The Ospreys U18s girls team got off to a flying start with a thumping 53-12 win over the Dragons at Ystrad Mynach on Sunday afternoon.
The game began with the Ospreys putting points on the board early; within the first 10 minutes both fly-half Kayleigh Powell and number 8 Gwen Crabb had scored tries with Kayleigh successfully converting one, making the score 12-0.
Despite wet conditions the Osprey girls remained clinical in the ruck area and won early penalties, quick reactions off penalties allowing the Ospreys to capitalise on a slow Dragons defence and scrum half Niamh Terry took the girls ahead 17-0.
Off the kick off the Ospreys forwards ran hard lines to get the girls back within the Dragons 22, safe hands from the backs allowed outside centre Ffion Jones to score her first try, giving the girls a 22-0 lead.
Lauren Smyth took the girls further ahead with a clear conversion and she didn’t stop there, running strong lines in the centre to break through over the white wash and get another try in for the Ospreys. Lauren then converted her own try, putting the girls 31-0 ahead at half time.
The Ospreys began the second half with the same pace and intensity. The forwards carried well, using their strength and speed to their advantage, second row Sara Jones got the try making it 36-0 to the Ospreys.
The Dragons then fought back. Determined from the kick-off the Dragons gained ground and were quickly on the Ospreys try line, Britney Bryan was able to muscle over the try line from a pick and go to get the Dragons on the score board, making it 36-5.
The Ospreys girls were back in motion from the restart, each player making yards and playing their role in executing a sound structure. Sara Jones took the Ospreys girls further ahead once again and Lauren Smyth followed with a conversion. The Ospreys led 43-5.
Play then evened out between the sides; turnovers were made by both teams which set the girls up for a 15-minute physical battle in the mid-field. The Ospreys regained possession from a knock-on and ensured their set piece delivered the goods. A strong scrum, accurate delivery and good handling allowed Ffion Jones to score her second try, taking the Ospreys girls ahead 48-5.
From the restart the Ospreys carried the ball ever closer to the try line, however the Dragons defence was strong and a turnover gave the Dragons the opportunity to counter.
A clearance kick and great skill meant Chloe Solari could out-pace the Ospreys defence and a 50m sprint got her over the try line and onto the score board. A successful conversion by Davina Moore took the score to 48-12.
However, the Ospreys did not let the late try dampen their winning spirit. The Ospreys girls got the final say of the match when second row replacement Jade Thomas finished off a rolling maul and took the score to a very impressive 53-12.
The Ospreys took the bonus point win and now look forward to their next championship game against the Scarlets on the 12th of February at St Helens in Swansea.
Head coach Josh Humphries said about the win:
“With many of our squad running out for their first fixture in an Ospreys jersey the girls went into the game excited but nervous. The nerves certainly didn't take long to disappear as they quickly settled into their stride.
“Both sides played excellent rugby on the day which wasn't hampered by the awful weather. The preparation the girls had put in and the togetherness of the squad was clear and we're delighted with the result against a strong Dragons team.
“The nature and work ethic of this squad is outstanding and the girls have already requested feedback in order to improve ready for our next game. They are really looking forward to playing at our new home at St Helens in the coming weeks.”
Captain Gwen Crabb added:
“We were all really happy with the result and our performance as a team. However we also have some work ons going into the Scarlets game in two weeks time, this is a massive target for us. We are looking forward to the rest of the season and the challenges it will bring.”