They left it to the very last play of the game, but the Ospreys secured their second win of the season at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday evening.
After the opening weekend 27-3 win over Leinster it was a much tighter affair this time, with Edinburgh matching the Ospreys every step of the way, but a try from skipper Justin Tipuric with the game in overtime clinched a hard earned victory.
The Ospreys looked to take the game to their visitors right from the off, an early break up the right by Kristian Phillips snuffed out by the combined efforts of Tom Visser and Tom Brown.
It was Edinburgh who opened the scoring however, with a little over six minutes gone, through Dutch flier Visser. His chip and chase seemed straight forward enough for the covering full back Richard Fussell only for the bounce to beat him allowing Visser to pounce and score in the corner, Brown converting.
The Ospreys hit straight back with a well-taken individual try from Rhys Webb just minutes later. Awarded a lineout just outside the Edinburgh 22 after Greg Hunter’s clearance had gone out on the full, Webb was able to make the most of scrappy ball before spotting a gap in the defence and jinking his way past opposite number Greg Laidlaw to race through and score. Dan Biggar added the extras to level things.
It was all-square for just a couple of minutes though, Tom Smith penalised for going off his feet at the breakdown, allowing Laidlaw to slot over a penalty that put his team back in front. The Edinburgh skipper then had a chance to double the lead after the Ospreys were pinged for offside but this time he couldn’t find the target.
There was no real flow or rhythm to the game in the opening quarter, the referee’s whistle being the most influential factor on the contest, but a Biggar break from his own 22, followed by another Phillips run, brought it to life before the young Ospreys fly-half was able to level things again with his boot following a huge shove from his pack at an Edinburgh scrum on their own 22 saw David Wilkinson awarding a penalty.
Good defensive work from Webb then saw him stripping Jim Thompson on the Ospreys 10m line before putting a kick behind the Edinburgh defence for Phillips to chase. The bounce fell kindly for Edinburgh though and Tom Brown was able to clear to touch.
The Ospreys tails were up and twice they came close to taking the lead for the first time. First, the referee ruled that Biggar’s drop goal attempt hadn’t gone through the sticks and he declined to go to the TMO despite the player’s appeals – and replays suggested that the ball may just have crept inside the right hand upright – and then a dazzling burst from Tipuric saw him cut a swathe through the Edinburgh defence only to knock on as he stretched out to ground the ball under pressure from Gregor Hunter.
The scoreboard did swing in the Ospreys favour on the 30-minute mark though, Biggar making no mistake after Edinburgh were guilty of entering from the side.
After a pretty even 40 minutes, Laidlaw was able to level things with a penalty from a central position on the 10m line after Mr Wilkinson penalised an Ospreys tackler for not rolling away.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 13 EDINBURGH 13
A penalty against Steve Lawrie for killing the ball at a ruck inside a minute of the restart allowed Biggar the chance to put his side back in front, but his well-struck effort came back off the upright.
Minutes later the Ospreys were penalised for coming in from the side and after a lengthy advantage that failed to materialise play was brought back for Laidlaw to put Edinburgh back ahead. The lead lasted just a minute though before Lewis Niven was guilty of going off his feet, allowing Biggar to bring back to level-pegging.
As had been the case in the first half the ref’s whistle was dominating the game, to the increasing frustration of the home support, and although a couple of wasteful kicks from the Ospreys backs saw they needlessly handover possession, some great work by Phillips and Hanno Dirksen got the Ospreys crowd to their feet as they combined with pace to take their team upfield before the Edinburgh cover halted their progress – followed by another whistle, this time for an apparent obstruction.
A great run by Andrew Bishop punched a huge hole in the Edinburgh defence, Tipuric was in support, before the ball was worked out to Phillips who showed good pace but eventually ran out of space close to the touchline a couple of metres short.
Some of the referee’s decisions were becoming increasingly unfathomable, but the Ospreys were in agreement with the offside call against Niven that allowed Biggar to nudge the Ospreys ahead once again with 15 minutes to play.
Another massive Ospreys drive at an Edinburgh scrum saw the opposition in all sorts of trouble. The ball squirmed out and centre James King tried to rescue the position but was penalised for holding on as the Ospreys tried to steel, but Biggar’s penalty was off target.
The Ospreys were forced to play out the final six minutes a men short after Ian Evans was penalised for bringing down the jumper at the lineout, Laidlaw doubling the pain with a successful penalty to level it once more.
The visitors sniffed victory and laid siege to the Ospreys line, but with the clock showing time Dan Biggar won a crucial turnover which allowed the Ospreys to launch one final attack. Tom Isaacs spotted the space behind the Edinburgh line and launched a kick upfield, the bounce beating three Edinburgh defenders to allow the pursuing Isaacs to gather. It looked as though the Ospreys had blown their chance, a wayward pass seeing the move losing momentum and Dirksen having to go backwards to gather, but the Ospreys regrouped and came again. Mefin Davies, Bishop and Fussell all carried well, with the final pass of the match off Isaacs seeing Tipuric juggling it before gathering the ball above his head and forcing his way over to ground. It was referred upstairs for a decision, TMO Tony Rowlands only needing a cursory glance to confirm the try. Biggar’s conversion with the last kick of the game rounded off the win for the home team.