The Ospreys ran in nine tries as they romped their way back to the top of the Guinness PRO12 table, becoming the first team ever to record three five point hauls in the first three games of a season i
It was a resounding win for the region who continued their record breaking run of successive try bonus points, with this their seventh on the bounce going back to April.
There were nine different scorers in all, with the bonus point in the bag by half-time thanks to scores from Ben John, Sam Parry, Jeff Hassler and Dan Evans. The romp continued after the break, Dafydd Howells, Alun Wyn Jones and a penalty try to go with memorable first tries for Ma’afu Fia and 18-year old Keelan Giles. Sam Davies kicked 11 points, with Dan Biggar adding a further eight.
The Ospreys sit in first place, having scored an incredible 155 points in the first three matches, conceding just 26, the lowest tally in the championship. In total, they’ve scored 21 tries, with only three in the against column.
There was no sign of the landslide of points to come early on, with a low-key start to the action.
After the early loss of Tyler Ardron after a hefty bump in midfield meant the Canadian’s 50th appearance lasted just six minutes, it took the Ospreys a quarter of an hour to get the scoreboard moving, Davies with a simple kick from underneath the posts, following a cagey opening with both sides probing between the 22s without looking like hurting the opposition.
The coaching team will be disappointed that Treviso were allowed to respond immediately, Tommaso Allan with the three-pointer, Parry penalised for not releasing the tackled player.
It was centre, John, who brought the Liberty Stadium crowd to life in the 22nd minute, running a good angle to take the ball off Davies at pace 20m out before stepping the last defender and sauntering under the posts for his third try of the season after a Treviso offside had allowed Davies to put the ball upfield. The conversion was good and the score was 10-3.
Buoyed by that try, the Ospreys were looking to take control of the contest and, after having two attempts at the driving maul repelled on the left hand side, it was third time lucky as Parry peeled off the back to dab down his fourth of the season following his opening day hat-trick against Zebre.
Davies made no mistake with the conversion, taking the Ospreys 14 clear with 10 minutes of the opening period remaining.
It was all Ospreys now and try number three arrived within minutes, patient approach play taking the hosts upfield before Hassler ran a great line off Davies’ shoulder to take the pass at full speed, bursting through two tackles and racing clear.
Davies added the extras and, within two minutes, he was putting over his fourth conversion of the night as the Ospreys secured the bonus point with three minutes of the first half still to play.
It was a great score, a text book counter attack that saw the men in black winning turnover ball in their own half and immediately springing into attack. The ball went through the hands of forwards and backs before Howells made great headway up the left, feeding Tom Habberfield who was able to release Evans for a lovely try.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 31 BENETTON TREVISO 3
After the late flurry of tries at the end of the first half the Ospreys looked to maintain the pressure and try number five arrived within five minutes of the restart.
It was the forwards doing the hard work, driving for the line from close range, Dmitri Arhip almost finding a way through, before it was spun wide out to the left wing where Howells finished in acrobatic style in the corner. The TMO only had to give the replay a cursory glance to confirm the score, but the angle proved too much for Davies on this occasion.
The Ospreys were totally dominating now and the pack looked like it was set to rumble all the way from a lineout, only for their progress to be halted illegally, Luca Bigi shown a yellow card on 50 minutes.
Before play could be restarted the Ospreys emptied the bench, Scott Baldwin, Dan Biggar, Maa’fu Fia and Alun Wyn Jones entering the fray, along with 18-year old Keelan Giles for his senior debut.
Almost immediately, Treviso were down to 13 men and the Ospreys were extending the lead to a full 40 points. It looked like a score for Habberfield but with a question mark over the grounding it was referred upstairs. The decision was not that the scrum half and skipper had got it down, but a penalty try, with Ian McKinley sent to the bin for a high tackle.
Biggar kicked his first conversion of the night, and was then joined on the pitch by Rhys Webb and Gareth Thomas.
The Liberty faithful got their first glimpse of Giles at full pelt as he showed some gas up the right flank to roars of approval from the home crowd, only for his pass infield, looking for support, to be read by the cover defence.
The Waunarlwydd flier was only warming up though as just a couple of minutes later, and with the clock ticking past 60 minutes, there seemed little on when he collected the ball on the Treviso 10m line with a green and white line in front of him. With a little jink and step he was gone, scoring the first try of his professional career, Biggar’s extras taking the Ospreys to a half century with a quarter of the game still to play.
No sooner were Treviso restored to 15 than they found themselves a man short again, Braam Steyn with a dangerous tackle on Biggar.
The tries kept coming and next it was Fia, the prop unstoppable as he powered over from close range for his first Ospreys try, Biggar converting.
Try number nine went the way of Alun Wyn, a simple finish for the big man off Webb’s pass to score after driving maul. Biggar converted, and that was the end of the scoring as far as the home team were concerned, the final say going to the Italian side, Dean Budd finishing well after former Osprey, Tito Tebaldi, had charged down Webb’s attempted clearance in the final minute.
The Ospreys support headed home happy but the squad and coaches will be aware that tougher tests await, with an away trip to Leinster, currently in fifth place with two wins from three, next weekend before the Ospreys then face two unbeaten sides, Ulster in Belfast in a fortnight and then the big Welsh derby against the Blues at the Liberty on Friday 7th October.