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Last Gasp Try Leaves Blues Shell Shocked

By - | 23/03/2006

The Young Ospreys under 20"€™s once again startled their coaching team and supporters by scoring 21 unanswered points in the last ten minutes to claim a victory by 31 points to 26.

The Young Ospreys under 20’s once again startled their coaching team and supporters by scoring 21 unanswered points in the last ten minutes to claim a victory by 31 points to 26. Nobody watching would have thought that the Blues hadn’t won a game this season as a highly charged performance saw them lead by 26 points to 10 with ten minutes remaining. The Blues led through three tries plus 11 points from the boot of outside half Celyn Ashton; prop Neil White and open side flanker Ross Cridland scored early tries for the Young Ospreys.

The game was extremely physical and littered with mistakes as two contrasting styles did battle. The Blues wanted to play through their pack and used a variety of kicks both high and into the corners; while the Young Ospreys wanted to play more of a running game with ball in hand. Highlight of the night was seeing prop White playing wide and demonstrating the skill of using a “stare pass” to put wing Jason Howells into space.

The turnaround in the game for the Young Ospreys came about after a ding dong period of play when both sides had attacking opportunities before Young Osprey replacement centre Anthony Rogers eventually found a gap in the Blues defence and ran in a 35 metre try which Bramwell converted. The next opportunity that came the Young Ospreys way was thwarted as the Blues killed the ball at the breakdown; by this time referee Nigel Owens felt that a yellow card had to be issued and the Blues had to play the last five minutes with 14 men. From the incident the Young Ospreys decided to kick for touch and from the lineout 2nd row forward Jamie Richards caught the ball at the front dived over the try line for what looked like a consolation try. Unfortunately he lost the ball over the line and the Blues were awarded a 5 metre scrum; from this scrum replacement scrum half Lee Gunnell charged down a clearance kick and the Young Ospreys now had an attacking 5 metre scrum. This provided Jonathon Spratt with the opportunity to remind us what a good player he is as he found a gap in the Blues defence and scored a try which again Bramwell converted. The Blues did the Young Ospreys a favour by kicking off directly to No 8 Andrew Gwynne; his instinct is to go forward at all times and again he set up a platform where the Young Ospreys were able to get into the Blues half of the field. By this time the Young Ospreys were ensuring that they kept control over the ball at the breakdown and keeping the ball for long periods. So an anxious sigh came from the coaches and supporters as Spratt attempted what really looked like a speculative cross kick in the direction of wing Howells; but Howells has a snag of making something of nothing and he managed to steal the ball from under the nose of his opposite wing and set up centre Rogers. Rogers unfortunately got caught as he ran for the try line but he showed the presence of mind to hold on to the ball and make a quality pass to Howells who had got back to his feet. From this situation he was unstoppable and he ran in under the posts for a try which again Bramwell converted. Again the Blues kicked off to Gwynne but this time the Young Ospreys were more conservative in their approach and from the set up Spratt kicked the ball into the Blues half of the field. The Blues only had one more chance and when their attempt at a cross kick failed badly referee Owens blew the final whistle.      

Coach Garin Jenkins used a twenty four man squad for the game and what will inspire him (apart from the magnificent comeback), is that ten members of his squad are available next season. The squad now moves into the preparation stages for the Reebok Final on the 29th April and a major headache over selection, as Jenkins adds seven under 19/21 international players (who were not available for this game) to this squad. 

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