Eyasses kick off the season with a win

The Ospreys Under 18s side started the new WRU Regional Age Grade season with a win against last year’s champions, the Scarlets.

The 2013/14 season could not have got off to a better start for the Young Ospreys when they recorded a 18 – 7 win against reigning champions the Scarlets, in an away game at Parc Y Scarlets last night.

The Scarlets kicked off strongly, putting pressure on the young Ospreys side from the very beginning and were rewarded with a penalty with barely 2 minutes played. The Scarlets outside half Dan Jones sent it wide of the posts but straight after the restart the pressure from the home team began again. The Ospreys defence proved strong under attack and the despite the Scarlets best efforts the ball crossed the line before they could get their hands on it.

A scrappy restart saw both sides fumbling for the ball before a crunching tackle from outside centre Joe Thomas saw the Ospreys back in control. However they were unable to make it count, and a strong scrum soon put the Scarlets back on the front foot and had them chasing for the line before a knock on stopped them scoring.

Towards the end of the first quarter the Ospreys scrum, which hadn’t had the best start, came into its own and stayed dominant for the majority of the game. Some good breaks for the Ospreys saw them make progress up the field before they were awarded a penalty after the Scarlets were found offside. Luke Price, kicking right into the sun missed and the game remained with no score for either side as the second quarter began.

The Scarlets restart was quickly turned over by the Ospreys and they were then penalised for not rolling away. Several clean long passes saw Ospreys number 8 Jon Fox make a stunning break for the line before being brought down a foot shy of scoring just as the visiting fans started to celebrate.

A loose ball from the Scarlets line out was quickly picked up by the Ospreys who started to attack, though a knock on returned the ball to the home side briefly before they were penalised for holding on. Despite the sun, Luke Price put the ball between the posts and got the first score on the boards.

The rest of the first half was all in the Ospreys favour with good runs from Joe Thomas and Stuart Nicholas seeing them take the ball towards the try line before being bundled into touch. Joe Gage also led a strong attack taking the ball from the half way line deep into the 22. The Scarlets defence however stayed strong and denied the Ospreys a try. The final play of the half saw the Scarlets penalised for holding on and Luke Price took advantage making the score 6 – 0 at half time.

The second half started strongly for both sides, the Ospreys were the ones to take advantage though when a ball from the scrum was passed along the line to Joe Thomas who made a brilliant run to the corner to score the first try of the game. Price just missed the conversion and with 8 minutes played in the second half the score remained 11 – 0.

With the home side down to 14 men the Ospreys kept the pressure on, dominating the scrums and showing real skill in the line outs. The Scarlets kept on attacking though and were rewarded when Dan Jones grabbed an interception try right under the posts. He then converted it, bringing the home side back within 4 points.

Buoyed by the try, the Scarlets kept up the pressure on the Ospreys very strong defence. A line out just feet from the try line could have been dangerous however an over long throw in from the Scarlets Hooker saw the Ospreys back in control of the ball. The Scarlets kept on pushing but some more spectacular tackles particularly from Ospreys second row Mathew Dodd kept them from getting close again. A missed drop goal and penalty by the Scarlets saw the score remain 11-7 to the Ospreys.

The final 10 minutes of game time saw the Ospreys back on the offensive and testing Llanelli’s defence. Owen Watkin’s last minute break for the line saw him dodge several of the home side before passing the ball to replacement Morgan Jones to score. Another replacement, James Davies converted bringing the score at the end to 18 – 7 to the Ospreys.

Head Coach, Shaun Connor said on the game:

”Obviously we still have a lot to work on but with a lot of new players on the field for us tonight it is a massively positive start. The game was a little bit inaccurate but our physicality and contact area work was superb and that’s what won us the game. We struggled a lot last year with our contact area so we have really focused on that over the summer and that paid dividends for us tonight”.

Asked about who he thought had played particularly well for the Ospreys he commented:

“It was good to see Harrison Walsh back on the field for us, Joe Thomas looked sharp after his return from an operation. Joe Gage also played well at full back and I generally thought the whole pack played really well.”