The Ospreys defeated Cardiff Blues last night 18-16 in a brutal local derby. Full gallery now available.
The signs were there for a blistering encounter, with a large walk-up crowd filled with expectation from both sides. From the first whistle, you could feel the tension both on and off the field, and the early encounters by both sets of forwards sent out warning signals that this was going to be a match where no quarter was given.
From what appeared to be a relatively innocuous position on the field, but following some useful forward play, Shane Williams managed to squeeze past a despairing defense, and raced past the pursuing Blues defence line to score in the corner. There was a quick response from Cardiff who forced the Ospreys to concede a penalty, which was duly converted by Robinson. The game then to and fro’d, with both teams putting together some useful interplay, only to be thwarted by what was an uncompromising defence from both teams. It wasn’t long however, before the Blues’ effort paid off, and Nicky Robinson squeezed a try right under the posts, following that effort with a successful conversion.
With the game ebbing & flowing, and some promising attacking work by the Ospreys forwards, they managed to force a scrum five, from which Ryan Jones, taking the straight option, carved his way through for an unconverted try to level the score at 10-10.
Moments later, Nicky Robinson put Cardiff ahead with another successful penalty, and ended the half 13-10 in front.
The second half started in a similar fashion, with Shane Williams providing that welcome spark to get the Liberty Stadium crowd roaring. On a number of occasions, and from what appeared to be rather unpromising positions, he danced his way through the Cardiff defence, showing excellent fleet-of-foot, to send the Ospreys on their way to the Blues goal-line. Not long into the second half, a grubber kick from Marshall sent Byrne sprinting to the corner, only to just miss the touch-down.
Henson managed to level the scores with a converted penalty just fifteen minutes from the final whistle, and yet there was still all to play for.
With a tight defence from both sides, it seemed as though a kick would seal either team’s efforts, and Robinson managed to convert a 40m drop-goal. But despite all his scoring efforts, he then proceeded to hike the ball with a vertical kick, which was promptly snatched by Richie Pugh, who then showed blistering pace and sharp hands to race to the corner with a convincing try.
With only minutes before the final whistle, Ospreys managed to hold off an aggressive Blues squad determined to spoil the Ospreys fortunes. It was, no doubt, a successful match, which will have given the Ospreys squad the necessary boost after their disappointing match last Friday. Both sides contributed to an exciting and enjoyable game, but the Ospreys were the ones to leave the field with a victory in hand.
Ospreys 18 (10)
Tries: S Williams, R Jones, R Pugh.
Pens: G Henson.
Blues 16 (13)
Tries: N Robinson.
Cons: N Robinson.
Pens: N Robinson.
DG: N Robinson 2.