The Ospreys left Rodney Parade with just the losing bonus point after the Dragons claimed the derby honours on Sunday afternoon, winning by the tightest of margins.
- Dragons took an early lead which they held until the 70th minute
- Sam Davies kicked 17 points and Justin Tipuric scored his 29th try, as the Ospreys overhauled an 11 point deficit to take a two-point lead with 10 to play
- Jason Tovey kicked a crucial penalty to put the home team back in front, before Davies missed a kick to win it with 90 seconds on the clock
- Ospreys now host Cardiff Blues at the Liberty next Saturday, 3pm KO
Round one of the derbies last weekend had seen the Ospreys defeating the Scarlets at the Liberty while the Dragons lost to the Blues thanks to Gareth Anscombe’s last minute penalty.
It was the Dragons who struck first, in Newport, Josh Lewis with a long range effort from close to halfway after the Ospreys just four minutes in.
Although evenly contested, there wasn’t much sparkle from either side in the opening exchanges, but an offside call just outside the Ospreys 22 allowed Lewis to double the home team’s lead just before the midway point of the first half.
Sam Davies got the Ospreys side of the scoreboard moving just a couple of minutes later, making no mistake from 35m out on the right after former Osprey Aaron Jarvis went off his feet at the ruck.
The first bit of quality from either side saw the Ospreys putting together some good rugby, Scott Baldwin and Gareth Thomas punching a hole in the Dragons defence for Olly Cracknell to carry deep into the 22.
With two men over out wide, Davies’ long pass attempted to release George North, only for Hallam Amos to step in and attempt the intercept. He couldn’t gather, but referee Dan Jones ruled it as a knock-on only, a genuine attempt to catch the ball from the Welsh international.
The Ospreys looked to keep the pressure up from the scrum but possession was lost. Rhodri Williams cleared upfield, looking for touch, but a wicked bounce on the right took out both Dan Evans and Luke Morgan, allowing Jared Rosser to collect the ball in his stride and race over from 40m out to score in the corner, Lewis converting.
Davies doubled the Ospreys tally just after the half hour, a straightforward three points after a Dragons offence at the scrum, but it was the hosts who led by seven at the break.
HALF-TIME: DRAGONS 13-6 OSPREYS
The Ospreys were on the offensive straight from the restart and a late hit on Davies by Brandon Nansen gave the visitors the first points of the second period.
The Dragons should have extended their lead in the 50th minute, Morgan again caught by an awkward bouncing ball that allowed skipper Cory Hill to steal possession on the Ospreys 22, striding towards the line only to be hauled down a couple of metres short.
An offside call allowed the Dragon to go to the corner, and it was Elliott Dee who burrowed his way over from close range to score, Lewis with the extras, to take the score to 20-9.
Davies was on target once more in the 58th minute, Nansen penalised for a high tackle.
George North almost made the most of a scrappy spell of play in midfield, both teams losing possession through poor handling, the Ospreys wing making 40 yards before the ball was again turned over cheaply as the Dragons defence scrambled.
As the clock moved into the final quarter the Ospreys trailed by eight and, although they were finally taking control of the contest, they were unable to find a way through, unforced errors all too often handing over possession.
With 14 minutes to go the Ospreys were eventually able to breach the Dragons line, the ball moved left to right where the unlikely shape of Olly Cracknell did the damage, the blindside making the hard yards before offloading to Justin Tipuric 25m out, the skipper racing over to score, Davies’ conversion taking the Ospreys back to within a point.
They took the lead for the first time with just 10 minutes to play, Davies from 40m out after a deliberate knock-on but they led for just three minutes, Jason Tovey from the touchline after the Dragons won a penalty at their scrum five metres out.
As the Ospreys pressed for a winning score, a Dragons offence allowed Davies one last shot at goal, but he missed for the first time in the game, pushing his shot across the posts and wide, allowing the home team to play out the final seconds to secure the win.