The Ospreys West Under 16's side beat the Scarlets 26 - 0 to win the Welsh Regional Age Grade title
The Under 16's from Western Ospreylia went into yesterday's title decider on the back of a impressive unbeaten run this season. Hopes were high of a victory but they faced title rivals, the Scarlets Under 16 side, who had only been beaten once so far this year. A win for either side at Parc Y Scarlets could have seen them clinch the Championship so supporters were guaranteed an exciting match in the usual manner of West Wales derbies.
The two teams showed why they were both in contention for the majority of the first half, keeping each other honest with strong defensive and offensive play. The youngsters evenly matched in all areas, often turning each other over and stealing each other's line outs.
The Scarlets had the first few chances to really test the oppositions defence, the majority of play in the first five minutes being inside the Ospreys' 22. The home side couldn't turn their efforts into points though as the visitors defence stayed strong and consistently managed to steal the ball from Scarlets hands.
Soon after it was the Ospreys chance to put pressure on, scrum half Reuben Morgan Williams making several nice breaks but a long pass going into touch spoilt their run before it could really start to look dangerous.
With both teams defences acting like brick walls for the opposing runners, and a number of knock ons, it began to look doubtful that either team would manage to cross the line before half time. Until the Ospreys' George Mbofona broke through and raced up the wing, despite strong opposition from the Scarlets. Impressively he stayed the right side on the touch line and as he reached the Scarlets 22 the Ospreys pack took over to continue the charge.
When the home team were penalised the Ospreys took their chance with a line out. Despite their previous few attempts being stolen, this time Jordan Liney found his man and then just a few moves later crossed the line himself to score the first points of the game. Tom Howells easily converted and at half time the Scarlets found themselves trailing by 7 points.
The second half started much as the first half had, with both teams looking strong but evenly matched. The Llanelli side again got the first few chances to attack but the young Eyasses defence was impressive and improving with every minute of the game.
As they neared the end of the third quarter good breaks by George Jawad and Captain Will Jones started a dangerous attack for the Ospreys and eventually Phil Jones raced through to put the ball down in the corner. A great kick by Tom Howells successfully converting the try.
Just 5 minutes later the Ospreys West side managed to add to their tally as they scored their third try of the game. Launching a strong offence, they pushed the home team backwards and into being penalised. Reuben Morgan Williams taking the ball quickly and diving between the posts. The try again successfully converted by Tom Howells.
Shortly after the restart it looked like the Ospreys would add their fourth try with Jamie Osbourne and George Mbofona combining to take the visitors up field but they were penalised for holding on just feet from the line.
The Scarlets were also still taking their opportunities to try and find a gap in the Ospreys defence. Scrum half Harry Randall, who had been outstanding for the home side, made a fantastic break and put them firmly back into the Ospreys own half. When the visitors received a yellow card for being offside it looked like the Scarlets would be able to at least get on the scoreboard but despite their one man advantage they couldn't break through the Ospreys 14 man defensive line.
Instead it was the Eyasses from the West who rounded off the game with their 4th try. Just as they had in the first half, scoring in the very last minute of play. A break by Ewan Gully enabled Tom Howells to cross over the try line. Despite being unable to convert his own try as the effort hit the posts the Ospreys had more than enough to ensure the victory. The final score being:
Scarlets Under 16's 0 - 26 Ospreys West Under 16's
Head Coach Dai Jones remarked on the victory and winning the Championship:
"Tonight was probably the best performance of the year. Although the score doesn't really reflect it, the Scarlets are clearly the best team we have played all year and in fairness to them it's not really a fair reflection of the game. But it shows how well the boys played to put a score like that on the board against such a good side.
As the Ospreys we've got a good record in the Championship and we've won the title before, but it's the first time we have done it as a split region so it's a bit of a first for these boys to win it. As the West of the region, to beat the other mostly "full" regions is a really good achievement for them and we're really pleased and proud of the effort and performances that they have put in all season".