It was a perfect start to the Challenge Cup campaign for the Ospreys, who ran in seven tries against their Aviva Premiership opponents while denying the visitors even a single score.
- After a late call-up for his European debut, Giles scores a late brace as the Ospreys romp to a big win
- Biggar scores first-half try to take him past 500 European points for the Ospreys
- Webb, Beck, Baldwin and Tipuric also touch down, with Biggar kicking 10 points
- The Ospreys have now scored 30 tries and 214 points in four home games this season
Once again it was raining tries at the Liberty Stadium as the hosts made it 30 tries, and four bonus point wins, in four competitive home game this season.
After a scoreless first quarter the floodgates opened with a Dan Biggar touchdown, swiftly followed by tries from Rhys Webb and Ashley Beck before the break.
The bonus point arrived early in the second half via Scott Baldwin, before a try of the season contender from Justin Tipuric. Rounding off the try-scoring for the night was European debutant Keelan Giles, the late call-up grabbing two to make it a night to remember.
Biggar also kicked five conversions, his 15-point total making him the first Osprey to ever pass 500 points in European competition.
There was little to get excited about in a very cagey opening as the two teams tested each out, one Eli Walker break up the right almost creating an opening while Giles, replacing the sick Dafydd Howells, had to react smartly to deal with a difficult grubber on his own line under pressure from a good kick chase.
It took 20 minutes for the Ospreys to break the deadlock, the first score coming right at the end of the first quarter. It came from a moment of magic by Webb with a trademark show and go close on halfway, the scrum half haring upfield and drawing the last man before slipping inside to his outside half who cantered over underneath the posts before converting his own score.
The try marked a memorable landmark for Biggar, passing the European half century eight years and two days after he made his Heineken Cup debut off the bench in a 12-6 defeat to Leicester Tigers, before he kicked all his team’s points a week later against Perpignan at the Liberty on his first European start.
With the Ospreys ahead, they were able to take control of the contest, and it was Webb who got the second try of the night just five minutes later with a moment of individual brilliance that warmed the home crowd on a crisp, chilly evening.
There seemed little on for the scrum-half 10m out at a ruck but, with a penalty advantage in his favour, he launched a cheeky little chip over the bodies on the ground, skipping round to gather before the Newcastle defender and ground it, Biggar’s conversion taking the Ospreys 14 points clear.
Try number three went to Beck with 35 minutes on the clock, the centre left with a simple run in on the left after an initial break by Dan Evans in midfield had put the Falcons on the back foot, Giles providing the scoring pass. Biggar was off target with the difficult touchline conversion.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 19 NEWCASTLE FALCONS 0
With the Ospreys on top, try number four, and with it the bonus point, came 13 minutes after the restart, Baldwin dotting down at the back of an unstoppable rolling maul.
Biggar added the extras, and within a minute he was slotting over his fourth successful conversion following a stunning score from Tipuric.
The openside soared high to collect the restart before bursting through an attempted tackle and charging upfield, chipping beyond the cover defence and winning the race to collect the bouncing ball metres out and sliding over for the Ospreys’ fifth.
It got even better on the hour mark, Giles marking his European debut with his first try in the competition, collecting the ball off Dan Evans out wide before his chip and chase left the Falcons defence for dead. Biggar’s kick took the score to 40-0 with 20 still to play.
The Ospreys almost grabbed another when Walker looked to stretch over in the corner off Josh Matavesi’s offload following some patient approach play but the winger lost control of the ball as he looked to ground it.
Giles then grabbed his second on the other side of the field, rounding off some lovely interplay between the forwards and backs, Lloyd Ashley with a powerful burst through the middle, with great support from Tom Habberfield, and then with defenders being sucked in it was spun wide where Rhodri Jones, on his debut, carried well to draw the final man before slipping it to his winger for a simple finish. Biggar’s conversion drifted wide to the right.
The scoring was complete but the Ospreys still had work to do to ensure they kept their defensive clean sheet intact, the first time they have nilled an opponent in a competitive game since a New Year’s Day 2010 26-0 romp over Cardiff Blues.
Next up for the Ospreys is a Challenge Cup trip to Lyon next Saturday before the Dragons visit the Liberty Stadium the following weekend.