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Last Updated: Friday, 3 September, 2004, 19:55 GMT 20:55 UK
Ospreys 34-17 Munster
Matthew Jones gets to grips with Paul Burke
Ospreys (20) 34
Tries: Spice, Bishop, Durston, Bateman
Cons: Henson (4)
Pens: Henson (2)
Munster (0) 17
Tries: Cullen (2)
Cons: Burke (2)
Pen: Burke
Att: 4,052
The Ospreys overcame a second-half fightback from an under-strength Munster in a scrappy Celtic League opener at St Helen's, Swansea.

The home side's dominant scrum and line-out helped set up a 20-0 first-half lead with tries from Ospreys new boys Jason Spice and David Bishop.

A Christian Cullen brace twice brought Munster back to within 10 points.

But late scores from Adrian Durston and Lyndon Bateman kept the Ospreys out of reach and secured a bonus point.

A scrappy opening meant it took 25 minutes to bring up the first score, Gavin Henson kicking a 40m penalty after the full- back's fine attacking run was cut short by a dangerous trip from Jerry Flannery.

We were very fortunate to get a bonus point in the end
Ospreys man-of-the-match Jonathan Thomas
The home side took control of territory and possession with Jonathan Thomas to the fore at the line-out, but it was 34 minutes before the first try arrived.

Elvis Seveali'i broke in midfield through a weak tackle by newly arrived replacement Jason Holland.

The Samoan was brought down by Cullen, but Cullen's fellow-Kiwi Spice quickly picked up, threw a dummy past the disorganised defence and was in under the posts.

Three minutes later, the Irish tried a risky attack from deep inside their own half, only to see former-Osprey James Storey throw a wild pass.

Stefan Terblanche picked it off and fed Bishop for a second score under the sticks.

Lyndon Bateman
Bateman's late try secured a bonus point for the Ospreys
Munster's miserable end to the first period was complete when Flannery was sin-binned for punching at a ruck, Henson stepping up to land the resulting penalty from well within his own half.

The visitors opened the second half with a Paul Burke penalty and began to look more of a threat to the Ospreys' line.

Seveali'i and Williams went off with a suspected torn calf muscle and badly cut finger (respectively), and as the fluency went from the home team's game Munster came back into it.

Henson flapped at a loose ball over the top, giving Cullen the chance to catch him cold, kick through, and cross for a converted try under the posts.

With 79 minutes gone, the Ospreys managed to run quick ball across field, Andy Williams going for the corner before turning inside to feed fellow-replacement Durston for the sealing score.

Munster fired straight back downfield with a kick over the top that bounced well to help Cullen to his second score.

Then, with the final move of the match, Andy Williams broke the midfield defence with a set move, Bateman picking up from the breakdown to crash over from short range for the bonus-point try.

"We were very fortunate to get a bonus point in the end," said Ospreys man-of-the-match Jonathan Thomas.

"We didn't play well in the second half and lost a lot of ball at crucial times.

"Having said that, the boys put their hands up and taking maximum points is a good start to the season."

Ospreys: G Henson; S Terblanche, D Bishop, E Seveali'i, S Williams; M Jones, J Spice; P James, B Williams (capt), A Millward, A Newman, L Bateman, J Thomas, R Pugh, R Jones.

Replacements: A Durston, S Parker, A Williams, D Jones, R Hibbard, B Cockbain, N Bonner-Evans.

Munster: C Cullen; S Payne, M Mullins, J Storey, A Horgan; P Burke, M Prendergast; F Roche, J Flannery, G McIlwham, S O'Connor, T Hogan, S Keogh, D Leamy, J Williams.

Replacements: J Kelly, J Holland, E Reddan, M Storey, J Blaney, J O'Connor, D Ryan.

Referee: Rob Dickson (Scotland)

Interview: Ospreys flanker Jonathan Thomas



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