After months of summer sunshine rugby – and rain – returned at Morganstone Brewery Field as the Ospreys faced Northampton Saints on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors, fielding a vastly more experienced line-up, outscored the home team four tries to one but there was plenty to please the coaches as preparations continue for the new Guinness PRO14 campaign which kicks off in three weeks time.
As the rain poured down, making handling difficult for both sides, it was Sam Davies who opened the scoring with a long-range penalty five minutes in.
The Ospreys then played themselves into trouble in their own 22 and after a prolonged period of Saints pressure it was David Ribbans who went for the line, knocking forward as Cory Allen tackled him.
There has been some great early signs for the hosts in the scrum, new signing Tom Botha dominant, and it was from a second penalty at the setpiece that Davies doubled the lead 13 minutes in.
Despite the positive start it was Saints who grabbed the game’s first try at the midway point of the half, Ollie Sleightholme slicing through the middle to score, with the conversion from James Grayson.
The lineout was proving an issue for the Ospreys and after they had struggled to clear their lines the pressure eventually told when Saints drove over from close range, Ribbans touching down and Grayson converting.
An overthrown lineout again put the Ospreys under pressure, James Fish eventually going over. Grayson with the extras.
At the other end of field the same issue was proving costly, the Ospreys losing possession at their throw in the opposition 22, allowing Saints to counter and move upfield swiftly. It was only a last gasp Habberfield tackle that stopped Jamie Gibson scoring in the corner.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 6 NORTHAMPTON SAINTS 21
The start of the second half saw the supporters treated to the unfamiliar sight of Dan Biggar in the opposition ranks after his summer move to the Saints, but even the usual deadly radar of the Ospreys all-time record points scorer was going to struggle in the rain.
As was the case in the first half, it was a bright start again from Ospreys but it was the Saints who got the next points when Api Ratuniyarawa bundled his way over from close range on the left after it seemed as though the visitors had butchered a three man overlap.
Biggar failed to find the posts with the conversion attempt, drawing ironic cheers from the Ospreys supporters.
Hardly a free flowing contest anyway, a constant procession of changes and the worsening rain meant there was little flow to the game but, to their credit, a youthful Ospreys side kept going and had the final say as Ifan Phillips rounded off a drive to dab down and score in the corner, James Hook with the extras.
Next up for the Ospreys is a trip to the HAC in London to face Saracens on Thursday 23rd August, 6.00pm KO.