Ospreys’ famous victory over Leinster in the RDS last season still lives long in the memory for Ospreys supporters; and no doubt the home team would have wanted to right the wrongs of that last outing.
They wasted no time in going about their work with Leinster’s outside half Ross Byrne slotting an early penalty before putting winger Jordan Larmour in for a try within 21 minutes. Ospreys landed a few punches of their own but none in anger, and it would be Leinster who broke through Ospreys’ defence once more through loosehead prop Cian Healy. Ospreys almost found a way through in the final play of the first half but were beaten by the clock, granting the hosts a healthy 15-point lead at the interval.
Half time score: Leinster 15 Ospreys 0
The opening exchanges of the second half were scrappy, but Ospreys looked far more dynamic in their ball carrying and Leinster needed to get creative to break down a sturdy Ospreys defensive unit.
That try came in the 57th minute completely against the run of play, with replacement winger James Lowe making the most of a cross-field kick following a turnover.
Ospreys captain Rhys Webb ensured the Ospreys wouldn’t go home scoreless, however, with a beautifully scored individual try converted by replacement outside half Gareth Anscombe.
🏉62' Leinster 22-7 Y Gweilch— Clwb Rygbi (@yclwbrygbi) February 19, 2022
Cais i'r @ospreys!
Y capten Rhys Webb sy'n cael pwyntiau cynta'r ymwelwyr.
Rhys Webb scores the Ospreys' first points of the evening.
📺 @S4C @S4Cchwaraeon
📍 RDS Dulyn
🏆 @URCOfficial pic.twitter.com/g9nmrcIKkZ
Leinster would have the final say on the 74th minute, with flanker Scott Penny claiming the score at the bottom of a pile of bodies having powered over from short range. Despite a final flurry from the Ospreys, they were unable to gain purchase in the final moments despite good position on the field, and Leinster opted to end the game with a bonus point victory, 29-7.
A disappointing result in Dublin, but a brave performance nonetheless from the away side. A stout defence withstood the Leinster onslaught on many an occasion, but some key injections of class from individuals in blue ultimately helped the hosts secure victory.
Final score: Leinster 29 Ospreys 7
Despite a disappointing result for the Ospreys, there was some good news in seeing the return of Ospreys flanker Dan Lydiate, who has made a remarkable recovery since a serious knee injury sustained in the 2021 Six Nations.
Full Match Report
Leinster were awarded the first penalty of the match after just a couple of minutes, with the Ospreys defence caught offside after a decent run from Leinster winger Jordan Larmour and a flanker Ross Moloney. But it was the outside half Ross Byrne that claimed the first points through the boot, converting the penalty into three points.
A second, more questionable penalty was awarded just ahead of the ten-minute mark and allowed Leinster a platform from Ospreys’ 5m line. However, the visitors in white held fast and kept Leinster out for a long five-minute period of sustained pressure before a penalty allowed Ospreys outside half Stephen Myler to clear the lines.
A knock on from the Ospreys allow Leinster a free shot to run it and a grubber kick through allowed Leinster winger Larmour to pounce on the ball over the try line. The conversion attempt struck the upright which meant Leinster enjoyed a 8-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of the first half.
It looked like Leinster had bagged a second moments later, but the ball was knocked on before they regathered it, so play was brought back for a scrum; however, the pressure was still on the Ospreys as they defended on their 5m line. The pressure mounted and it was Ospreys number eight Morgan Morris who bore the wrath of the referee, being shown a yellow card and the visitors would be a man down for most of the remainder of the first half. The sacrifice was futile, as the Leinster pack eventually powered over the whitewash and Cian Healy claimed the spoils, and with the conversion added, Leinster edged further ahead 15-0.
A parting shot from the Ospreys in the dying moments of the half were promising, with captain and scrumhalf Rhys Webb finding a gap around the breakdown and putting a kick through for winger Keelan Giles to chase. The pressure from the speedster caused the retreating Leinster defender to spill the ball forward on their own 5m line, which would have given the Ospreys a fantastic position to attack from. Alas, the clock was in the red and referee Andrew Brace blew his whistle for half-time and both teams retreated to the changing rooms with Leinster still 15 points ahead.
It took a little under 17 minutes for Leinster to score their third, completely against the swing of momentum. The Ospreys had strung together some good phases and were grinding their way up-field, but a spilled ball on the attack gave Leinster possession and they didn’t need a second invitation to counterattack. A cross field kick from outside half Byrne to fullback O’Brien allowed the fullback to pop the ball back inside to replacement winger James Lowe who stepped around the final defender and had too much pace for the scramble defence. The conversion was successful and the Ospreys found themselves 22-0 down with 20 minutes of the game remaining.
Ospreys did find a way to the try line shortly afterward, however, through leader Webb. The scrumhalf showed plenty of explosive pace to dart through the gap at the breakdown; great strength to fend off a lock; and then some fancy footwork to wrong foot the final defender to score a wonderful individual try. A classy score for the captain, converted easily by replacement outside half Gareth Anscombe.
It took Leinster until the 74th minute to secure their fourth try through flanker Penny, benefitting from a powerful drive from the pack.
The visitors hammered away at the Leinster line in the final five minutes, but the hosts’ defence held fast and eventually turned the ball over to kick the ball into touch to end the game, 29-7.