The Ospreys notched up a seventh try bonus point win from 10 Guinness PRO12 games to date this season on Friday night, to cement their place in the top four.
- Howells, Baker, Fia and Giles score the tries as the Ospreys secure another bonus point win
- Sam Davies' 11 points take him above Shaun Connor as the fourth highest scorer ever for the Ospreys
- The win sees the Ospreys move to second spot in the PRO12 table, guaranteed to be in third spot at least when the Scarlets arrive for the Christmas derby
Four tries came inside 45 minutes but that was it as far as the scoring was concerned for the hosts, despite Edinburgh playing 20 second half minutes a man short as a keenly contested affair grow increasingly frustrating for the Ospreys.
The win means that, with a two week break for the European double header against Grenoble, the Ospreys are guaranteed to be in the top three when the Scarlets visit the Liberty on December 27th.
Having fallen behind early on the Ospreys took the lead through Dafydd Howells fifth of season and it was a lead they never relinquished, Dan Baker and Ma’afu Fia scoring before the break, before Keelan Giles grabbed his ninth in only six senior games shortly after the break.
Sam Davies kicked 11 points to take him to 494 career points for the region, jumping passed Shaun Connor’s 488 to go fourth in the all-time list behind only Dan Biggar, Gavin Henson and James Hook.
The Ospreys had the better of the opening exchanges and it came as no surprise when they took the lead in the sixth minute, although they had to settle for three points from Davies, the Ospreys awarded the penalty for an offence on the floor in the shadow of the posts after a powerful run from Ashley Beck.
Edinburgh’s response was instant though, the visitors taking advantage of the Ospreys inability to exit from the restart. Nasi Manu charged down Davies’ attempted clearance from inside his own 22 and, after the number eight had reclaimed the loose ball, Edinburgh were able to work it out to the left where they had a man over.
William Helu was in acres of space and was able to go over in the corner, the angle from the touchline proving too much for Duncan Weir.
To their credit, the Ospreys hit straight back with a lovely score just four minutes later, Howells coming infield to collect off Dan Evans and burst through from 30m out to score a well worked set move. Davies converted and the Ospreys led 10-5 with 13 minutes played.
That lead grew before the clock had reached 20 minutes, the Ospreys pack demolishing the opposition eight on their own put-in at a five metre scrum. A big shove allowed Baker to pounce as the ball squirmed out to score the easiest of tries. Again, Davies added the extras.
At this point you sensed the next score could take the game away from Edinburgh, but it went the visitors way in controversial circumstances, Damian Hoyland appearing to take out Dan Evans as he waited for a high ball to drop out of the sky, the ball bouncing kindly for Blair Kinghorn who was presented with a run-in from almost 40m out.
With the Liberty crowd furious, referee Dudley Phillips went upstairs for a decision and the try was awarded, much to the annoyance and frustration of all in black.
Weir converted and Edinburgh trailed by just five.
In an entertaining contest, it was the Ospreys who grabbed their third try just past the half hour mark, converted by Davies. It was Fia who powered over from close range after a rolling maul had driven 10m upfield, their progress halted on the line.
Edinburgh were proving impossible to shake off though and they added three more points before the break, Weir with the kick after Nicky Smith was penalised at the ruck.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 24 EDINBURGH 15
To their credit the Ospreys were able to put aside their understandable first half frustrations and grab the fourth try within five minutes of the restart, securing the bonus point.
With a penalty advantage in their favour, they worked through multiple phases, a lovely jinking Beck run almost seeing him go over before, eventually, it was Alun Wyn Jones who slipped the scoring pass to teenage winger Giles who dived over in the corner.
Edinburgh’s Grant Gilchrist was shown a yellow card in the 54th minute after being caught offside, a victim of the growing penalty count against his side.
The Ospreys almost took immediate advantage of the extra man, Edinburgh’s Allan Dell doing remarkably well to hold up Nicky Smith on the line as he looked to barrel his way over from five metres out.
Keeping the pressure up at the resulting scrum, Dan Evans then found a host of Edinburgh bodies underneath him as he looked to get the ball down but then, as the Ospreys pack looked to power their way over the line at the next scrum, the ball squirmed out of Baker’s feet and the under pressure visitors were able to clear.
At the other end, Edinburgh were able to build the phases inside the Ospreys 22, edging closer to the line but being met by strong Ospreys defence. The visitors thought they’d found a way through when Junior Rasolea spotted a gap and went for the line but, with Davies and Matavesi tackling, he lost control of the ball a metre out as he looked to put it down.
Gilchrist returned without the scoreboard changing but, within seconds, it was Dell in the bin, penalised at the scrum, and Edinburgh were back to 14.
Try number five really shoud have come six minutes from the end, Davies putting a great kick in behind the defence for Giles to chase. Jason Tovey’s tackle in the corner prevented the score, but a try was still on with a three-man overlap on the opposite flank that they somehow blew in midfield.
As the game petered out in the closing stages Edinburgh grabbed their third, Viliame Mata going over from close range, the score confirmed by the TMO and converted by Weir.
The win in the bag, focus now turns to the European Rugby Challenge Cup and back to back games against Grenoble, with the first game in France on Thursday before the return at the Liberty on Saturday 17th December at 3pm.