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Ospreys 62 Edinburgh 13

The Ospreys ran in nine tries to record a stunning victory over Edinburgh at the Liberty Stadium, which moves them back to the top of the formative Guinness PRO12 table.

 

Rhys Webb got them off to the perfect start with an early brace, and the bonus point was in the bag by 46 minutes as the Dans, Baker and Biggar, scored. The Ospreys then cut loose with five more tries coming from Jeff Hassler, Jonathan Spratt, Hanno Dirksen, Tom Grabham and Tyler Ardron.  Biggar added four conversions and a penalty, with Sam Davies also kicking six points.

 

Webb went under the sticks after just 69 seconds to open the scoring, Biggar adding the extras. 

 

The try came after an early kicking battle, which the Ospreys got the better of when Dan Evans collected on his 10m line and carried to halfway. At the ensuing ruck Webb threw a trademark show and go to leave the Edinburgh defence flat-footed, and he raced through the cover to dab down his third try of the season.

 

Edinburgh responded and Tom Heathcote notched their first points with a simple penalty from in front of the posts.

 

At the other end the Ospreys were immediately back on the offensive, a scrum to the right close to the Edinburgh 22 providing an attacking platform. Josh Matavesi and Baker both gained ground before James King looked to crash over from close range. The decision was referred upstairs, and although the Liberty Stadium megascreens appeared to show the blindside reaching out to ground it on the line, the officials ruled he was short.

 

However, the resulting scrum five saw the Ospreys looking to turn the screw and after a good shove the ball was spun wide along the line. First it was Hanno Dirksen who was stopped short and then Evans. However, at the third attempt it was the in-form Webb was on hand to snipe his way over from close range. The conversion was a trickier one this time but Biggar made no mistake and took the score to 14-3 with just 12 minutes on the clock.

 

After the stunning opening for the home team, the game faded into something of a midfield battle, played out mainly between the 22s with little by way of opportunity for either side, although Hassler almost found a way through the Edinburgh defence, running a great line for Scott Baldwin to pop the ball up to him. If he’d held on to it, the Canadian would have been set for a run-in from some 30m out but he was unable to gather.

 

The third try did eventually come just after the half hour, and it was one for the forwards to enjoy. Biggar snubbed three points to go for the line out, and there was no stopping the Ospreys pack as they rumbled forward as one, the rolling maul working perfectly as Baker eventually put the ball down. Again Biggar was on target with the conversion.

 

If the Ospreys thought it was already game over then they were served a wake-up call just four minutes later as Edinburgh grabbed their first try of the afternoon. There appeared little danger when Sam Hidalgo-Clyne cleared from inside his own 22, but Hassler was sitting very deep and was in no man’s land as the ball bounced in front of him. Tim Visser reacted quickest, hacking the ball on with a perfect volley and although Evans got back to haul the flying Dutchman down metres from the line after he had won the race to collect the bouncing ball, Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson was on hand to finish it off. Heathcote’s conversion took his team into double figures.

 

The Ospreys had the final say of the first half though, Biggar with a successful long-range penalty to take the hosts two converted tries clear.

 

HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 24 EDINBURGH 10

 

An early scrum penalty allowed Heathcote to narrow the deficit to 11 points within minutes of the restart, his kick going over off the right hand upright.

 

The Ospreys response was immediate though, as they bagged the bonus point try with just 46 minutes on the clock. Hassler was the catalyst, cutting infield from the left and beating three defenders before being brought down a couple of metres short. The Edinburgh defence was at sixes and sevens. After a quick recycle the Ospreys had three men over out wide, Biggar going over for his 16th try for the region, taking him to joint 9th in the all-time list alongside James Hook, Stefan Terblanche, Richard Fussell and Dirksen. Biggar picked himself up to add the extras.

 

It got even better just two minutes later after a length of the field score took the Ospreys further ahead. Biggar was able to hack clear off the floor inside his own 22 after a loose Edinburgh pass went to ground. The first to react was Hassler, who scooped the ball up in his stride and raced upfield, outpacing the cover for a stunning score in the corner, his 10th for the region. This time the kick proved too much for Biggar, his first miss of the afternoon, leaving it 36-13 to the Ospreys.

 

Edinburgh came back at the hosts, a series of close range drives taking them close to the line. Awarded a penalty six metres out for offside, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne went quickly only to be stopped by Justin Tipuric who hadn’t retreated to the line so was shown a yellow card immediately.

 

Another quick pick and go saw the Edinburgh player held up just short, and although they were a man short in the pack the next scrum saw a penalty going to the Ospreys, allowing them to clear with the line intact.

 

The Ospreys brought the hour up with a sixth try, this time centre Jonathan Spratt showing good strength to score in the corner after the TMO had been asked to rule on a possible forward pass from Josh Matavesi in the build-up. Biggar missed the conversion.

 

There was only one team in it now and as the clock reached 70 minutes a flowing move that has seen Tom Grabham prominent with two good breaks was rounded off by Hanno Dirksen for his 17th in Ospreys colours, moving him back ahead of Biggar on the list. Sam Davies converted.

 

It was one way traffic by this stage, and the next try came from Grabham, his first in the PRO12, an interception that allowed him to race through under the posts with Davies adding the extras.

 

A fantastic afternoon for the Ospreys was rounded off by the ninth try of the game, Ardron handing off the defender before stepping infield to score, Davies again successful with his kick.

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