Second half tries from Tommy Bowe and Jerry Collins aren't enough to prevent the Ospreys slipping to defeat on their first ever visit to the new Cardiff City Stadium
A record 16,341 crowd saw a game that took until the second half to really get going, with too many errors from both sides ensuring that the first half was low on entertainment.
It was the Blues who opened the scoring with just 2 minutes gone, Gareth Cooper making the initial burst in midfield and after the ball was recycled, Sam Norton-Knight’s clever chip allowed Tom James to outpace the Ospreys cover, hacking through first time before winning the footrace to touch down in the corner, Ben Blair adding the extras.
The Ospreys responded positively to the setback, and after one trademark twisting run from captain for the day Shane Williams had almost carved the Blues defence open, the winger was in the centre of things again when hooker Gareth Williams blocked his path with a late and high tackle as he chased his own kick, Biggar missing with the resulting penalty.
It was a typical derby match, with neither side able to take control of the game as it swung back and forth, with the number of unforced errors a concern for both teams. The Blues threatened again just past the 20 minute mark, Blair’s penetrating run from deep being ended by Shane Williams on the 22, but clear chances for either side were proving hard to come by.
As half-time approached, Tom Shanklin showed excellent awareness to snuff out Sonny Parker as he threatened to find a way through after some excellent work at the base of a retreating scrum by Tom Smith, but it was the Blues who ended the half as they started it. A Blair penalty allowed them to extend their lead after Steve Tandy was penalised for a high tackle on Jamie Roberts, and with time up on the clock, the same player’s long range effort from just inside the Blues own half struck the upright.
HALF TIME: CARDIFF BLUES 10 OSPREYS 0
A half-time change saw the Ospreys introduce Ryan Jones to the action in place of Steve Tandy, but it was the Blues who got the second period off to a flying start, Martyn Williams seeing off a number of Ospreys challenges near the touchline, before feeding Cooper who went over in the corner, Blair once again converting.
With the Ospreys now chasing the game, Nikki Walker came into the backline, with Shane Williams switching to scrum half in place of Rhodri Wells in the 52nd minute. Just minutes later, the Ospreys finally managed to get onto the scoreboard, working their way upfield patiently through a number of phases, before a Shane Williams break managed to create space out wide, and as the ball was recycled, Jerry Collins fed Bowe who went over in the corner, Biggar narrowly missing the difficult conversion. At this point the Ospreys sent on Jonathan Thomas, Filo Tiatia and James Hook to replace Ian Gough, Tom Smith and Andrew Bishop.
The Ospreys were enjoying their best spell of the game, and only the whistle of referee Nigel Owens prevented the Ospreys scoring a second try just three minutes later as he penalised the visitors for crossing as Richard Hibbard went over. At the other end, Blair then missed a penalty after Ryan Jones had been penalised for not rolling away after the tackle.
With Paul James on for Cai Griffiths, the Ospreys continued to search for a way back into the game as a strong wind swirled around the Cardiff City Stadium. The Blues defence did well to hold out the Ospreys from a line-out on their tryline after a Biggar penalty kick to the corner, before Griffiths came back on to replace the injured Duncan Jones.
As the Ospreys pushed for a third try, the Blues made an increasingly rare foray into opposition territory, and having been thwarted in their attempts to rumble over for a try from close range, the ball was spun out to Norton-Knight, whose drop goal took the Blues 15 points clear.
The Opreys kept pushing though, and got a deserved second try when Jerry Collins in the corner for his third touchdown of the season, Biggar converting to make it 20-12 at the final whistle, the Ospreys first away defeat of the campaign and a first loss in 5 games.