A try double for summer signing George North ensured the Ospreys got the new Guinness PRO14 campaign off to a winning start, edging a tight contest at the Liberty Stadium.
- George North enjoys a dream debut with a second half brace of tries to help the Ospreys to a winning start
- Sam Davies comes off the bench to kick four points that takes him past 500 in the championship, only the third Osprey to do so after Biggar and Henson
- Ospreys face Cheetahs at the Liberty Stadium next Saturday
All-square at the break at just 3-all, Edinburgh were leading 6-3 just before the three quarter point of the game before North, always a threat, exploded into life with an exhilarating brace.
Sam Davies stretched the lead with two conversions, taking him past 500 points in the competition – only the third Osprey to achieve that – before a late rally from Edinburgh, Blair Kinghorn touching down and Jaco van der Walt converting, but the hosts survived a late onslaught to celebrate an opening day win for the fourth consecutive year.
The home team started positively, moving the ball around at every opportunity and just four minutes in they thought they’d opened the scoring, debutant Scott Williams dinking a perfectly weighted ball behind the defence for Dan Evans to chase.
The full back and Edinburgh’s Henry Pyrgos raced to ground it, the TMO confirming the visiting scrum half got there first.
Just a minute or so later Luke Price was handed his first sight of goal but his penalty attempt from 40 yards failed to hit the target.
It was all Ospreys in the early exchanges and the home crowd got their first glimpse of George North in full flight as he looked to find his way up the right before Scott Otten was bundled into touch a metre out.
After absorbing the pressure Edinburgh were able to build a greater share of possession without looking like threatening the Ospreys line and as we moved into the second quarter the scoreboard remained blank.
A Tom Botha obstruction on 30 minutes was punished by Edinburgh, Tom Hickey splitting the posts from more than 40m out.
The Ospreys responded immediately, aggressive work at the breakdown winning a penalty in kickable territory and this time Price made no mistake to level it.
Just before the break there was an enforced change, the outside half limping out of the action after taking a bang to the leg, Sam Davies replacing him.
Within two minutes of his arrival, Davies had a chance to send his team in at the break with the lead, a huge scrum rewarded with a penalty but the long range kick, with time up, never looked like hitting the target.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 3-3 EDINBURGH
After a pretty uneventful opening to the second half that saw Edinburgh edging it, it was the visitors who eventually got the scoreboard moving 55 minutes in through another Hickey penalty, this time a simple one in front of the posts after an Ospreys offside.
That sparked the Ospreys into life and just three minutes later they had the lead, the first try of the night and a debut touchdown from North. Taking the ball from Dan Evans on the right, the big wing still had plenty to do as he cut infield, beating two defenders to score.
Davies was on target with the conversion, taking him to the 500 point landmark.
North had the Ospreys fans on the edge of their seats again a minute later with a powerful break up the right and as the pressure built the hosts were unable to take advantage of an overlap on the opposite side, Alun Wyn Jones’ pass evading Hanno Dirksen and going straight into touch.
It got better for North 10 minutes later when he grabbed his second, running in from his own half after the Ospreys won turnover ball inside their own 22. Sam Cross broke and then, eventually, it was Justin Tipuric who freed his winger on the 10m line, North racing upfield to score, Davies with the extras.
Edinburgh threw everything at their opposition in the closing minutes and it as no surprise when they reduced the deficit through Kinghorn, the full back crashing over after a series of close range pick and drives, converted by van der Walt.
An infringement on halfway allowed the visitors one last go, but their lineout drive went to ground short of the line, referee ruling a turnover and giving the scrum to the Ospreys who were relieved to get the ball off the field.