The Ospreys took the derby day honours on Saturday afternoon, running in 5 tries to pick up another bonus point win, the 7th consecutive home match in all competitions they’ve secured a 5 point haul.
- Habberfield and Baldwin scored tries in the first half before a brace after the break from Giles, and Leonard's first try for the Ospreys wrapped up the win
- The win makes it 10 on the bounce in this fixture for the Ospreys, the last defeat coming in January 2012
- The Ospreys now have won with a bonus point in each of their last seven home games, in PRO12 and Europe, going back to April
- Next up is Munster in Cork on Friday night, before a historic return to St Helens the week after to face Harlequins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup
The Ospreys took the derby day honours on Saturday afternoon, running in five tries to pick up another bonus point win, the seventh consecutive home match in all competitions they’ve secured a five point haul.
After a cagey opening quarter, where the Dragons led by a solitary penalty kick, the Ospreys took control and secured the bonus point before the hour was up, Scott Baldwin and Tom Habberfield touching down before the break before a brace from youngster Keelan Giles after half-time.
The final Ospreys try came from Brendon Leonard five minutes from the end, his first for the region, while Josh Matavesi kicked all five conversions.
There was a disappointing ending to the game from an Ospreys perspective as the Dragons crossed for two tries in the final three minutes to give the score line that perhaps didn’t truly reflect the Ospreys dominance but, having ended the game with 14 men on the field and a number of players playing out of position, it wouldn’t have taken too much shine off the day for an Ospreys side that has now won seven games from nine games in all competitions, five from seven in the PRO12, all of them with a try bonus point.
Nick Mcleod opened the scoring for the Dragons with barely three minutes on the clock, the outside half making no mistake with a penalty just outside the 22.
The Ospreys looked to hit straight back, putting together a spell of possession that went through a dozen phases, but their progress was halted when the TMO drew referee Ben Whitehouse’s attention to some potential foul play.
After a lengthy video review, it was prop Dmitri Arhip who was found to be the guilty party, ordered to take 10 minutes rest in the bin after leading with his forearm.
The hosts were forced to stand up to some initial pressure from the Dragons with their extra man, Giles turned over as he attempted to deal with a high ball into the Ospreys 22, but Lloyd Ashley was able to win it back on the line as the visitors looked to take full advantage.
Having worked their way back upfield, a rolling maul took the Ospreys to within touching distance, Paul James knocking on as he tried to drive over.
With the Ospreys back up to 15, the Dragons were under pressure at the scrum on their own line and, when the put in was awarded to the hosts, Joe Bearman controlled well at the base to give a platform for Habberfield to snipe his way over for the first try of the afternoon with 21 minutes gone.
Josh Matavesi, standing in at 10 in the absence of Dan Biggar and Sam Davies, made no mistake with the conversion, slotting over his kick from close to the touchline.
As the half hour approached it was the Ospreys taking control of things, and an obstruction on Eli Walker allowed Matavesi to put his team up in the corner again but after five minutes in the Dragons 22 they came away with nothing, twice turning down kickable penalties to go for the corner and then scrum without making them count.
The second try that the Ospreys’ dominance deserved eventually came in the final play of the half, Matavesi ignoring the posts again and, on this occasion, there was no stopping the rolling maul, Baldwin touching down and the Fijian converting to send the teams in with the Ospreys leading by 11.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 14 DRAGONS 3
The Ospreys got the second half off to a perfect start, try number three coming within minutes, and it was the 18-year old winger who touched down for his seventh try in just four senior matches.
Unlike his three solo efforts in Lyon last weekend this one was very much a case of right place, right time, to finish off the move, taking Matavesi’s pop pass just five metres out and going over following a strong carry from Rob McCusker.
Matavesi was again successful and the Ospreys now led 21-3.
The Dragons then served a reminder that the game was far from won with a length of the field break, Habberfield and Giles tracking back well to stop Sarel Pretorius going all the way, before Giles then got across the field to help bundle Jack Dixon out of play in the corner.
The fourth try, and with it, the bonus point, came in the 56th minute, and it was Giles again.
The score was built on solid defence as the Dragons pounded away just inside the Ospreys half, without making headway, and when the ball went loose, it was Bearman who was able to put his boot through it to put it over halfway.
Giles was alert and after punting it forward he was able to outpace the cover and slide over for the score, Matavesi maintaining his 100 per cent kicking record.
With the game safe the Ospreys coaches rung the changes, making it tough for the side to keep the momentum, with Scott Otten on in the back row and Habberfield switching to the centre. However, six minutes from the end the Ospreys grabbed a fifth, and it was Leonard who showed great awareness to finish from close range off a ruck after Giles has run a great angle at the back of the scrum, stopped just short.
Matavesi converted and the score now read 35-3, but a late rally in the final three minutes saw the Dragons gain some consolation, Matthew Screech and Pat Howard touching down with successful conversions from Geraint Rhys Jones as the Ospreys played the closing minutes a man short after Giles left the field with a cut and the bench having already been emptied.