Ospreys 58 Prem Select 22

The Ospreys got their pre-season campaign off to a winning start, as a youthful looking side ran in nine tries to overcome a spirited challenge from a Regional Select XV at the Talbot Athletic Ground.

Matthew Morgan led the way with a hat-trick of tries, while Ashley Beck and Kristian Phillips both touched down twice, with Ryan Bevington and Matthew Dyer grabbing one apiece.

The rain that had lashed down all day cleared ahead of kick-off, with the sun bright over the Talbot Athletic Ground drawing out a healthy crowd of locals to enjoy the occasion.

While the Ospreys line-up had an unfamiliar look to it, the more recognisable faces from the squad mingled in the crowd with the fans, signing autographs and posing for pictures with supporters young and old alike and helping to create a great atmosphere ahead of kick-off.

The evening provided an intriguing opportunity to take a look at some of the young talent coming through the ranks at the region, while in the front row, evergreen summer signing Mefin Davies was present to provide some valuable experience among a youthful line-up.

Given the nature of the fixture, which was being played in four twenty minute periods, the pattern of the game was inevitably stop-start, but it was clear from the first whistle that the Regional Select were not going to simply roll over.

Having weathered a period of early pressure, the Ospreys opened the scoring with less than 10 minutes gone through Phillips. The try came from a line-out on the right, Davies finding James King well before the ball was worked cleverly to winger Eli Walker, coming into midfield at pace, who broke the defensive line before sending a cross a long pass to his fellow winger who raced over in the corner, Jarvis converting.

Just minutes later the Ospreys were dealt a blow when centre Jonathan Spratt, fit again after missing much of last season with a back injury, was forced off with a knee problem, Aberavon youngster Ashley Beck replacing him in the centre.

It took the replacement less than 60 seconds to make an impact, collecting an interception on the opposition 22 for a free run-in, Jarvis’ kick doubling the lead.

As most observers feared the worst, the Regional Select responded positively, getting themselves onto the scoreboard as the end of the first period approached. It was Tonmawr wing Ryan Bayliss who did the damage, his powerful run from deep inside his own half only being halted in the Ospreys 22 by Bevington. As the defence regrouped, the Select XV came back infield for Swansea prop Lee May to force his way over from close range, his club mate James Dixon converting.

Jarvis then added a penalty, before fly-half Morgan helped himself to his first try of the night, a self made effort that saw him taking the ball on his own 22 and sidestepping his opponent to race clear. With Phillips available on the outside, Lewis Harry bought his dummy and the 18-year old was clear to make it 22-7.

The impressive Bayliss then scored the second Regional Select try, showing good pace to take full-back Jarvis on the outside to score in the corner, but as the halfway point approached, the Ospreys extended their lead when Beck left Daniel Davies trailing in his wake to cross for his second, Jarvis taking the extras.

Just a minute into the second half, prop Bevington turned up on the wing, showing great pace to score in the corner.

With the Ospreys leading 34-12, veteran Swansea second row Paul Arnold was able to roll back the clock by powering over from close range after Morgan was turned over in his own 22.

The youngster more than made up for it seven minutes later, finishing off a good flowing move that had seen the ball pass through numerous pairs of hands as the Ospreys worked it across the field, Jarvis converting.

With the hour approaching, Kristian Phillips got his second try in the corner, with Jarvis converting to make it 48-17. Minutes later, the ball was again worked wide, where a deft Cai Griffiths offload fed Morgan, the fly-half ignoring Phillips on his outside to jink over and beat the winger to a hat-trick.

Bridgend Athletic’s Lewis Harry crossed in corner for his team’s fourth try, before the Ospreys rounded off a handsome win in the closing stages, Morgan providing the scoring pass to Matthew Dwyer, a Bridgend hooker who has started the game in Regional Select XV colours before switching sides for the closing stages, who was able to ground, making it 58-22 on a great evening for the region.