The Ospreys showed an abundance of character in the Liberty Stadium rain to secure a record breaking victory over Glasgow Warriors, setting a new Guinness PRO12 best for bonus point wins in a season.
- Giles and Matavesi touch down early to put the Ospreys in the driving seat but Glasgow hit back to go 15-14 up in the second half
- Ardron and Fonotia then score in quick succession as the Ospreys secure a record breaking 10th bonus point win in a single PRO12 season
- Guinness MoM, Luke Price, kicks three conversions on his home PRO12 debut
- Ospreys now in second place, one point off top spot, with six games to play
It was the 10th five pointer that the Ospreys have secured in 16 championship games this season, a new record. It takes them three points ahead of Munster into second place on 60 points, one behind leaders Leinster who are the next team to visit the Liberty Stadium in the PRO12, on Saturday 8th April (3pm KO),
In scenes reminiscent of last weekend’s game against Munster, the Ospreys raced into a 14 point lead as Keelan Giles and Josh Matavesi crossed for early tries before Glasgow hit back to take the lead, 14-15, early in the second half.
To their credit, the Ospreys weathered the storm and came soaring back with tries from Tyler Ardron and Kieron Fonotia to secure a maximum haul, with Guinness PRO12 man of the match, Luke Price, kicking three conversions on only his second ever championship start.
There was a late change ahead of kick-off, Hanno Dirksen withdrawing because of a knee problem, Dafydd Howells replacing him in the starting XV with Jay Baker coming onto the bench.
The combination of a wet surface and a strong, swirling wind, made for testing conditions and the tale of the opening exchanges was very much about both sides coughing up possession as they looked to settle.
It was the Ospreys who struck first, 10 minutes in, with a score of real quality, that stemmed from a wonderful pick up off the floor by Howells on halfway, stooping down to sweep up Dan Evans’ pass in his stride.
Howells beat his man then slipped it to Giles on his inside and the youngster left Grayson Hart for dead as he stepped infield and cruised to the line, Price converting.
The Ospreys were enjoying the upper hand and try number two came in the 22nd minute. Quick lineout ball from Ardron put the hosts on the front foot, Ashley Beck and Lloyd Ashley carrying strongly to take the Ospreys into the Glasgow 22. It seemed though as if their momentum had stalled until Matavesi collected at full pelt, breaking the tackle and going over to score. Price was again on target with the conversion and the Ospreys led 14-0.
Glasgow hit straight back, grabbing their first try almost immediately as the Ospreys failed to exit from the restart, a knock-on giving Glasgow a scrum in the opposition 22.
From the setpiece, Glasgow looked to apply pressure on the Ospreys line, Matt Smith and Hart both stopped just short as they sniped around the breakdown, before Corey Flynn burrowed his way over. Brandon Thomson added the extras.
As the clock ticked towards the 40-minute mark it was all very scrappy, the ball going to ground too often for either coach’s liking, Glasgow probably just about enjoying the better of things.
It was the visitors who ended the half in the ascendancy, eating up the metres as they went through 13 phases deep into over time, carrying into the Ospreys 22, before the penalty went the way of the hosts, tackled player not releasing as Tyler Ardron got in early to contest the ball.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 14 GLASGOW 7
The two teams were met by a typical Swansea deluge of rain at the start of the second half, making the difficult conditions even more testing.
The Ospreys were their own worst enemies in the opening minutes following the restart, errors preventing them from clearing their lines, and Glasgow duly helped themselves to the first points of the half, a straightforward penalty from Thomson to cut the deficit to just four points.
Glasgow struck again in the 50th minute, Peter Murchie dancing his way over the line from close range at the end of a crazy spell of play that saw both teams turning the ball over inside the Ospreys 22. Ospreys skipper Brendon Leonard implored with the ref to check a possible high tackle on Giles, only to have his requests brushed away.
Thomson missed the conversion but Glasgow now led 14-15.
The Ospreys were stung into a response and, incredibly, two tries in as many minutes saw them secure the try bonus point just before the hour mark.
The first, converted by Price, was crafted by the forwards via a rolling maul that was repelled on the line before the ball was recycled for Tyler Ardron to crash over the line under the posts.
Then, as Glasgow looked to move the ball inside Ospreys territory, a telegraphed pass was read by Matavesi who moved it quickly to Giles who beat his man before releasing Price on the outside. The young fly half carried to the Glasgow 10m line then, showing great game awareness, drew the last man before dinking a lovely angled ball for Fonotia to chase, the centre with an easy finish that went unconverted.
Back came the Scottish side, 14 phases of attacking play in the Ospreys 22 eventually resulting in a Glasgow penalty. They went to the corner, where they got no change from the maul so looked to move it wide.
The hosts were eventually able to force the knock-on, resulting in a scrum 10m out from their line, from which Price was able to clear long after good work from Dan Baker.
The final minutes were played out largely in midfield as Glasgow searched for a score that would give them a losing bonus point, but were unable to find a way through as the Ospreys held on for a crucial win.