The Ospreys secured a maximum five point haul with an impressive victory against the early season pacesetters at the Liberty Stadium
Tries from Tommy Bowe, Ryan Jones, Lee Byrne and Jonathan Thomas saw the home side claim a bonus point after a stylish display, making it successive wins against Scottish opposition.
The Ospreys were forced into a late reshuffle on the bench when Jerry Collins was forced out due to illness, with the experienced figure of Filo Tiatia taking his place among the replacements.
The Scots opened the scoring through the boot of Phil Godman with five minutes on the clock after Cai Griffiths was penalised for going off his feet at the ruck, but the Ospreys responded almost immediately, Dan Biggar slotting over from the 22 after Edinburgh’s tacklers failed to roll away.
The game burst into life in the 14th minute when the home side worked a well crafted move from the line-out, James Hook feeding Tommy Bowe on the 22, allowing the Irish international, playing in the outside centre position, to scythe through the Edinburgh defence and touch down under the posts for his second try of the season, Biggar converting.
The lead was extended minutes later, Hook’s chip and chase creating the initial break, before the ball was worked wide to skipper Ryan Jones who shrugged off a week challenge to power over the line, Biggar successfully adding two points with a difficult kick near the touchline to make it 17-3.
With the Ospreys in control at this stage and applying constant pressure on the Edinburgh defence, the referee lost patience with the visitors spoiling tactics and sent number eight Ali Hogg to the sinbin in the 24th minute for interfering with the ball.
The Ospreys took advantage of the extra man, carving the opposition open once again with a well worked set-piece move, Ryan Jones picking up from the base of the scrum near halfway to allow his team to work the ball through the hands until fullback Lee Byrne cut inside to cross for their third try of the game, Biggar maintaining his 100 per cent record with the boot to extend the lead to 24-3.
Craig Mitchell was introduced to the action just after the half hour when Duncan Jones was forced out of the action with what appeared to be a groin problem, and there was another enforced change minutes later that saw Andrew Bishop replacing Bowe.
Back up to 15, Edinburgh did almost cut the deficit in the 38th minute, the TMO ruling that Geoff Cross was held up as he went over the line, the combined efforts of Ryan and Alun-wyn Jones preventing the prop from grounding. However, the respite was only temporary, and from the resulting scrum the ball was worked wide to winger Tim Visser who beat Shane Williams to score in the corner, Godman converting to make it 24-10 at the break.
HALF TIME: OSPREYS 24 EDINBURGH 10
The opening minutes of the second half saw both teams resorting to the big boot, the Ospreys getting slightly the better of the kicking battle, without either side looking like troubling the scoreboard operators, although the home side failed to take advantage of line-outs in good position, Edinburgh twice stealing the ball.
Mike Phillips then became the second player of the afternoon to be sent to the sin bin after failing to retreat 10 and then cynically tripping his opposite number Mike Blair.
Despite being a man short, the Ospreys continued to take the game to Edinburgh, a Dan Biggar chip and chase causing the opposition problems, and Shane Williams enjoying a couple of trademarking jinking runs without finding a way through. Biggar almost extended the lead on 55 minutes, his penalty attempt from near halfway striking the right upright.
With the hour approaching Gareth Owen and Huw Bennett entered the fray in place of Lee Byrne and Richard Hibbard, before Phillips returned to the pitch with his team’s 14 point lead intact.
There was almost an instant response from the Ospreys, a good move seeing the ball passing through several pairs of hands, only for Owen’s final pass to Walker to drift forward, the referee ruling out the try.
The Ospreys were thankful to Williams for a torpedo like cover tackle on John Houston as the Edinburgh centre looked to break the home team’s defence, before Tiatia then replaced Tom Smith. The Ospreys sealed the bonus point with their fourth try of the game, Jonathan Thomas intercepting a stray pass on halfway to race through completely unchallenged, touching down under the posts allowing Biggar the easiest of conversions. The try proved to be Thomas’ last contribution, the second row being replaced by Ian Evans.
With the win in the bag, the Ospreys were able to ease their way to the final whistle, moving up to third place in the Magners League, just two points behind leaders Leinster.