Looking for their third successive win in the WRU Regional Age-grade Championship, the Ospreys U18s took on the unbeaten Scarlets U18’s at Aberavon RFC.
- Tries from Dan Hiscocks, Joe Grabham, Cameron Lewis and Josh Thomas sealed the bonus point for the young Ospreys
- 11 points from Thomas’ boot proved the difference, with the Scarlets equalling the try count
- Victory for the Eyasses saw them end the Scarlets U18s unbeaten season
With the Scarlets U18s sitting top of the table, the Ospreys looked to cause an upset and with Aberavon playing hosts, the squad looked to capitalise on “home” advantage in a game scheduled as an away fixture.
Running out at a very wet Talbot Athletic Ground, the Ospreys were quick to make their mark on the game, dominating the open stages and winning the penalty, allowing Josh Thomas to slot a kick over the posts to give his team an early 0-3 lead.
Still in control of the game, the Ospreys dominated possession, but a lost lineout handed the Scarlets the ball. The Ospreys defence held strong, and a penalty against the men in red after a powerful tackle from Rhys Thomas, handed the Ospreys a scrum just on the halfway line.
The Scarlets came away with the ball, and with the Ospreys low on numbers out wide, pace from the Scarlets backs saw wing Alex Varney score the opening try, the conversion from Llew Smith put the Scarlets ahead 7-3.
Trying to take back control of the game, the Ospreys turned over their opponents as they tried to run the ball, and a quick pass out wide to Ben Cambriani saw the centre blitz his way up field. Great support and a quick pass to his inside man left Dan Hiscocks clear to score the Ospreys first try, Thomas with the extras to take the Ospreys back ahead.
With momentum on their side, the Ospreys made a break from the restart. Kyle Jones slicced his way through the Scarlets defence to take his side deep into the 22. A loose pass found its way into Scarlets hands and a clearing kick upfield was nicely supported by the backs. A chase from both wings was won by Ospreys hands but a knock on gave the Scarlets the put in at the scrum inside the Ospreys 22.
Taking it quickly, an offload to Dai Jones secured the Scarlets second try of the game. The conversion missed, but the Scarlets edged ahead at 12-10.
The Ospreys were quick to battle back as a break from the pack left the Scarlets struggling in defence, making room for Joe Grabham to slide his way over the line. Thomas was on target again to take the Ospreys five points ahead.
The Ospreys continued to attack, a break out wide from Luke Scully, and a chip over the top looking to put Hiscocks clear, but pressure from the Scarlets saw the ball ripped from Osprey hands and moved back upfield. Good interplay from the backs left Varney room out wide to score his second try of the night, which went unconverted.
With the Ospreys putting in a strong performance that wasn’t refelected on the scoreboard, they were eager to end the first half on top.
A good scrum and impressive line speed saw them edge their way deeper into the Scarlets half and, spying the gap in defence, a quick break from Frankie Jones saw the winger come inches from the tryline. A nice back door pass to Cameron Lewis saw the hooker ground the Ospreys third try of the game, Thomas with the conversion to take the Ospreys 17-24 ahead at half time.
Half Time Scarlets U18’s 17 - 24 Ospreys U18’s
Coming out for the second half the Ospreys threw everything at their opposition. Good interplay from the backs saw Josh Thomas run the ball strong out wide. With two men on his outside an offload would have secured the bonus point try for the squad. But Thomas proved he didn't need the support, shrugging off a tackle and racing over the line to give his side the bonus point score, converting his own try to put the Ospreys comfortably 14 ahead.
Scarlets tried to make their way back into the game and and a quick sidestep from Harri Doel out wide kept the Scarlets back in contention with the bonus point try of their own, the conversion missed which meant they trailed by nine with 20 minutes remaining.
Both sides struggled to finish off their chances in the closing stages of the game as conditions worsened, the Scarlets looking to make headway only for a strong tackle from Travis Huntley to keep them at bay.
As the clock entered the final five minutes, the Scarlets managed to turn the ball over once again and run their way back into the Ospreys 22. Digging in deep, the Ospreys looked to finish the game off and with one last effort a strong maul from the pack turned the Scarlets over, a kick to touch ending the Scarlets unbeaten run.
Next up for the Ospreys U18s is a trip to Ystrad Mynach on Wednesday 7th February, where they face the Dragons U18’s.