Despite a determined and impressive showing, Head Coach Shaun Connor's U18's side couldn't emulate his success with the senior Ospreys side and overcome the powerful visiting Australian team on Sunday
The young Ospreys side made an impressive start to the game, putting pressure on the Australian Schools team and forcing them into mistakes and fouls. After just a few minutes a clever kick to the corner by Luke Price almost saw the Eyasses get the first try, but the ball was knocked on as it was carried over the line. They continued their hard work by defending well against the strong visiting team and were quickly heading towards the try line again before the ball was intercepted.
However the visitors to the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field soon found their place in the game. The Ospreys had a chance to kick for a line out after the visitors were penalised but when the ball didn't find touch Australia quickly took advantage. The Australian Schools team racing half the length of the pitch before the young Ospreys could regroup to stop them. Their attack wasn't over and a superb break by Maclean Jones enabled Henry Hutchinson to race over to score the first try. The conversion was missed but with 11 minutes played the visitors were 5 points ahead.
Just a few minutes later another powerful attack by the visitors saw the Eyasses struggling to hold them out. A charge on the home team's defensive line proved too much and prop Evander Guttenbeil slipped over the line for Australia's second. This time the conversion was kicked successfully by Mitchell Third and the Eyasses were trailing 12 - 0.
The determined Eyasses weren't about to let the National team push them around the field though. Another chip by Luke Price sent them towards the try line but they weren't quick enough to collect. Joe Thomas also making a great break for the home side, sending them deep into the Australia half but couldn't quite make it count. Despite another outstanding run by Maclean Jones for Australia the Eyasses also showed great defensive play, holding the ball up to stop the try being scored. Matthew Aubrey also making a try saving tackle to stop the school teams next attack.
More chances came for both teams in the remaining few minutes of the first half but strong defensive play from the opposition and a few handling errors for both sides meant no one was able to cross the line. At half time the score remained Eyasses 0 - 12 Australia Schools.
It was an outstanding start to the second half for the young Australian side as they crossed the line with just 43 seconds played. Their half time replacement Tepai Moeroa breaking away at the half way line and dodging through the Eyasses to score their third try. Mitchell Third couldn't put them further ahead though, with his conversion going wide.
Despite being reduced to 14 men a few minutes later the Ospreys under 18's weren't giving up and continued to show great defensive play keeping out the powerful southern hemisphere team and making several attacking breaks of their own.
Just as the home side returned to full strength another yellow was shown, this time to the visitors and the Eyasses were quick to make their advantage count. Replacement Jacob Williams dashing over the line with 18 minutes of the second half played. Luke Price's kick was as reliable as ever and with just 10 points between the teams it looked like the Ospreys side were well and truly back in the game.
The Australian schools were quick to regain control of the game however and their dominance lasted the rest of the game. Tepai Moeroa, showing impressive pace, dodged all the defensive moves thrown at him to score his second try of the match just minutes later.
The Eyasses were still looking for their second try but the strong visitors held them out continually with some crushing tackles. Instead it was the Australian Schools team who were able to pressure the Ospreys backwards and into mistakes to have the last word. In the dying seconds of the game Ferati Sa'aga, the replacement front row ,who has been instrumental in so much of Australia's play powered up the field before passing to second row Joshua Anderson to score the final try of the game. The conversion was kicked and the match ended Eyasses 7 - 31 Australia Schools.
Head Coach, Shaun Connor who kicked all of the points in the original Ospreylia v Australia battle said on the game:
"The determination was amazing. To a man they all stood up and put their bodies on the line. We always knew it was going to be physical but I think it was a shock to most of them just how physical it was. By the end the boys were battered but it was a great effort from all of them.
“It was a great experience for the boys. I said to them before the game that they may not ever play international rugby so it could be the only time they will get to play against an international team, and with their mates as well, so told them to go out and enjoy.
“If we had taken some of our chances in the first half I'm sure the score line could have been a bit closer. The try we got was a good one and something we had worked on. But I have no criticism of the players they were all excellent today, absolutely superb".