Impressive offensive and defensive play in a dominant performance by the Eyasses gains them their second win of the season.
At a chilly St Helens ground the Ospreys West team were dominant from the very start of the game. A break after just seconds of play saw them within feet of the try line, the Dragons managing to take them into touch just before they could cross over. However the visitors defence couldn't hold out for long and with just three minutes on the clock the Ospreys over powered a Dragon's scrum and stole the ball. 2nd row Ceri Sylvester slipping over for the first try of the game. Tom Howells was unable to put the home side further ahead as his conversion attempt went wide.
The Dragons put immense pressure on the young Eyasses from the restart and came within inches of equalling the score just a few minutes later. Impressive defensive work by the home side saw the Dragons efforts come to nothing as they were penalised for holding on. Shortly after, a knock on into Dragon hands by the Ospreys during their attack saw the visitors looking dangerous again. The Ospreys having to race back downfield and regroup their defence to stop the Dragons scoring. More exceptional defending came from the home side but it was a knock on that finally stopped the team from the East's attack.
Knock ons became a theme for the game, spoiling as many chances as both teams defensive work. An Ospreys chance to go further ahead after a great break was stopped by the ball going forward. The resulting scrum saw the Dragons send the ball wide until they too knocked on. Young Osprey Kerian Williams then made a lovely break from that scrum and chipped the ball downfield. The Dragons collected it right in front of their posts but again dropped the ball forward. This proved to be one handling error too many as the ball was quickly sent downfield from the scrum to allow Llyr Davies to score for the home team. Tom Howells, not having his best kicking game, and from a difficult angle again sent the conversion wide.
The Ospreys West team were keen to stamp their authority on the game, scoring again just three minutes later. Strong defensive work sent the Dragons, in control of the ball from the restart, backwards and forced them into being penalised for holding on. A very clever chip following the resulting line out allowing Keelan Giles the opportunity to show off his pace and get the Eyasses third of the match. Tom Howells with his only successful conversion of the night then put his side ahead by 17.
The Dragons showed no signs of giving up and were quickly back putting pressure on the Ospreys line. Further brilliant defensive play however meant the visitors found themselves continually hitting a brick wall as they tried to get themselves on the score board. Instead it was the young Ospreys who crossed over for the fourth time with 28 minutes played. The pack turning over the Dragons just in front of their own posts and easily finding a gap for No 8 Morgan Morris to stride through.
Both sides tried in the remaining few minutes of the first half to get over the opposing try line however strong defending and continued knock ons killed any chances. At half time the score remained, Ospreys West 22 - 0 Dragons.
The home side started the second half in much the same way as they had the half. Determined offensive work leading up to Jack Cambriani making a strong attack. He shrugged off several tackles before passing to earlier try scorer Keelan Giles who was brought up just feet from the try line. The Dragons again couldn't hold off the Ospreys attack very long though as with 4 minutes of the second half played, Tom Howells was able to slip through to score. Phil Jones, momentarily taking over kicking duties from the try scorer, slotting the conversion neatly between the posts.
More great work came from the Eyasses defence, pinning the Dragons back and forcing them into being penalised for holding on again shortly after. This gave Keelan Giles another opportunity to show his impressive speed and race down the wing to score his second of the game. Despite no conversion from Howells, the Ospreys still found themselves ahead by 34 points after 11 minutes of the second half.
Despite being the dominant team all game, they were not able to cross the line again in the match. Several big injuries to the squad saw a number of players leave the field and their attacking play quieten down. The visitors, who couldn't be faulted for their determination and unwillingness to give up, carried on attacking but the Ospreys defence was outstanding. They continued to hold the visitors back, keeping them pinned behind the 22.
There were a few more opportunities and clever breaks by the Eyasess but it was the Dragons who got the final word with a last minute try. Replacements for the visitors making short work of the Ospreys defence and slipping through several players to get their first and only points of the game. They were unable to convert and the game ended: Ospreys West 34 - 5 Dragons.
Ospreys West Under 16 Head Coach, Dai Jones, said on the victory:
"Tonight was really good. We had a terrible start in our first fixture last week against the Blues but then the boys got into the game and played really well to get us the win. The challenge tonight was to start the way they finished last week and to be fair we started tonight like a house on fire with the two tries in the first 10 minutes! In terms of their attitudes from the off today, they were really pleasing and did just what we asked of them for this particular challenge.
It's great to go into the Christmas break with two wins from two games. You never know what you are going to get in terms of responses from the boys when you start training. We were thinking we had the makings of a good team but you never know until they play. The most pleasing thing for me is that they really seem to be enjoying playing together as a team. Unbelievably at the end you would have thought they lost because they conceded the try in the last 30 seconds! But that just shows the high standards that they have set themselves".