There was some excellent rugby on display despite the sub zero temperatures at Tondu RFC, but unfortunately, the Ospreys failed to get the winning score despite late pressure.
A water-logged pitch in Llanelli saw the game postponed on Tuesday, and then frozen pitches down in West Wales on Wednesday saw the Scarlets U18s clash against the Ospreys U18s take place at Tondu RFC instead.
With four-minutes played, the Scarlets made a break out wide from a scrum on the 45-metre line and carried deep into the Ospreys’ 22, but their defence remained intact. The Scarlets then earned a penalty which resulted in a lineout on the 5-metre line and they kept it tight whilst going through the phases, but the Ospreys’ defence proved too strong.
The Ospreys battled back and worked the ball from defence to drive the Scarlets into their own half. A Scarlets’ infringement in their 22 handed the Ospreys a penalty and the opportunity to get the scoreboard moving as Joe Hawkins went for goal, but he failed to find the posts.
The balance of play took place between both side’s 22s as defences were on top, and neither team were able to threaten each other’s line.
Twenty-minutes into the game, the Ospreys were back on the attack but failed to burst through the red wall. Minutes later, the Ospreys were reduced to 14 men as an infringement led to a sin bin.
The Scarlets were the first to turn their efforts into points as they played the blind side and a storming run by Sam Williams saw him cross the white wash, which was converted by Bradley Roderick.
An Ospreys’ lineout on the half-way line saw them catch the ball off the top and drive the Scarlets back, gaining 20-yards. They set up camp in the Scarlets’ 22 and after going through the phases, the pressure eventually led to a try in the corner for Iestyn Morgan, which went unconverted.
The falling temperatures meant it a testing night for ball-handling skills but minutes before half-time, a Scarlets penalty saw them go for a lineout on the Ospreys five-metre line. They continued to go through the phases and punch holes in the middle, but the Ospreys defence held tight as the half-time whistle blew.
HALF-TIME: Scarlets U18s 7 – 5 Ospreys U18s
An Ospreys offside gave the Scarlets a penalty in the visitors’ 22 and led to a 5-metre lineout. A catch and drive saw a quick ball delivered to Dean James who sliced through the defence and forced his way over the line to secure their second try, converted by Roderick, and pushed the hosts clear on the scoreboard, 14-5.
A lovely move from the Ospreys then saw them enter the Scarlets’ 22, who were then penalised. Hawkins again pushing the ball wide at an attempt at goal.
The Scarlets interfered with play, resulting in a yellow card and were once again reduced to 14 men. Despite their numerical disadvantage, they ate up the clock well, by keeping onto possession.
The boys in black failed to capitalise on their extra man advantage, as twenty-minutes into the second half, a ball switched to the narrow side saw the Scarlets create an overlap which saw Harrison Button go under the sticks, Roderick with the extras.
From the restart, the Ospreys were quick to respond moving the ball through quick hands, Dan Hiscocks crashing over the whitewash, his try converted by Hawkins.
Twenty-five minutes into the game, an infringement from the Ospreys saw Roderick slice the posts to secure the penalty and take the score to 24-12 to the Scarlets.
As the closing minutes approached, the Ospreys continued to battle and forced the Scarlets back into their 22. While playing the ball through the middle channel, Dan O’Sullivan went over and Hawkins added the extras to cut the deficit to just five points.
That set up a grandstand finish in the final five minutes as the young Ospreys pressed for the winning score which, unfortunately, remained just out of reach.
FULL TIME: Scarlets U18s 24 – 19 Ospreys U18s