring in the fifth minute with his first penalty.
The Ospreys immediately struck back when former
All Black Cullen tried to run out of defence, but was turned over in midfield.
Scrum-half Jason Spice chipped over the top into space and Williams had the pace to follow up to nudge the ball past Mike Mullins and then beat the cover for the touchdown.
Munster, however, had a powerful 15-minute spell at the end of the first half which saw
captain Foley score a try when he muscled over from the base of a maul.
Burke swung over the right-sided conversion and did the same for their second try which was brilliantly sculptured by a neat Foley kick ahead and well executed by Cullen.
Although the Ospreys had the better of the final half-hour, with Henson in at
number 10 for the departed Jones, they could not breach the Munster line.
Burke and Henson swapped penalties in a disappointing final quarter but Munster had to rely on some resolute defence to make sure of victory.
Munster: C Cullen; M Lawlor, S Payne, M Mullins, A Horgan; P Burke, P Stringer; M Horan, F Sheahan, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, P O'Connell, A Quinlan, D Leamy, A Foley (capt).
Replacements: G McIlwham, J Flannery, T Hogan, J Williams, M Prendergast, J Holland, J Storey.
Ospreys: A Durston; S Terblanche, S Parker, G Henson, S Williams; M Jones, J Spice; D Jones, B Williams (capt), A Millward, B Cockbain, J Thomas, J Bater, R Pugh, R Jones.
Replacements: R Hibbard, P James, A Jones, A Newman, A Lloyd, D Bishop, E Seveali'i.
Referee: Chris White (England).