In a game where Ospreys dominated in the scrum, it was Leicester who came away with the win in a close game at the Swansea.com Stadium.
There wasn’t much to separate the sides in the opening plays, with Leicester perhaps edging the battle for territory.
The scrum began to play a key role in the early stages of the game, with both sides conceding a penalty within the first 8 minutes. Nicky Smith and Joe Heyes seemed to be having a real war on their side, with winning a round each in the scrum.
As we approached 10 minutes, it was Nicky Smith who took round three, winning an Ospreys penalty within kicking range. Jack Walsh slotted it through, 3-0 Ospreys.
Leicester answered back quickly, capitalising on an Ospreys penalty for not rolling away. Nothing to separate the sides 14 minutes in, 3-3.
The next few minutes saw a great spell of line-breaks from the Ospreys, with Max Nagy and Rhys Webb both spotting gaps in the Tigers’ defence on separate occasions. But it was Leicester who would strike next and a succession of good kicks ended with the Tigers in possession in Ospreys’ 22 and winning a penalty. Atkinson converts from close range, 6-3 Leicester.
Shortly after, a smart kick from Leicester’s Harry Simmons pinned the Ospreys inside their 5 metre line and a handling error saw Leicester with a 5 metre scrum. It didn’t matter though: the Ospreys pack dominated the resulting scrum, winning a penalty that allowed the boys to clear their lines.
As we approached the half hour mark, a penalty for Leicester allowed them back into Ospreys territory again. A cross field kick from Atkinson opened it up for on the right side, but Max Nagy made a key one-on-one tackle to deny them. Some great work from Rhys Webb at the breakdown won a penalty for the Ospreys allowing them to get out of their 22.
Webb was on fire in the first half with another slick break from him and a quick thinking dink over the top forcing Leicester into carrying the ball over their own line.
With halftime approaching, Nicky Smith was absolutely running the left side of the scrum and another big win resulted in Joe Heyes being sent to the bin.
TRY OSPREYS! Some powerful pack carrying in the next few phases gave Ospreys the lead going into the half. Nicky Smith, rewarded for his excellent work at the scrum, powered his way over the line. Walsh converted, 10-6 to the Ospreys.
HALFTIME Ospreys 10, Leicester 6.
It was Leicester who hit first on the scoreboard in the second half. Another cross field kick was put out wide by Atkinson. Keelan Giles was almost able to prevent the try but couldn’t hold onto the ball and Harry Potter seized the opportunity to go over. Leicester convert, 13-10 to the Tigers.
Leicester continued their lethal start to the second half. A mazy run from Anthony Watson forced the Ospreys into a few missed tackles and the fullback was able to go over under the posts for the try. Atkinson converts, 20-10.
Ospreys went close not long after. Jack Walsh tapped into his catalogue of kicks with another great up and under for Joe Hawkins to chase: Hawkins caught the ball with a perfect volley, but Anthony Watson was able to recover close to his own line.
Ospreys delved into the Tigers’ 22 again after a break from Alex Cuthbert but Leicester were able to win a penalty at a breakdown soon after. Despite some flashes of brilliance from the Ospreys, Leicester still had their double digit lead.
TRY OSPREYS. Third time lucky for the boys after their third trip in succession to the Leicester 22 was finally fruitful. Some great work by the pack again was finished off by No.8 Morgan Morris. Jack Walsh with a superb conversion from tight to the right touchline. 20-17 to Leicester with five minutes to go.
Unfortunately, it would be Leicester who scored last in this game through a penalty. A hearty performance from the Ospreys but the boys come up short.
FULL TIME: Leicester 23, Ospreys 17.