The Ospreys secured their third straight Magners League bonus point win, and a record equalling seventh consecutive victory, through a combination of attacking rugby, forward power and solid defence at the Liberty Stadium tonight.
The Ospreys were straight out of the starting block, an over-hit kick off from Duncan Weir going straight into touch, handing the early initiative to the hosts, who set up camp in the Glasgow half for the opening minutes.
Strong running from Sonny Parker saw him carving up the Glasgow defence, but there was no support with him. As the ball was recycled, it was worked wide, Richard Hibbard carrying well, before Beck’s ball for Tom Prydie close to the touchline went forward.
At the resulting scrum the Ospreys were able to turn the screw on their opposition, a series of penalties going against the Scots for bringing it down. The hosts opted to reset on three occasions, and the final time Glasgow went backwards at a rate of knots before disintegrating, and Italian referee Alan Falzone awarded the penalty try, Biggar converting to make it 7-0 to the hosts inside the first 10 minutes.
The lead was stretched to 10 four minutes later, Biggar intelligently opting to go for the drop goal after a prolonged spell of possession that saw the Ospreys probe left and right before Glasgow were able to spoil, slowing the ball down at the ruck to give their defence time to cover.
The Ospreys were dominant, and it came as no surprise when they got their second touchdown through the Magners League top points scorer, Dan Biggar. It was a lovely move that led to the score, Rhys Webb making an incisive break on halfway. He had support in the form of Ryan Bevington and Biggar, both carrying well, When the Ospreys progress was halted on the right flank, they came back infield, Biggar spotting the smallest of gaps to go over in the shadow of the sticks, before picking himself up to convert.
Glasgow got themselves on the scoreboard straight from the restart through the boot of Weir, Beck penalised for offside, and the young fly-half was then successful from close to halfway a minute later after an Osprey hand was spotted in the ruck.
Having been served a warning from their visitors that it wasn’t going to be a walkover, the Ospreys went back on the offensive, only a poor final pass preventing what looked a certain try on two occasions as first Beck and then Webb broke from deep but failed to find the scoring pass, to Prydie and Bevington respectively.
With 33 minutes on the clock it looked as though they had created a third try, Biggar finding Beck who was running a great angle through the Glasgow defence. The young centre had a clear run through to the line, only to be pulled back by the whistle for a forward pass.
It was an entertaining affair, and despite having been on the offensive for the majority of the opening period, the Ospreys almost handed Glasgow their first try. Richard Fussell broke from deep, but his pass to Prydie was loose, allowing Glasgow to run back at them. With a three man overlap it seemed a certain try, but Peter Horne cut back infield instead of going for the line, before offloading to DTH van der Merwe, for what seemed like a simple finish. However, excellent defensive work from Beck and Hanno Dirksen prevented him from grounding, the TMO confirming no try.
Glasgow tails were up, and the referee had to go to the TMO again just a couple of minutes. Once again, they gad gone through the phases to create a three man overlap, releasing Peter Murchie in the corner, where he was mugged on the line by Webb, Dirksen and Sonny Parker, preventing the ball from being grounded once again to ensure an 11 point lead at the break.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 17 GLASGOW 6
Having found themselves under the cosh in the closing stages of the first half, the Ospreys came out after the interval looking to reassert their hold on the game, and they got their third try after a period of concerted pressure.
Good lineout ball allowed Webb to make a darting run, ably supported by Bevington. The ball was recycled, allowing Dirksen to try and barge his way over, before Smith saw his chance to drive over and score his first ever Ospreys try on his 58th appearance, Biggar converting.
The young fly-half was enjoying a profitable evening, and his simple penalty from a central position after the entire Glasgow defensive line was caught offside took the lead to 21 points.
Good defensive work from Fussell then halted Glasgow’s progress as van der Merwe and Colin Gregor looked to work an opening up the left hand side, before Prydie limped off in the 54th minute with a leg injury suffered in the tackle, Tom Isaacs entering the action after his late call-up to replace Andrew Bishop, absent to be with his partner who is giving birth.
The big cheer of the night saw the Liberty Stadium crowd welcoming Adam Jones back into action in the 58th minute, seven weeks after he injured his elbow at London Irish.
A great break by Webb from a tap penalty deep inside the Ospreys half took the action into Glasgow territory, before isaacs and Fussell combined to go into the opposition’s 22, where Smith was penalised for going off his feet.
At the other end, Glasgow looked to create an opening for their first try but were struggling to find a way through, Beck winning a good turnover close to his own line to relieve the pressure.
Glasgow continued to press, but against the run of play it was the Ospreys who scored the game’s next try, to clinch the bonus point. The visitors were camped on the Ospreys line after a great move that saw the ball moved through numerous pairs of hands, Gregor, Alex Dunbar and Bernardo Stortini all heavily involved, before turning it over two metres from the line. Isaacs burst clear, eluding several tackles, before finding support in the form of Duncan Jones. There was an overlap out wide, but it still took a lot of good work from the prop and Fussell to find Beck close to the line, who was able to shrug off the tackle to score a length of the field try. Biggar’s conversion attempt failed, his first miss of the night, leaving the score 32-6 with 10 to go.
With the five points in the bag, a good night’s work was rounded off by Collins, who drove over from close range, the TMO confirming the try. Replacement Dai Flanagan missed the conversion, but there was no spoiling the Ospreys night.