Another strong performance from the Eyasses secured a second victory in their preseason games
After a great away win against the Northampton Saints last week, the pressure was on the young Eyasses to put in a similar performance at home when they welcomed the Worcester Warriors to Llandarcy this afternoon.
In order to see as many players as possible in their final preseason game, the match was set up to be played in three parts with a different 15 players taking to the field in each period.
The first period was dominated by the young Warriors side, they worked hard to disrupt the Eyasses play and only handling errors cost them early tries. With the Ospreys line out and scrum struggling, it wasn't long before the visitors took advantage and with 13 minutes played, the Warriors raced over the line to put the first points on the board.
The conversion was missed but it hardly mattered with the Warriors fast paced play and impressive ball handling skills sending them back over the Ospreys line minutes later to double their points. The Warriors fly half was not on top form, missing a second relatively easy conversion.
There was some good defending in the last few minutes, with a crunching tackle by young Osprey Phil Jones stopping a third try coming in quick succession. Despite more good work from the Worcester side, there were no more points to be had and the first period ended:
Ospreys 0 - 10 Worcester
From the off in the second period, the Ospreys looked a much stronger team. The line out improved hugely and there was some great attacking play that had been missing in the first part of the match. After less than 5 minutes played, Stuart Nicholas made a stunning break for the home side. After running half the length of the pitch, he wasn't able to dive early enough to stop the Worcester defence knocking the ball out of his arms. The resulting line out for the Ospreys was good though and soon allowed Stuart Nicholas to complete his earlier move and touch down between the posts.
With Dylan Francis adding a further 2 points with the conversion, the Eyasses were back in the game. Garin Lougher, Joe Lewis and Stuart Nicholas created some beautiful charges up the field but the Worcester defence was too strong to break. The two teams then found themselves evenly matched for a long period, It was tit for tat as the sides both attacked and defended well.
Only a last gasp penalty awarded to Worcester Warriors had any further effect on the score line in the second period. It was a case of third time lucky for the Warriors kicker who finally slotted the ball between the posts to add 3 points. The second third finishing:
Ospreys 7 - 13 Worcester Warriors
It was something of a dream start to the third period for the home side. Ewan Gully dashing towards the try line, and with a quick pass to Gareth Thomas returned to him once out of danger from the Warriors defence, he made it across the try line with less than a minute on the clock in the third period. Replacement James Davies with the conversion to put the Ospreys in the lead for the first time all game.
Worcester were in no way ready to relinquish their lead and attacked from the restart. Their fast play testing the Eyasses at times but the home side had taken control of the match and were impressive in defence.
They were just as impressive in attack and halfway through the last period came their penultimate try. Reuben Morgan Williams showing incredible pace as he raced from the half way line to score. James Davies again adding a successful conversion to the points tally.
The young Eyasses continued their intelligent play and saw their patience pay off when just minutes later they crossed the line for the final time in the game, Gareth Thomas doing the honours. An awkward angle meant James Davies couldn't keep a perfect score as his kick went just wide.
More impressive but equal work followed, meaning no one could add to the score in the final minutes.
Full time: Ospreys 26 - 13 Worcester Warriors
Ian Jones, Eyasses Forwards Coach, remarked on the preseason campaign:
"We're very pleased with the end result today. After a slow start the boys pulled together and showed a lot of resilience and heart to get the win in the end.
Having the three different starting teams in each period today has given the coaching staff an excellent opportunity to see different players in different positions and combinations so we now have a good idea of the squad that we'll be coming through with when the RAG competition starts.
We're really looking forward to getting that competition underway now. You have to be excited after two victories against two strong English teams, it does bode well for when we go into the competition with the other regions. We're really excited as a coaching staff to be working with talented youngsters like this and hopefully we'll have a successful season."