Sam Parry’s hattrick heroics earn Ospreys’ first win of the season
It’s been a frustrating two weeks for Clarke and his men, who suffered two difficult consecutive defeats on the road against Ulster and Leinster.
The weather didn’t lend itself well to fast, running rugby, but it did little to dampen the Ospreys’ ambition for spinning the ball wide and taking the hosts on out wide. However, it was Ospreys hooker Sam Parry who opened the scoring with a brace of tries ten minutes apart, with Scott Williams crossing for his team’s third try on the half hour mark.
Just four minutes into the second half, Parry secured a hat-trick, his second for the region, and with it, a crucial bonus point. The visitors never really got into the game, despite taking an early lead through the boot of fly half Keatley.
Only three minutes after getting underway, Keatley punished the hosts with an early three pointer for an infringement at the breakdown.
Unfortunately, Luke Morgan was forced from the field within ten minutes of kick off, and Hanno Dirksen made his appearance from the bench earlier than scheduled.
There was a shock red card for Benetton on the eleventh minute, with Marco Lazzaroni being sent from the field for a swinging arm to Luke Price’s head. Benetton were punished immediately with Sam Parry claiming the spoils following a powerful charge from the pack. Price was unable to convert but it was an ominous sign for the Italian lions.
A short break in play and Keelan Giles was the one helped from the field this time. A disastrous start for the Ospreys back three, with both starting wingers now absent from the on-field team.
A kick to the corner allowed the Ospreys to form another formidable looking maul, and once more it was hooker Sam Parry who found his way over the whitewash to score the hosts’ second of the evening. Ospreys went back into the lead, but Price failed to convert from out wide.
Ospreys had a lineout inside Benetton’s 22 and launched another attack on the visitors’ line. They spun the ball from one touch line to the other and the crowd cheered as Scott Williams cantered over for the simplest of tries. Luke Price found his target this time took takes his team eleven points clear with ten minutes left to go of the first half.
Benetton scrapped their way into the Ospreys’ 22 and made the hard yards through the forwards. Progress was slow but steady towards the try line but the ball was lost in contact. The ball was spilled again from the resulting scrum and referee Frank Murphy’s whistle signalled for half-time.
There was no relenting from the rain in the second half and Luke Price got the second half underway with a dropkick deep into Benetton’s half.
Ospreys found themselves with a lineout just ten metres out from Benetton’s line; the inevitable catch and drive and the maul trundled onwards. It splintered and disintegrated, and Sam Parry emerged from the pack and crossed for a hattrick! That scored ensured a bonus point too, as Price made no mistakes with the boot, turning five points into seven.
Ospreys cruised into Benetton’s 22 once more but a deft intercept got the visitors out of trouble and in a reversal of roles, began to attack inside Ospreys’ 22. A neat cross field kick allowed Benetton’s flying wing, Ioane, to set off on one of his trademark runs. A challenge from try scorer Williams evened things up for ten minutes as he was sent to the sin bin for what was deemed a deliberate knock-on.
Poor weather and tired bodies kept the next thirty minutes scoreless as Benetton starved Ospreys of possession.
With the Ospreys down a man, Antonio Rizzi reaped the rewards and managed to ground the ball over the try line for Benetton’s first try of the game. He neatly converted his own score and brought the visitors back to within two scores.
Benetton found some energy late in the game, and after a series of surges deep into Ospreys’ half, Leonarda Sarto was on the end of an accurate Crossfield kick to claim Benetton’s second try in quick succession. The conversion is good and the game ends with Benetton earning a losing bonus point, and a more respectable score.
FINAL SCORE | Ospreys 24-20 Benetton.
Guinness Man of the Match: Sam Parry
Don’t forget, the Ospreys are back in action at the Liberty on Saturday 2 November as we host Connacht in round 5 of the Guinness PRO14.