The Ospreys U18s Women maintained their unbeaten run on Sunday afternoon, with a win over RGC crowning them U18 Regional women champions!
Despite the conditions against them and the high winds, the Ospreys Women U18s took to the field at Parc Y Scarlets where they faced Merched RGC U18s in the final round of the U18s regional championship. The young side continued their winning ways after a season of persistent wins saw them crowned U18s Regional Women Champions after securing eight tries, and conceding just the three in their final game.
With only five-minutes on the clock, the Ospreys women were quick to make their mark on the game and elevated themselves off the zero-mark. Despite playing into a strong wind, a quick take by Jade Thomas saw her run 40-metres up the field before being stopped in her tracks by RGC. The Ospreys Women continued to pressure and drive Merched RGC back into their own 22 – threatening their line. A series of pick up and go saw the Ospreys continue to drive RGC back. From a ruck, the ball was moved to the narrow side where Megan Black barged over the line for an early, but unconverted try, taking the score to 0-5.
Playing into the wind in the opening exchanges saw the Ospreys Women keep the ball tight and use pick up and drives from rucks and mauls. Merched RGC were unable to threaten the Ospreys’ line as the ladies in black pursued their dominance.
The Ospreys Women continued to punch holes through RGC’s defence and after a series of break-away efforts, a good show and go by Ospreys’ Kelsey Powell, saw her gain 20-metres who offloaded to supporting players which set up a ruck. The ball was passed wide to Lowri Davies who used the narrow side and sidestepped RGC’s defence and crashed over the line, which went unconverted: 0-10.
A rare mistake from the Ospreys saw RGC enter into the Ospreys’ 22, and saw them attempt to capitalise on their territorial advantage by driving the Ospreys back towards their line. This saw the Ospreys’ defence being tested by RGC as they went through the phases and put the ball wide on all occasions.
With 25-minutes on the clock, RGC were rewarded with a scrum just outside the 22, and stretched the ball wide through the hands to Mali Jones who broke through three tackles to go under the sticks from 25-metres out, converted by Catrin Williams which closed to the deficit and took the score to 7-10.
From the restart, the Ospreys Women were quick to respond as they once again looked to play in the correct territory which saw RGC infringe and saw the Ospreys award a penalty, which resulted in a lineout 5-metres out. They won the ball from the lineout and drove RGC back towards their own line. From a resulting maul, Jaya White roll off and forced her way over the line from close range for the Ospreys’ third try of the game. An impressive effort by Kelsey Powell who slotted the conversion despite it being against the wind, to take the score to 7-17.
From the restart, Merched RGC dug deep and pushed the Ospreys women back into their own 22, which saw the black wall being tested as RGC looked to put the ball wide. However, RGC infringed which the Ospreys turned over and eased their way back into RGC’s half through good interlinking play and once again tested RGC’s defence.
A series of pick up and drives by the Ospreys saw them draw in the RGC defence and looked to create an overlap out wide, but unfortunately, handling errors saw them fall short of the line.
HALF-TIME: MERCHED RGC U18S 7 – 17 OSPREYS WOMEN U18S
As the second-half got underway, the Ospreys Women U18s looked to use their advantage of playing with the increased wind as with only two-minutes played from the restart, Melissa Gnojek side-stepped two players to crash over the line under the sticks for an unconverted try, taking the score to 7-22.
From the restart, the Ospreys women secured possession, and a kick-down field using the wind, saw them gain 50-metres and keep the pressure on RGC. Merched RGC were awarded a scrum 5-metres out which resulted in a penalty and due to a strong wind, RGC tried to run the ball out of defence, only to make a mistake which Rosie Carr capitalised on by intercepting the ball to cross the whitewash from close range. Powell with the extras, as she successfully slots the posts to take the score to 7-29, and push the Ospreys further into the lead.
With ten minutes played in this second half, the wind picked up and saw Merched RGC unable to clear their line, resulting in constant Ospreys pressure. The Ospreys Women continued to dominate play and possession as they set up camp in the Merched RGC’s 22.
RGC were awarded a number of penalties, but because they could not kick for touch due to the strong winds, they looked to put the ball through the hands, which they were sometimes unable to execute, and kept the Ospreys pressure on themselves.
With 51-minutes on the clock, RGC rung the changes but they were still unable to clear their line as the wind continued to play a major part in the game. Despite the best effort by RGC’s Catrin Williams to exploit the space behind play in order to gain territory, the Ospreys were quick to defuse these efforts as they picked up the ball and returned play to RGC’s 22.
Through a series of excellent offloads by RGC saw them look to exit their 22 and relieve the pressure, but excellent defensive play by the Ospreys made it very difficult. However, a break-away run by Mali Jones saw her use her speed to run the length of the field untouched to cross the line under the sticks for an excellent individual try, Williams with the extras, to close the gap on the scoreboard and took the score to 14-29 with 55-minutes on the clock.
The Ospreys Women were quick to respond. A penalty awarded to the Ospreys 15-metres out, saw them use a quick tap and go, and push the ball out wide to Erin Smith who crossed the line in the corner for an unconverted try, extending the distance between the two teams on the scoreboard, and took the ladies in black further into the lead: 14-34.
After going through the phases, and playing expansive rugby, the Ospreys women drove RGC back into their own 22. A loop around move, and good vision saw Breeze Davies slice through RGC’s defence to cross the whitewash in the corner, for an unconverted try, taking the score to 14-39.
The wind continued to gust making playing conditions very difficult, both sides looked to play open rugby and put the ball through the hands. An excellent break from Mia Davies saw her run 20-metres down the narrow-side to cross the whitewash in the corner, for an unconverted try, and took the score to 14-44 with 8-minutes left to play.
The Ospreys pick up and goes and ability to offload and link to their back line, with the wind behind them, was proving to be very rewarding and caused problems for RGC’s defence. Undeterred, Merched RGC dug deep, but, through the big hits put in by the Ospreys Women, they were unable to cross the gain-line and play remained in RGC’s half.
In the dying-minutes of play, RGC pushed the ball wide to Sara Jones who ran the length of the field down the narrow-side and offloaded to Mali Jones who interlinked to Lliwen Jones who crossed over the whitewash in the corner to have the final say, for an unconverted try, to take the score to 19-44.
Despite their best efforts, Merched RGC could not catch the Ospreys Women U18s who held onto the lead and took the honours in difficult conditions. The win for the Ospreys Women today meant that they officially secured the title of U18s Regional Womens Champions and maintained their undefeated title for this season.
FULL-TIME: MERCHED RGC U18S 19 – 44 OSPREYS WOMEN U18S