There were mixed fortunes for the Ospreys U16 on Wednesday evening with one win and one defeat.
Ospreys East dug deep and fought hard when they took on Cardiff Blues South yesterday, but were overpowered by confident opposition.
With the perfect rugby-playing conditions, both teams eagerly stepped out onto the field looking to round off the first block of regional age grade games on a high. However, it was Cardiff Blues South who were victorious on home ground.
From kick-off, the young Ospreys were under early pressure as the Blues set up camp in their 22. While the hosts went though the phases and dominated possession, the away-side defence held its own well.
The Blues relentlessly attacked through these early stages, and while they repeatedly made breaks out wide, aggressive tackling and commitment meant the Ospreys, were able to keep pressure away from the line for long periods of the first half.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the Blues stole the ball from the Ospreys’ lineout on the half-way line. Through quick hands, the ball was moved out wide and Iwan Prys-Jones broke-away down the openside from 40-yards out, and scored in the left corner, converted by Cian Anderson, giving the Blues a seven point lead.
The Blues were dominating the first half and continued to drive close to the tryline. But the away-side dug deep and powerful tackles from the Ospreys defence, especially from tight-head prop Xander Molitika, saw the home-side being forced backwards away from the threatening territory of the whitewash.
Despite the Blues control throughout the first half, the Ospreys showed glimpses of promise. Full back Cori Lewis-Jenkins’ interception of the ball saw him have an excellent 40-yard kick and chase, which drove the Blues back into their own 22. However, the young Ospreys conceded a penalty, which handed the home-side back possession of the ball.
Handling errors let the Ospreys down in key positions, allowing the Blues to gain territory. From a Scrum five metres out, the away-side were under immense pressure, and Charlie Jowett, the Blues’ blindside, forced himself over the line minutes before half time, converted by Anderson.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF BLUES SOUTH U16 14 – 0 OSPREYS EAST U16
With only two minutes of the second-half gone, the Blues again turned pressure into points.
Through quick hands and movement of the ball, captain Morgan Jones slid over the line underneath the sticks for their third try of the evening, converted by Anderson, taking their lead to 21-0.
The Ospreys rallied round and were quick to answer back, moving the ball and switching it wide, for centre Ollie Fish to break away for an unconverted try.
This was the confidence boost that the young Ospreys needed, which saw them enjoying more possession of the ball, eventually resulting in a second try.
Even though the hosts stole the Ospreys lineout, the away-side threw everything at their opposition and retrieved possession, with a kick and chase from Lewis-Jenkins which saw the Ospreys pressurise in the Blue’s 22. The Ospreys went through the phases, and the ball was put wide to Lewis-Jenkins who still had some work to do, but through great vision, he broke away and used his speed, to race over the tryline in the left corner for an unconverted try, closing the gap to 11 points.
The young Ospreys battled back against the home-side, continually putting the Blues under pressure but again, handling errors and infringements resulted in a failure to capitalise their possession, handing the Blues back the possession of the ball.
At this point in the game, it became very scrappy with both sides making mistakes.
As the final whistle approached, Molitika was yellow carded, and the Blues took advantage of the extra man.
From a lineout on the five metre line, the Ospreys collapsed the resultant rolling maul, which led to the Blues being awarded a penalty try, taking hosts into a 28-10 lead.
From the restart, the Blues, in control, were quick to attack. Through quick hands and offloads, the hosts blitzed 40-metres into the Ospreys half and with a final pass to Bonnie Nehatta, he crashed over the line in the dying seconds of the game. The conversion from Josh Atkinson on the final whistle rounded off a comprehensive win.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF BLUES SOUTH U16 35 – 10 OSPREYS EAST U16
Meanwhile, over in Ystrad Mynach, there was a more positive outcome for the Ospreys West U16s who rounded off this first block of fixtures with a 17-31 win against the Dragons Black U16s.
A solid first half performance from the young Ospreys saw them edge ahead at half-time. Tries from Damon Watts and Iestyn Lewis, plus a successful conversion from Luca Caplin all within the first 15 minutes, pushed them into an early 0-12 lead.
The Dragons were quick to respond and an unconverted try by Olly Andrews, closed the gap, bringing the score to 5-12 at 17 minutes.
Another unconverted try by Ospreys’ outside centre Tiegue Williams, pushed them further in front with 12-point lead, taking the score to 5-17.
The Dragons fought back and Joe Westwood crossed the line for their second try of the evening, which he then went onto successfully convert, reducing the deficit to 12-17 at the half-time whistle.
HALF TIME: DRAGONS BLACK U16 12-17 OSPREYS WEST U16
The Dragons were quick to add to the scoreboard, 1 minute into the second-half, as Will Oates dabbed down to bring them level with the young Ospreys at 17-17.
The Ospreys answered back and went onto dominate the last half an hour of the game, racking up the scoreboard. Tries from George Dunn, converted by Caplin, and then another from Iestyn lewis for his second try of the evening, the extras by Dan Edwards, made for a very successful and productive second half, that secured a well-deserved victory for the young Ospreys, with a comfortable 17-31 win.
FULL TIME: DRAGONS BLACK U16 17-31 OSPREYS WEST U16