The Ospreys outscored the Dragons by three tries to nil as they ended 2017 with victory at Rodney Parade.
- Ospreys led from the fourth minute after Scott Baldwin finished off a lineout drive
- Cory Allen scored his first Ospreys try in the first half before Sam Davies stretched the lead after the break
- Dan Biggar kicked seven points as the Ospreys always looked in control
- Next up for the Ospreys is Cardiff Blues at the Liberty next Saturday at 3.15pm
The Ospreys were ahead inside five minutes, a scrum penalty allowing Dan Biggar to put his team deep into Dragons territory and there was no stopping the visiting pack as they rumbled their way over for the opening score of the night, Scott Baldwin dabbing down at the back of the maul. Dan Biggar duly added the extras.
There was an immediate response from the home team and Arwel Robson got their side of the scoreboard moving three minutes later after skipper Dan Lydiate was penalised for killing it on the floor.
However, the Ospreys extended their lead with 12 minutes on the clock, Cory Allen going over for his first try in a competitive fixture for the Ospreys. It stemmed from great work by the halfbacks, Biggar reading Rhys Webb’s box kick from the Ospreys 10m line to perfection, rising high to beat Jared Rosser in the air before racing towards the corner. Eventually pulled down 5m out, his offload found Allen in support and the winger was able to hold off two defenders to score.
Biggar’s touchline conversion from the right came back off the near post but the Ospreys led 12-3.
As the Newport rain began to hammer down the Ospreys were forced into a change as try scorer Allen departed the action holding his arm, replaced by Sam Davies, a change which saw Dan Evans switch to the wing. He was then joined on the sidelines by Lydiate, also with an arm injury, Rob McCusker entering the fray in his place.
A bad minute for the Ospreys was completed by Robson slotting over his second penalty from right in front of the posts, Arhip pinged for hands in the ruck.
Webb was inches away from a third try on the half hour, bamboozling the Dragons defence at a ruck 30m out and racing towards the line. He was stopped by the combination of Rosser and Carl Meyer, before Jack Dixon was penalised for a side entry.
Dixon was given 10 minutes in the bin for that offence, and he was joined on the sidelines by Webb, who headed to the changing room for a HIA.
However, Biggar slotted over a simple kick from in front of the posts to take the Ospreys nine clear.
Despite the Ospreys defence comfortably keeping the opposition away from the danger area, the Dragons were able to stay in touch through the boot of Robson and a penalty at the scrum allowed the youngster to slot over his third successful kick five minutes before half-time.
HALF-TIME: DRAGONS 9-15 OSPREYS
As it continued to rain heavily, the Ospreys welcomed Webb back for the second half.
Dragons tails were up in the opening exchanges following the restart and they laid siege to the Ospreys 22, going through multiple phases of close range drives.
They were unable to find their way through as the visitors held firm, eventually winning a penalty to clear their lines as the Dragons grew increasingly frustrated.
Having weathered that storm the Ospreys were finally able to get back up the other end and, almost immediately, had try number three in the bag.
Awarded a penalty on the left, initially it was kept tight as the forwards rumbled up to the Dragons line. With an advantage in their favour after the maul was brought down illegally, the Ospreys were able to work it across the field where they had multiple men over, Beck held up just short before Webb sent it across to Sam Davies who had the simplest of finishes.
Biggar’s conversion meant the scoreboard read 9-22 with almost three quarters of the match played.
The Ospreys continued pressing in search of a fourth but, although the incessant rain eased, the ball remained like a bar of soap and it proved too much for Owen Watkin to hold as he looked to collect 5m out from the Dragons line.
As the clock moved into the final 10 minutes Hassler was the next to be forced out of the game, leaving the field gingerly after being tackled without the ball, an incident that somehow ended with a Dragons penalty against Alun Wyn Jones for offside after Hassler was adjudged to have knocked on.
The final stages were played out under more heavy rain, neither side looking like troubling the scorers.
With a positive end to the year, the Ospreys will look to make it four wins in five matches when they welcome the Blues to the Liberty Stadium next weekend.