In their first outing this season the Young Ospreys under 16 team beat the Blues South comfortably by 17 points to 5, however, this was a totally different encounter and the Young Ospreys struggled to a 11 points to 9 victory.
In their first outing this season the Young Ospreys under 16 team beat the Blues South comfortably by 17 points to 5, however, this was a totally different encounter and the Young Ospreys struggled to an 11 points to 9 victory. It all started so well for them with some confident play and then a comfortable penalty for outside half Daniel Biggar to open the scoring. After this the Blues took control over the game and proceeded to test the Young Ospreys with a series of high kicks that their back three struggled to deal with. This inability to deal with such an unusual game plan at this level led to discontentment amongst the team and some players showed their inexperience with unnecessary criticism of fellow players. At the start of the season the squad attended a training course with the army as a means of learning to cope with the difficult situations; at times in this game they forgot about those learning outcomes.
Eventually the Blues thoroughly deserved to pull level (penalty from outside half Joe Deacon) but didn’t have the edge to take it on from there. The Young Ospreys did eventually show glimpses of good counter attack and also some individual skills, in particular to the fore was fully fit again centre Kristian Phillips. From one of these counter attacks led by full back Scott Hancock it was Phillips who showed an exceptional turn of speed to get outside the defence and give wing Alex Stubbs the opportunity to force his way over in the corner; the missed conversion was the last action of the first half.
The half time talk to the Young Ospreys was to remind them of what they had set out to achieve and in particular improve at both aspects of the set piece. However, it didn’t get addressed by the players and that problem combined with the tenacity of the Blues forwards led to even more frustration in the ranks. Unfortunately centre Ashley Beck was adjudged by the referee to have delayed his movement before touching down over the try line and the players at this stage must have thought it wasn’t going to be their night, as everything seemed to be going wrong. Deacon kicked two more penalties and the Blues led by 9 points to 8, however, after a series of failed driving lineouts the Young Ospreys were awarded a penalty for an offence of coming in at the side of a maul. With very little time left on the clock the Young Ospreys were faced with a difficult option, do you attempt a difficult goal kick or do you play for another lineout? It is in situations like this that you can judge the mental toughness of players and so it can be said of Bigger who confidently made the decision to kick at goal rather than go for another lineout. A tricky kick made even more so by the tension of the moment was perfectly slotted between the posts; that only left enough time for the Blues to kick off, the Young Ospreys to kick to touch and for the referee to blow his final whistle of the match. The Young Ospreys had got themselves out of jail for a win that keeps them one point ahead of the Dragons in the league. Coaches Alex Evans, David Jones and Andrew Millward will certainly be analysing the video and working diligently with the players between now and the next fixture. That fixture will be a visit to Abercynon RFC (Wednesday February 22nd) for a match against the Blues North who proved to be such difficult opponents in the previous encounter in September.