Barely two minutes into the game and Ospreys outside half Anscombe was already lining up a shot at goal after a crunching tackle from returning lock Alun Wyn Jones. The Ospreys’ took the lead from the tee but the Cell C Sharks pinched the ball from the restart and Ospreys were immediately forced onto the back foot.
Ospreys conceded a penalty just inside their own half, and Cell C Sharks scrumhalf Ruan Pienaar called for the tee, but his effort was pushed wide, though had plenty of distance. Ospreys returned the kick with interest and exceptional follow up work looked like it was leading to an Ospreys try; but an interception from the Cell C Sharks took play all the way back to their own 22.
Two back-to-back penalties from the visitors saw them retreat all the way back into their own half, where Ospreys outside half Anscombe punished them again with a further three points.
The score was scratched out moments later through Cell C Sharks’ Botha Chamberlain, as he slotted a rare drop-goal, but put his side on the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter.
Ospreys made some good ground through a combination of elusive and powerful carries, featuring the likes of winger Mat Protheroe, prop Nicky Smith, and number eight Morgan Morris.
A goal line drop out fell to Cell C Sharks’ Chamberlain, and the outside half casually dropped a second goal to draw the game level after 25 minutes.
Fullback Dan Evans’ kick had too much power behind it, and the visitors were awarded a scrum just inside Ospreys’ half; but the South Africans were winning the advantage in the kicking game. A penalty from the scrum yielded an opportunity for the visitors to take the lead for the first time. Chamberlain’s effort from the tee was no goo and the Cell C Sharks remained three points behind with ten minutes of the half yet to play.
The first half ended in a stalemate as neither side could break the other down, 6-6.