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Glasgow 11 Ospreys 9

The Ospreys remain in the top four but are now just one point ahead of Glasgow in the last play-off spot following this heartbreaking defeat at Scotstoun.

 

An evenly balanced contest was decided by a late Glasgow try with just three minutes remaining after it appeared that a Dan Biggar drop goal in the 73rd minute had won it for the visitors.

 

It means that the region’s fate is now out of their own hands with Glasgow having two games in hand on the Ospreys. The Scots have now won their last six games in this fixture, and the Ospreys have failed to win in Glasgow since September 2009.

 

Hooker Scott Baldwin took a blow to the head just 13 seconds in, attempting to claim Biggar’s kick-off. After lengthy treatment he exited temporarily to be checked out on the sidelines as per concussion protocols, 19-year old Scott Otten entering the fray a week after his regional debut, before returning to the field five minutes in.

 

Those opening minutes had seen the game being played out entirely in Glasgow territory, the Ospreys looking to gain early dominance with a strong wind at their backs

 

Despite the visitors having the upper hand they found that chances were limited as Glasgow, with the meanest defence in the PRO12, closed down any gaps instantly. It took until the halfway point of the first half for the region to finally get on the scoreboard, the reliable boot of Biggar slotting over a penalty after Leone Nakarawa had offended at the ruck.

 

It was at this point of the game that Baldwin was eventually forced out of the action for good, Otten again stepping up off the bench.

 

The Ospreys were still enjoying the lion’s share of possession and territory, but a well worked 3-on-1 on the right went begging after Sam Davies’ pass went behind his namesake Lewis, with Justin Tipuric and Jeff Hassler lurking out wide.

 

There remained just three points between the two sides as a tight and edgy contest approached the interval, the Ospreys on top but unable to make it count as they went in with the slightest of leads.

 

GLASGOW 0 OSPREYS 3

 

Coming out with the wind at their backs, the Scots were quickly on the front foot following the restart, looking to increase the tempo of the game, and after nine minutes of probing Duncan Weir brought them level after Tipuric had been penalised for side entry.

 

There was a positive response from the Ospreys, a break from Rhys Webb up the middle taking his team forward 20m before he popped the pass to Biggar on his shoulder. The fly-half’s grubber towards the corner gave Hassler something to chase but Weir was able to get across to the ball ahead of the winger to relieve the danger.

 

Webb was then gingerly helped off the field in the 55th minute after taking a knock to the knee, Tom Habberfield replacing him.

 

Just three minutes later Weir was handed the opportunity to nudge Glasgow ahead for the first time after the Ospreys were guilty of sealing off at a ruck on their 10m line and he duly obliged.

 

To their credit, the Ospreys raised their game, and excellent line out ball secured by Alun Wyn Jones allowed them to attack at pace, Tipuric and replacement loose head Nicky Smith carrying well before the ball was worked wide, where Jonathan Spratt opted to carry into contact instead of feeding Aisea Natoga close to the line. However, it was recycled, moved back infield, and in the shadow of the posts Glasgow were penalised for killing the ball. Biggar made no mistake, taking the score to six apiece with a little under quarter of an hour to play.

 

 

The Ospreys retook the lead with seven minutes left on the clock through a Biggar drop goal after a stunning counter-attack launched by the impressive Dan Baker at the back of a scrum that was in trouble inside their own 22. The young number eight made some 30m upfield before Natoga and Hanno Dirksen continued the good work to take their team into the opposition 22. The Glasgow defence was able to slow the attack down, but Biggar stepped back to receive the ball and slotted it through the uprights.

 

With just five minutes on the clock, Glasgow were able to grab the first try of the night, putting them back in front. There seemed little danger when Nikola Matawalu was marshalling his troops at a ruck close to halfway, but the magical Fijian was able to squeeze past Adam Jones before slotting over a kick to the corner for Tommy Seymour to chase.The winger had a lot to do, but he managed to sneak in just ahead of Biggar to get downward pressure on the ball for a score confirmed by the TMO.

 

Weir’s conversion attempt struck the outside of the post and rebounded to safety, leaving the Ospreys trailing by two, and a couple of minutes later the fly-half was again off-target as he looked to take the game away from the visitors.

 

Looking to contest the restart with just a minute left and needing to get back upfield to win the game, the short dropout appeared to go straight to Richie Vernon of Glasgow, and with the Ospreys defence out of position, Josh Strauss was able to feed Finn Russell for the simples of finishes.

 

However, it was referred upstairs and this time the decision went in the Ospreys favour, Vernon knocking on before Strauss collected in an offside position.

 

The penalty allowed the Ospreys to launch one last counter, Natoga carrying well up the left as they worked their way back upfield with the clock showing red. As they had a few minutes earlier, the Ospreys showed good patience to pick and drive their way deep into Glasgow territory and, again, Biggar set himself up for a drop goal attempt. This time though, Matawalu was alert to the danger and raced out to charge the kick down. After hacking the ball forward there was a straight foot race towards the Ospreys line, the final act of the match seeing Hassler securing the losing bonus point by beating Matawalu to the ball, grounding it behind his own line to bring the game to a close.

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