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Munster ready for Belfast PRO12 final after Ospreys provided a late scare

Munster 21 Ospreys 18

By Staff Reporter

Published 25/05/2015

Close encounter: Josh Matavesi’s last-minute effort for Ospreys was ruled out, much to the relief of Munster
Close encounter: Josh Matavesi’s last-minute effort for Ospreys was ruled out, much to the relief of Munster

The Ospreys had a last-minute try disallowed as nervy Munster held on to clinch a 21-18 win and a place in next Saturday's Guinness PRO12 final against Glasgow Warriors.

Josh Matavesi's effort left the Thomond Park faithful stunned, but television match official Gareth Simmonds determined it should be ruled out after a knock-on by Rhys Webb in the build-up.

Munster should have killed off the young Welsh side by then, twice opening up a 13-point. Simon Zebo's seventh try in eight PRO12 games put them 11-3 ahead at the interval and Denis Hurley and Paddy Butler both crossed in the third quarter.

However Ian Keatley had an awful day with the boot, missing out on 12 points and being successful with just two of seven attempts. Tries from Rhys Webb and Jeff Hassler kept the Ospreys in the hunt and a Dan Biggar penalty had the margin down to just three points.

Keatley cancelled out Biggar's opening penalty on the quarter hour and although Munster lost Conor Murray to a knee injury, a second penalty from Keatley had them in front for the first time.

Munster were deadly accurate on the stroke of half-time when Zebo had a simple finish near the left corner after a great move.

The Ospreys fell further behind just two minutes into the second period, with big centre Hurley this time finishing.

The Munster fly-half missed both conversions and Webb responded almost immediately, picking off Stander's pass from the back of a scrum.

Biggar was unable to convert and Stander initiated Munster's response as Butler went over from close range.

Keatley's conversion attempt came back off the left post and once more the Ospreys quickly answered back. The lively Hassler turned a loose Zebo kick into a terrific solo try as he burst clear from halfway and carried the Munster winger with him over the whitewash. Biggar's conversion cut the gap to 21-15.

Biggar punished a ruck infringement with his second successful penalty, setting up a grandstand.

There was late drama when Ospreys' Matavesi slipped through for what he thought was the clincher. However, an uncharacteristic mistake from Webb floored the Ospreys and put Munster on the road to Belfast next week.

• David Humphreys’ Gloucester secured a nail-biting 40-32 win over Connacht after extra time at Kingsholm to set up a final Champions Cup play-off game with Bordeaux-Begles.

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