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Ospreys 14-28 Bath

Youngsters Joe Thomas and Owen Watkin touched down in the second half but it wasn’t enough as Bath took the Canterbury Cup honours at the Liberty Stadium.

  • A powerful Bath score three unanswered tries to lead 28-0 just before the hour mark
  • Ospreys hit back through Joe Thomas and Owen Watkin to narrow the gap but the deficit was too much to overhaul
  • The team now travel to Welford Road on Friday night to face Leicester in their third and final pre-season game

An experienced Bath line-up outscored the Ospreys three tries to two, racing into a comfortable 28 point lead by the hour mark, aided by some individual errors from the hosts, but as a procession of replacements entered the action it was the home team who finished stronger.

After a quiet opening, former Scarlet, Rhys Priestland, opened the scoring for the visitors, his long-range kick splitting the posts with 11 minutes played.

Bath definitely enjoyed the best of the opening quarter, without ever looking threatening, but they were able to put pressure on the Ospreys line as the game moved into the second quarter, using the scrum as an attacking platform.

Thankfully, the Ospreys defence was solid and teenager flanker, Will Jones, was able to win turnover ball, allowing Luke Price to clear.

The visitors came straight back though and from a lineout on their left the pack rumbled over the line, Nick Auterac dabbing down for the first try of the afternoon, Priestland’s conversion missed the target, leaving the score at 0-8.

Priestland extended the lead with a straightforward three pointer just shy of the half hour, Gareth Thomas penalised on the floor.

Bath continued to enjoy the lion’s share of territory but neither side looked like troubling the scoreboard further in a low-key affair, the first half ending with the Ospreys trailing by 11.     

HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 0-11 BATH

The second half continued in a similar fashion with Bath on top and Josh Lewis moved them another three points clear six minutes after the restart following, the Ospreys penalised at the scrum.

Matt Banahan crashed over from close range just a couple of minutes later, taking the scoring pass off Lewis as Bath made the most of a penalty advantage for an offence at the breakdown, Lewis adding the extras.

A counter attack up the right wing from Tom Williams gave the Ospreys support something to get excited about but with the clock approaching the hour Bath struck for a third try.

It was Nathan Charles who intercepted Price’s attempted pass to Williams on the 22 as the Ospreys looked to attack from deep, the replacement hooker cantering over the line for a score that was converted by Lewis.

There seemed a certain try for Bath when Harry Davies intercepted Thomas’ attempted pass on the left, leaving him with the most straightforward of run-ins, but as he went to go under the posts, Jay Baker managed to get back and prevent him from grounding, the scrum going to the Ospreys on their line, where they won a penalty to clear to halfway.

With the game well into the final quarter the Ospreys were finally able to get their side of the scoreboard moving, a length of the field attack sparked by James Hook, whose little chip kick released Keelan Giles. The winger carried well before putting boot to ball and although the bounce beat both Watkin and Bath's Levi Davis, Thomas was on hand to ground the loose ball, Hook converting.

With both teams by now bearing little resemblance to the fifteens that took to the field at 2.00pm, the Ospreys were on top and they were able to add a second try before the end. The lively Watkin carried well before he put a dink upfield for Giles to chase. Although Bath has the cover to snuff out the initial attack, a good chase saw Watkin stealing the ball at the maul as the visitors looked to drive their way clear, peeling off the side to go down the blindside and score.

Hook converted from the touchline to round off a contest which gave the coaches plenty to think about with one more pre-season game to go, away to Leicester on Friday night, before the Guinness PRO14 season kicks off at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday 2nd September (2.30pm KO).

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