Unbeaten RFU Championship leaders prove too much for a spirited Ospreys PS side at the Gnoll.
- London Irish, top of the English Championship, were the visitors to a very wet and windy Gnoll this afternoon
- The English side ran in a bonus point try against the young Ospreys Premiership Select XV
- Tries from Kieran Williams and Huw Gustafson weren’t enough to earn the Ospreys PS a win
Led out by captain Rob McCusker, facing his old club, the Ospreys PS were looking to begin this season’s British and Irish Cup campaign with a bang against unbeaten Championship leaders London Irish.
The Ospreys looked good in attack but strong defensive work from London Irish earnt them an early penalty. Tonks kicked to touch despite Tom O’Flaherty’s best efforts to keep the ball in play.
A strong driving lineout from Irish was halted by the referee, putting the Ospreys back in possession, but London Irish centre Ross Neal charged down a clearing kick by Ospreys PS fullback Morgan Williams which bounced nicely back into his own hands, allowing Neal to charge straight over the try line, giving the visitors an early lead. Tonks missed the conversion but Irish led by five lead with just seven minutes played.
At the restart an advantage for an offside gave the Ospreys possession pushing London Irish back into their own 22 only for the ball to lost forward by the Ospreys.
Irish lost a line out on their throw, giving the Ospreys a chance to press, but when handed a first sight of the posts, Luke Price lined up for the penalty but the wind narrowly took it wide.
It was then the turn of London Irish to put their foot on the gas, taking advantage of a handling error by the Ospreys pushing them back into their own 22 and claiming possession. After working their way through the phases, a little chip from Tonks nearly led to another try but wing Tom Parton was unable to catch it.
A nasty knock to Ospreys Dan Suter halted play, but the prop shook it off and continued putting in great defensive tackles.
Irish full back Ben Ransom was then able to glide through several attempted tackles to go under the posts. Tonks converting, leaving the score 0-12 with just under half hour played.
But the Ospreys weren’t giving up easily and a period of concerted pressure was rewarded exactly on the half time mark with centre Kieran Williams going over the whitewash under the posts. Luke Price kicked the conversion to bring the end to a close with his side trailing by five.
Half Time Ospreys Premiership Select 7 – 12 London Irish
The teams ran out to heavy rain at the start of the second half with conditions getting worse by the minute. Unfortunately this didn’t dampen the London Irish spirit , a driving maul sending number 8, Senitiki Nayalo, over the line for the visitors third of the afternoon, the conversion missed.
A dominant scrum earned the visitors a penalty in line with the posts minutes later. Tonks sent it over, extending thei Irish lead.
With conditions worsening, errors flew around from both sides, but the Ospreys managed to get a lineout deep inside the London Irish 22, a powerful drive sending Huw Gustafson over for the Ospreys’ second of the afternoon.
Price’s superb touchline conversion put the Ospreys back in contention at 14-20 with ten minutes left to play.
But unfortunately the penalties went against the Ospreys in the final ten, allowing Irish to exert pressure on the home team, repeatedly pushing them back into their 22 as, despite some excellent defence and great spirit, they were unable to clear their lines and gain any respite.
A 5m lineout for London Irish at the death led to a rolling maul, Richard Palframan going over on the eighty-minute mark. Tonks was unable to convert but it was enough to earn the London Irish team the win and deny the Ospreys Premiership select even a losing bonus.
The Ospreys PS now travel to Mennaye Fields to take on Cornish Pirates next Sunday 23rd October, K.O. 2:00pm.