Ospreys 42 Newport Gwent Dragons 10

Four touchdowns plus a penalty try means the Ospreys can look forward to a home semi-final in the first ever Magners League play-offs.

Ryan Jones, Dan Biggar, Nikki Walker and Ryan Bevington all crossed for the Ospreys to secure their place in the top two and set up a historic tie next Friday night.

The Ospreys settled quickest, and it was they who created the first opportunity, patiently working their way upfield before Biggar's chip through put the Dragons defence under pressure. Unfortunately for the Ospreys, Byrne knocked on as he looked to gather just inside the 22 and the chance was gone.

The home crowd didn't have too long to wait for the first points of the night though, Biggar slotting over a penalty in the fifth minute after Dragons skipper Tom Willis was penalised for tackling Jerry Collins without the ball. Willis was penalised again just 90 seconds later, this time for coming in from the side, and again Biggar made no mistake.

The Ospreys were playing some good rugby in the opening stages, and twice they looked set to carve a gap through the Dragons defence only for referee Nigel Owens to halt their progress due to a Shane Williams forward pass.

A quickly taken line-out deep in home territory by Tommy Bowe allowed his side to then break at speed, Williams looking to find a gap in the corner, but a great last ditch tackle by Will Harries forced the winger into touch just a metre short.

As well as playing expansive rugby, the Ospreys also seemed to have the measure of their opponents at the scrum and it was from the set-piece that the first try came. With the Dragons buckling under the weight of the Ospreys pack, skipper Ryan Jones shunned the kick at goal from three consecutive penalties, opting for a scrum  close to the Dragons line. At the third attempt, as the Ospreys looked to rumble over for a pushover the ball spun loose and Mr Owens, spotting another offence, lost patience and awarded the penalty try. Biggar's conversion made it 13-0.

To this point the Dragons had offered very little, but they got themselves on the scoreboard 25 minutes in after Alun Wyn Jones was turned over just outside the 22, the Ospreys offending which allowed Jason Tovey a simple penalty. Straight from the restart though the Dragons were caught offside and Biggar duly took the lead back to 13 points.

Good line-out ball from Jonathan Thomas then allowed the Ospreys to break at pace, a strong Collins run carrying the ball forward. As it was recycled, Biggar's pass was wayward, but Andrew Bishop was able to pick up and then chip through for Bowe to chase, but Wayne Evans won the race to ground it. Bishop was showing good awareness again minutes later, carrying well before flicking a pass for Byrne who would have been through but he was unable to gather.

A solitary first half try was scant reward for the dominance that the Ospreys had enjoyed, as a combination of poor handling, over exuberance and dogged defending had prevented the hosts from adding to the penalty try before the ref brought the opening 40 minutes to an end.


Just as they did in the first half, the Ospreys came out of the blocks flying, with Bishop, Biggar, Bowe and Byrne all taking the chance to open their legs, but as was the case in the opening half, the Dragons were able to keep them at bay.

The visitors line was breached in the 45th minute, when Ryan Jones forced his way over from close range, but after going to the TMO, Mr Owens ruled out the score for a knock-on by the Ospreys skipper.

At the resulting scrum, again the Ospreys put the Dragons pack under intense pressure, and again, a series of penalties followed, with the Ospreys opting to reset the scrum. The pressure finally told, as eventually the Ospreys were able to rumble over, Ryan Jones touching down. Biggar continued his fine form with the boot to convert, making it 23-3.

On a rare excursion upfield, the Dragons got their first try of the night through Wayne Evans, worming his way through the smallest of gaps after good work at the back of the lineout by Andrew Coombs to take his side to with inches of the line, Tovey kicking the extras.

With the Ospreys back up the other end, some magical running from James Hook almost saw the centre find a way through, only for him to lose the ball in the tackle close to the line as Harries made a last ditch tackle.

After some excellent scavenging work from Collins forced the Dragons to concede a scrum five, we then saw another series of scrums going down as the Ospreys looked to drive their way over, and on this occasion, Nigel Owens decided to send prop Aaron Coundley to the sin-bin. The Ospreys again opted for a scrum, but as it went down on this occasion, with the Liberty Stadium anticipating a second penalty try, it was Adam Jones who was penalised and the Dragons were able to clear.

With 63 minutes on the clock the Ospreys were able to extend their lead with a try from Biggar, but it was a real team effort as the ball was worked almost the length of the field. Jonathan Thomas and Paul James were prominent as they looked to take advantage of an overlap out wide, before Adam Jones was able to provide the final pass for Biggar. The fly half was unable to convert though,leaving it 28-10.

Mike Phillips thought he had secured the bonus point just two minutes later, holding off Wayne Evans to cross and ground, but Bowe's pass was ruled forward, much to the annoyance of the Ospreys supporters. Within seconds, the Ospreys were pushing again, first Collins going for the line and then Tiatia, on for Ryan Jones, diving over, only for the TMO to rule that he had been held up.

The elusive fourth try eventually arrived in the 68th minute, Phillips and Hook combining well from quick lineout ball, Hook offloading for Walker and there was no stopping the Scottish winger from close ranges he barged his way over to ensure the home semi-final next weekend. Biggar's successful conversion took the score to 35-10.

It got even better when young prop Bevington crossed for his first ever try at senior level, showing great pace and awareness to support Shane Williams on the wing, fending off the last ditch Dragons tackle to ground, Biggar again converting to round off a resounding 42-10 victory