A six try extravaganza put distance between the young Ospreys and their Scottish Opponents in a 26-point victory.
The Ospreys U16s Combined welcomed the Scotland Reds U16s to Ystrad Mynach where they looked to improve on last week’s performance, and they certainly did running in a six try extravaganza to take the honours in an emphatic victory. Conditions proved to be challenging as blustery winds meant that tactical kicking was paramount throughout.
Immediately from the kick-off, the Scotland Reds found themselves under pressure as the young Ospreys set up camp in their 22, going through the phases and punching holes in their defence to pressure their line. A lineout five-metres out saw the Ospreys catch and drive, but a loose pass cost them a scoring opportunity and allowed the visitors to clear their line.
The Scotland Reds fought back by upping the tempo, playing a game of possession and quick hands as a result of them playing into the wind.
The opening 15-minutes saw a very competitive edge to both sides. Although a very high tempo game, both defences were being stretched but remained on top as most of the rugby was being played between the two sides’ 22s.
It was the Ospreys U16s who were the first to elevate themselves from the zero-mark with 17-minutes on the clock. From a quick tap and go on the 10-metre line, the young Ospreys put the ball wide and from a maul on the open side, Captain Kyan Lloyd crashed over the whitewash for the first try of the game, successfully converted by Dan Edwards – taking the hosts into an early lead: 7-0.
The hosts used the wind to their advantage as a well-directed kick by Edwards saw them awarded a lineout five-metres out, and were able to once again attack Scotland’s line. However, the visitors’ defence held tight.
Through an excellent break-away down the open side from George Dunn and good supporting play, the ball entered the Red’s 22. A ruck was set up on the Scot’s narrow side five-metre line, and the Ospreys gained possession and opened the ball to the opposite side which saw Lloyd dive over the line for his second try of the game, Edwards with the extras – putting the hosts at a 14-point lead.
Less than a minute later, another Ospreys’ try arrived. The Ospreys capitalised on a Scotland Red’s mistake which saw them regain possession in their opponents’ 22 and stretched the ball through the hands to the narrow side, where George Dunn crossed the line in the corner, again excellently converted by Edwards: 21-0.
The tries were coming thick and fast for the hosts as an interception pass saw Iestyn Lewis use his speed to break away and race over the line, dabbing down under the sticks uncontested, Edwards slotting the post for the extras, setting the scoreboard at 28-0.
The scores kept coming for the hosts as there was still time for another Ospreys’ try before the half-time whistle. Good hands and vision by Gregor Devine saw him hit the hole and good supporting play by Elis Evans saw him use his speed to race over the whitewash in the corner for an unconverted try, putting the boys at a healthy lead as they left the field for half-time, 33-0.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS U16S COMBINED 33 – 0 SCOTLAND REDS U16S
As the boys entered onto the field to get the second-half underway, both sides looked to continue playing with the high-tempo and were fully-committed from the off.
With less than a minute played from the restart, the Scotland Reds right winger, Matt Reid, intercepted the ball at the half-way line and pinned his ears back to break away to cross over the whitewash, successfully converted by Matthew Russell, narrowly reducing the deficit, 33 – 7.
With less than 10-minutes played of the second-half, both of the teams rung the changes, and it was Scotland who benefited from the fresh legs as they continued to battle hard and as a result, the Ospreys were forced to play a defensive game, attempting to create a barrier between the visitors and their line. However, the Reds were unable to make that final pass to secure any points, and a pass out wide by the Ospreys to the open side saw the hosts able to clear their line and relieve this pressure.
An excellent break from Tom Florence who popped the ball up to Devine who spotted a hole in the Red’s defence, and sliced through, to crash over the whitewash from close range for the hosts’ sixth try of the game, Edwards solid with his boot to secure the extras, extending the Ospreys’ lead: 40-7.
The visitors fought back and the hosts found themselves under pressure. A steal from the ruck saw Ben Evans slice through the Ospreys defence, to cross over the line, Russell with the extras – closing the distance on the scoreboard to 40 – 14.
Although the Scotland Reds once again upped the tempo, the Ospreys defence held tight through excellent line speed and as a result, the Scotland Reds made frequent handling errors.
The extent of playing such a high tempo game took its toll on the players as, as the clock wound down, tired bodies saw for frequent mistakes on both sides. However, the hosts dug deep and kept hold of their lead until the end. It was a committed performance from both teams, but the hosts proved too strong for their opponents on the afternoon as they secured a well-deserved victory.
FULL-TIME: OSPREYS COMBINED U16S 40 – 14 SCOTLAND REDS U16S