The young Ospreys had to settle for a draw in their final game of the first block of the 2016/17 regional age grade season.
- The Ospreys U16s scored five tries against a strong Blues side including a brace by fullback Cory Taylor.
- The team will now build on strong individual performances in time for the next stage of the age-grade season
Both teams looked ready for a great game of rugby from the first whistle, putting in some great tackles and chases from the off.
Despite an early injury replacement for the Ospreys East number 5 Travis Huntly, the visitors gained ground with a kick to touch by fly-half Sam Costelow. However a lost lineout allowed the Blues U16s to take advantage with a great break by their centre Louis Rees-Zammit, who slid between the posts at the ten-minute mark. Fly-half Ioan Lloyd adding the extras to extend their lead.
The Blues South knocked on in the next stage of play, allowing the Ospreys East to make good ground with a great touch finder from Costelow. The home sides defence work was tested, and the young Ospreys centre Dan O’Sullivan snuck over the line for the visitors first try of the evening. Costelow adding the conversion to even the scores.
Pressure from the Blues South then drove the Ospreys U16s into touch in their own 22. It eventually led to a penalty, where the hosts opted for touch again. And the decision paid off with the Blues breaking through the young Ospreys defence to score between the posts. The successful conversion extending their lead.
However it wasn’t long before the visitors struck back. Good ball carried by the strong Ospreys U16 pack was rewarded with another superb touch finder by Costelow. The territory gained setting up fullback Cory Taylor to sail over the line. The conversion attempt unfortunately bouncing off the posts.
A few infringements from both sides eventually went in the Blues favour, when the young Ospreys were penalised at the scrum for going to the floor. A kick to touch led to another Blues South try by Rees-Zammit.
Once again the Ospreys East U16s answered back, working through the phases until a loose pass planted the ball into the hands of Blues fly-half Ioan Lloyd. His lovely placed chip flying straight into the hands of centre Rees-Zammit who ran the length of the pitch to score between the posts giving the centre his hat trick.
But the young Ospreys weren’t done yet. Constant pressure on the home sides defence nearly earned them a try, before the ref pulled them back for a knock on. But shortly afterwards the try came with a brilliant break by fly-half Costelow who added his own extras.
HT: Blues South U16s 26 – 19 Ospreys East U16s
With the Second half underway the young Ospreys took no time in adding to the scoreboard with Cory Taylor going over in the corner for his second of the night. Despite a missed conversion the visitors were back in the running with a narrow 26-24 score.
Pressure again from the Ospreys East pushed the Blues back into their own 22, and it was a perfectly timed pass and run by Ospreys flanker and captain James McCarthy that put his side ahead for the first time. Costelow extending their lead with a successful conversion.
The Blues were now the ones fighting back and forced the Ospreys East U16s to make mistakes. They were rewarded with a try from hooker Joel Coughlin after he powered through the Ospreys East defence. However the home side could only tie the scores with their conversion attempt missing the mark.
Great stages of play followed from both teams, but neither could take advantage of the other with equal tries scored and equal kick success rates. Both teams putting in great tackles and forcing errors on the other, before time up called Ioan Lloyd to kick for touch to end the game on a draw.
FT: Blues South U16s 31 – 31 Ospreys East U16s
Ospreys East Under 16s Forwards Coach Chris Davies commented on the game:
“We were really pleased with the team’s performance. It is encouraging to know that behind the very skilful players that took to the field, that good old hard aggression, determination and positive attitude is priceless. We did very well against a strong Blues team and with another 5 minutes we could’ve pipped it.”
The Ospreys U16’s East end this stage with one win and two draws under their belt. The age-grade 2016/17 season will resume in early 2017.