The Ospreys winless start to the season continued on a disappointing night at the Liberty Stadium where they were well beaten by a Glasgow side who claimed their first victory of the new campaign.
It was the hosts who came out fired up from the first whistle, and they were soon on the offensive, quick lineout ball allowing them to go through the phases with a series of pick and drives that edged them into the opposition 22.
However, they were caught with a classic counter attack sucker punch, as Dan Biggar’s kick looking for Hanno Dirksen was gathered by DTH Van Der Merwe – with a suspicion of blocking to prevent the wing contesting the high ball – and the South African born Canada cap was able to race the length of the field to score in the corner after just three minutes.
Duncan Weir was off target with what was a difficult conversion, but he had a chance to redeem himself with a penalty minutes later after Jonathan Spratt was caught coming in from the side but again he failed to find the target.
He made no mistake at the third attempt though after a penalty outside the 22 was moved inside, the Ospreys guilty of not retreating the 10m for the quick tap and go from Chris Cusiter. However, the three points came at a cost to Glasgow, Weir only able to slot it over after a lengthy delay to allow the Scotland scrum-half to have treatment and he was forced off before his fellow halfback was able to add the three points.
With the game not yet 25 minutes old referee Leo Colgan and his team had already infuriated and frustrated the home crowd in equal measures with some of his decision making, none more so when Van Der Merwe appeared to step in to touch dealing with an Ashley Beck grubber to the corner as Dirksen looked to pounce, television replays confirming that on this occasion, at least, the decision was correct.
The Ospreys fell further behind on the half hour mark, Chris Fusaro taking advantage of a Rhys Webb fumble to score Glasgow’s second try of the night. Awarded a scrum in front of their own posts, a huge shove secured the ball for the home team, George Stowers picking up and driving forward. Webb lost control of the ball as he looked to play it from the ruck though and it eventually fell for openside Fusaro, Weir’s conversion making it 15-0.
Some uncharacteristic fancy footwork from Ian Gough saw him spotting space behind the Glasgow defence and dinking it through for Tom Grabham to chase. If he could gather he was left with a simple run-in but the bounce beat him and instead it was a Glasgow lineout.
A frustrating first 40 drew to a close with the Ospreys running into a white Glasgow wall as they looked to work an opening from a lineout, eventually being forced backwards before conceding a penalty for going off the feet at the breakdown, Weir putting the ball out to send his team in at the break with a very healthy lead.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 0 GLASGOW 15
The Ospreys needed a positive start to the second period but after enjoying a prolonged period in Glasgow’s 22 without threatening the line they were once again caught with a real sucker punch as the visitors extended the lead when Webb was pinged for offside in kickable territory. The scrum-half was shown yellow and Weir stretched the lead to 18 points.
The response from the Ospreys was excellent, the team enjoying their most positive spell of possession so far, as for the first time of the night they were able to put together phases in Glasgow territory.
The crowd were responding, getting behind their team as they looked to turn the screw. The numbers were evened out when Glasgow’s James Eddie joined Webb in the bin after offending on the line as an Ospreys lineout maul looked set to rumble over the line, and the pressure eventually told, Ian Evans receiving the scoring pass to stretch over the line and ground 50 minutes in, Biggar adding the extras.
The comeback lasted just minutes though, more loose play from the Ospreys seeing them conceding a lineout on their own line from which Glasgow were eventually able to force their way over from close range, the TMO confirming Van Der Merwe’s second score of the night before Weir’s conversion took Glasgow’s lead back up to 18.
With the Ospreys back up to their full numbers they again laid camp on Glasgow’s line, stretching play left and right looking to find a gap, but they had to settle for three points from the boot of Biggar, a simple penalty in front of the posts on the hour that was impossible to turn down despite the large deficit.
It was the home team who were dominating now but as has been the case too often this season already they were guilty of coughing up possession to easily and too frequently, allowing Glasgow to relieve the pressure.
A Glasgow penalty at the scrum for collapsing then allowed Ruaridh Jackson to seal it with five minutes to go, Mr Colgan marching the Ospreys back 10m after too much chat from skipper Alun Wyn Jones, Jackson’s kick taking it to 28-10.
The game was over as a contest and the visitors were comfortable to secure a second consecutive win at the Liberty and a third win on the bounce over the Ospreys.