There was a win and two defeats for the Eyasses on Wednesday evening as they did battle on three different fronts.
The Ospreys U18’s threw away a 12 point lead in the 23-18 loss to the Dragons at Pandy Park in the first game of the new WRU Regional Age Grade Championship.
A brace of tries by Daf Howells wasn’t enough to help the Eyasses overcome the Dragons in Cross Keys. The Gwent team were applying plenty of pressure in the opening exchanges of the match but it was the visitors who capitalised as they rallied into an early 12 point lead.
Carl Leyshon proved to be a nuisance to the Dragons at the breakdown and it was his fine work which enabled Howells to grab the Eyasses first try out wide. Immediately after, another turnover provided the Eyasses with the platform to attack and Howells again found himself crossing the whitewash to score.
The Dragons looked a different team following the tries and went on a rampage to reply with 20 unanswered points, fashioned by their half back partnership of Luke Crane and Angus O’Brian. This gave them the lead with the Eyasses looking all out of sorts and longing for the half time whistle.
A break was what the Eyasses needed to regroup and start again. They opened the second half scoring through the boot of Luke Price which put the Eyasses within five points of their opponents. The half continued with both teams refusing to let an attack break their defence down.
O’Brian and Price exchanged a penalty each but it was the Eyasses who were looking most likely to grab the second half’s first try. They had the better of possession as the game closed out but were just not accurate enough with ball in hand to grab a vital five-pointer.
The game ended with the Dragons edging the tight encounter but the Ospreys youngsters will be disappointed with letting the Gwent outfit grab an easy 20 points in the first half. The Ospreys will take away the experience of the game and will look to learn from their mistakes in preparation for their next match.
Meanwhile, the Ospreys U16’s crashed to a 32-10 defeat in their opening league game against the Scarlets at Llandarcy.
The Eyasses leaked four tries to their west Walian opponents with Scarlet’s centre, Kieran Jones proving to be a constant thorn in their side. Jones grabbed himself a try at the start of the second half and added an extra 12 points with the boot. Prop Richard Bassett, centre Matthew Pearce and scrum half Harry Randall also touched down for the Scarlets
The home region kept pushing for points throughout the game and managed to grab their first and only try of the game through wing, Regan Grace, in the second half , despite being a man down in the pack due to the sin-binning of Nick Davies. The other five Ospreys points were scored by the goal kicking of Dylan Francis.
With a convincing victory under their belt, the Scarlets will be the happier team after securing a great victory to begin their league campaign. The Eyasses will take their experiences from this loss and will look to improve to secure their first win against the Dragons next week.
At the same time, the U17 Development side came from behind to claim a hard fought 15-10 victory against Gower College Swansea at Dunvant RFC last night.
The evening was expectant of some running rugby and neither side failed to disappoint. Both teams displayed sublime handling and creative intent with the ball in hand, straight from the kick-off. The game went from end to end before Gower College Swansea capitalised on the ill-discipline of their opponents to grab the first try of the match after 10 minutes.
Gower had their tails up following their opening score and continued in confident fashion. Again, the college displayed fantastic handling in their backline, which enabled them to cross the whitewash for another five-pointer.
The Eyasses found themselves trailing by ten points and they pressed to reduce the deficit before the half time whistle sounded. Scrum half, Luke Ford, demonstrated some initiative when he took a quick tap, creating space for himself to score the Eyasses first try which brought the scores to 10-5 in favour of Gower at the break.
An abundance of changes were made at the break by both teams, with the coaches looking to utilise their big squads and give every player the chance to prove their worth. This provided the game with renewed intensity and it was only five minutes into the second half when number eight, Liam Price, crashed over the line to level up the scores at ten points apiece.
The game was played at a frantic pace with the defences of both sides looking difficult to breach. The determined last ditch tackling of the teams prevented tries being scored until Ospreys winger, Ryan Hopkins, found himself in a bit of space. Hopkins finally had the opportunity to pin his ears back, show his blistering pace and touch down to take the Eyasses into the lead for the first time in the game.
With 20 minutes left to go, both teams failed to add any further points which meant the Ospreys were able to pick up their first win of the season. The encounter with Gower College Swansea proved to be a tough but the youngsters learnt a lot through their hard fought