Two from two for the Eyasses

The Ospreys Under 18’s score a second win in the WRU Regional Age Grade Championship with a victory against the Blues

Following on from last week’s win against reigning champions the Scarlets, the Young Ospreys continued their winning ways beating the Cardiff Blues 16-10 on Wednesday night at Cardiff Arms Park.

The Blues started the game on the offence, from the first kick of the ball they were strong in attack and testing the Ospreys defence. Despite the Ospreys scrum looking solid they soon found themselves penalised and the Blues had the first chance to get points on the board after just 3 minutes. A lucky bounce off the post saw the home side go 3 – 0 up.

It was then the Ospreys turn to go on the attack before a spear tackle on captain Luke Price stopped them in their tracks. While Price received treatment, the Blues’ Ellis Wyn Benham was given a red card and the home side found themselves down to 14 men after just 5 minutes. Luckily Luke Price was able to continue the game and levelled the score with the penalty kick.

The restart saw the Ospreys knock on, allowing the Blues to test the Ospreys defence again despite being a man down. This continued for the rest of the first quarter but despite the visitors being penalised for holding on and not rolling away the Blues found the Ospreys line impenetrable.

Instead it was the Ospreys who got the next chance to score when the home team came in from the side, after 18 minutes Price made it 6-3 in the Ospreys favour. Two minutes later after the Blues collapsed the scrum, Price was given another opportunity to show off his penalty kicking skills and he did, putting the Ospreys ahead by 6 points.

A beautiful kick and chase from Rees Geely had the home team worried but he wasn’t able to convert the opportunity and instead the Blues went back on the offensive. After several warnings for Osprey offences the ref then showed Mathew Dodd a yellow card and at 30 minutes played both teams were down to 14 men for the next 10 minutes. The Blues were quick to turn this into an opportunity and a try followed after a few minutes with James Whittingham converting to put the Blues ahead for the first time in the game.

The Ospreys responded straight from the restart, making a brilliant run for the line and Jon Fox scored right under the posts, putting the Eyasses back in front less than a minute later. Price then converted with the Ospreys going into half time leading 16-10.

The second half continued in much the same way as the first with Osprey mistakes costing them attempts to go over the Cardiff line and the Blues being unable to get through the Ospreys strong defence. A great tackle from Owen Watkin saw the Ospreys pick up and run with the ball but another knock on from them thwarted the attempt just as they started to look dangerous.

When the Blues were penalised after 58 minutes for holding on, the Ospreys took what turned out to be the only opportunity of the second half for either side to have a kick at goal. Unfortunately Price, kicking from inside his own half sent the ball to the right of the posts leaving the score as it was.

More knock ons and forward passes marred the rest of the game for the Ospreys and once again the Eyasses found themselves down to 14 men when Rees Geely was shown a yellow card.

The last play of the game saw the Blues have a line out just feet from the try line. 2 minutes of constant attempts to get the ball over the line followed but the Ospreys defence held firm in impressive manner, stopping the Blues making the extra inches they needed to ground the ball. A scrum for the Blues saw them with one final opportunity when they got the ball out and sent it down the line. Stuart Nicholas from the Ospreys made a try saving tackle and the rest of the Ospreys pack bundled the Blues player into touch to end the game with the final score remaining 16-10 to the young Ospreys.

Luke Price, Ospreys Under 18’s Captain said of the game:

“I think it went well, we dogged it out to the end. We had to defend a lot and I thought the boys stuck in very well. Obviously there are areas that we know we have to work on in training and then we have to go out there and do the same again.”

Shaun Connor, Head Coach, remarked:

“I’m disappointed with the performance but pleased with the win. With two victories from two  away games we have to be pleased with that but we know there is a lot to work on in the next week before we play the Dragons. We will be working on our accuracy, we spend hours and hours working on our skills but are obviously still not up to speed. We’ll be looking at our basic skills of catch, pass and tackle technique. They are the key things and core skills the boys will have to work on in order to become professional players in the future”.

Asked if there were any positives to be taken from tonight game he added:

“Yes, the result! It was a disappointing game overall. As soon as the Blues 11 was sent off they shut up shop as you would expect so it turned into a war of attrition but luckily enough we came out of the other end on top”.

Next up for the Ospreys Under 18’s is a home game against the Dragons Under 18’s side on Wednesday 11th September, kick off 7.15pm