The Scarlets headed back west across the Loughor on Saturday evening with four points secured after claiming only a second ever win at the Liberty Stadium.
- Josh Matavesi try and eight points from Sam Davies are matches by a DTH Van Der Merwe five pointer and eight from the boot of Dan Jones to send the teams in all-square at half-time
- Four penalties from Aled Thomas in the final quarter condemned the Ospreys to defeat, Davies responding with one second half penalty
- Next up for the Ospreys is another derby, away to the Dragons on Friday, before Treviso visit the Liberty on Friday 15th April
A scrappy but even contest in the rain was tied at 13-13 inside the final quarter but Ospreys indiscipline allowed Scarlets replacement Aled Thomas to slot four penalties to pull his team clear for the victory.
A well worked Josh Matavesi try and eight points from Sam Davies had put the hosts ahead, DTH Van Der Merwe responding along with a similar tally from the boot of Dan Jones meaning it was tied at the break.
There was an early change enforced on the Ospreys when Ben John left the field feeling the after effects of a bang to the head with just three minutes gone, Owen Watkin replacing him in the midfield.
Just a couple of minutes later the Scarlets opened the scoring with a penalty from Jones after an Ospreys offence at the lineout just outside their 22m line.
The first try of the afternoon went the way of the home team, and it was a lovely worked score. Full-back Dan Evans set it up, running at the heart of the Scarlets defence, beating three defenders before slipping it to Matavesi, the Fijian up on his shoulder for a run-in over the line, going under the posts to give his 10 a simple conversion to make it 7-3.
As the first quarter came to a close it was harem scarem stuff as the two teams battled for supremacy, the ball being turned over by both teams with the breakdown area keenly contested.
An offside call against James Davies, the flanker deliberately getting in the way of Rhys Webb at a ruck, then allowed namesake Sam to take the Ospreys seven clear just before the half hour mark.
The Scarlets crossed for their try just shy of the half hour, the TMO taking a cursory check of the grounding after Van Der Merwe took the scoring pass off Morgan Allen to go over in the corner following a swift counter up the left flank led by James Davies.
Jones converted and the scores were level, but just two minutes later Sam Davies was putting his team back in front, the Scarlets guilty of going off their feet at a ruck.
It was all square again at 13 each in the 37th minute, Dan Lydiate offside after another crazy period of rugby with both teams guilty of coughing up possession cheaply, Jones slotting over his third successful kick of the first half.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 13 SCARLETS 13
The opening exchanges of the second half were all about Scarlets pressure, the visitors pounding on the Ospreys line with a series of forward drives. The hosts were able to hold their line intact thanks to some well organised defensive work, and were eventually able to gain some respite when they were awarded a penalty at a five metre scrum, with eight minutes gone after the restart.
Having absorbed all that pressure, the Ospreys were finally able to apply some of their own at the other end, the play following a similar pattern of pick and drive, Sam Underhill stopped agonisingly short.
With the Scarlets looking stretched the Ospreys went for the kill, Webb looking to spin it wide, but his pass just three metres from the line was read perfectly by Hadleigh Parkes, who plucked it out of the air and raced towards halfway. With the cover coming across, he was never going to go all the way so he dinked it upfield where Gareth Davies was eventually pinged for not releasing as he was stopped short by the chasing Jeff Hassler.
With an hour gone it couldn’t have been any tighter but Aled Thomas should have put the Scarlets back in front after Webb was pinged at a ruck but he scuffed his kick horribly off target.
He had better luck 4 minutes later, the Ospreys penalised at the scrum, Thomas taking the scoreboard to 13-16. Hands in the ruck then allowed the Scarlets replacement to double his team’s lead.
With 10 minutes to it was in the realms of do or die for the Ospreys, and a penalty at the scrum dead centre on the opposition 10m line allowed Davies to move his team back to within three.
However, the Ospreys were unable to find any momentum in the closing minutes as the Scarlets took the game by the throat and two more penalties from Thomas, the second with the final kick of the game, meant that the hosts were denied even the consolation of a losing bonus point.