Despite a spirited second half performance, the young Ospreys' comeback came too late to claim the win at Kingsholm.
There was no doubting Gloucester's intentions to move to thetop of their pool as they came out of the blocks with some powerful and determined play. The Ospreys defence was continuously battered for the first three minutes of play as the home team camped on their try line looking for a gap. It was inevitable given the sustained pressure that the gap would eventually open up and Aled Thomas slid over to claim the first points of the afternoon, Billy Burns swiftly adding the conversion.
Despite the early domination of the Gloucester pack, there were several promising looking moments for the Ospreys. Dafydd Howells featured prominently with a few dangerous looking runs up the wing but the strong Gloucester back line stopped the moves being completed. Further problems for the visitors at the set piece set up Gloucester for try number two. Unable to handle the powerful driving maul, the Ospreys were penalised, the referee awarding a penalty try. Billy Burns added the additional two points.
Just as the game entered the second quarter, the Ospreys got their first chance for points. When Gloucester were penalised for bringing down the scrum, Sam Davies opted to go for the posts, putting the penalty straight through to get the visitors on the scoreboard.
Shortly after, the Ospreys were able to turn good defensive work into points on the board. Gloucester had control of the ball but the Ospreys pressed hard to pin them inside their own 22. As the hosts looked to go wide to escape up field, Ben John intercepted the ball and ran in unopposed to put the ball down, Davies' conversion bringing the visitors within just 4 points.
Just as it looked like the Ospreys had made their way back into their game, a series of faults and issues hampered their chances. With Gloucester again pounding their try line, the Ospreys defence was holding well until Tom Habberfield was penalised for hands in the ruck and sent to the sin bin with exactly ten minutes remaining in the first half. Gloucester were successful with the resulting penalty kick, Burns with the three points.
Despite the one man deficit, the Ospreys tried to remain in control and were twice awarded penalties in the next few minutes. Sam Davies with a huge kick from just feet inside his own half, had the length but not the angle as it hit the post. There was no such problem with his second shot at goal as he brought his team back within 4.
While the Ospreys were doing a good job of staying in the game with 14 men, a second sin binning proved too much. With Sam Davies shown a yellow at the breakdown, Gloucester easily worked a three man overlap in the dying seconds of the half allowing Ollie Thorley to cross for Gloucester's third. As the clock went red Billy Burns missed his first kick of the game as the conversion sailed wide.
HT: Gloucester 22 - 13 Ospreys
A few long injury breaks meant that the second half took its time in getting going but with eight minutes played the Ospreys, while in control of the ball, were struggling to make it out of their own half. An attempt to clear by Fussell was charged down by Dan Thomas and he raced over, before Billy Burns added the conversion.
Despite still being down to 14 men and three injuries to the forwards forcing the coaches to bring on the replacement hooker and play Otten out of position, the Ospreys refused to throw the towel in and were growing into the game as the second half continued.
When Gloucester were penalised for being offside the Ospreys were put in prime position. A sustained attack was launched as the ball went across field desperately looking for the rare gap in the Gloucester defence. Eventually, powered forward by Tevita Cavubati, Fussell was able to get into position to stretch across the line. Sam Davies with a successful conversion.
Another charge by Cavubati on his debut was spoilt when no one was able to get to him in supporr and another chance went wanting when a long pass out to the wing went sailing into touch.
With ten minutes remaining, Gloucester got the chance to stretch their lead with another successful penalty kick from Burns. After that however it was all Ospreys as they looked to keep the ball alive. A long cross from Davies was collected by Tom Grabham who ran it over to get the Ospreys their third try. Davies' missed conversion left the deficit at 7.
A yellow card to Gloucester substitute Aleki Lututi could have made the remaining few minutes easier on the Ospreys as they looked to even the scores. However despite repeated efforts they couldn't make it through the red wall of Gloucester defenders. When the Ospreys were penalised after the clock went red, Gloucester were happy to send the ball into touch and claim the win, the visitors taking losing bonus point.
FT: Gloucester 32 - 25 Ospreys