Full match report from Sixways as the Ospreys suffer defeat in their opening pre-season fixture of 2014
The Ospreys got off to the worst possible start, Worcester wing Sam Smith with an interception try within 10 seconds, reading a Sam Davies pass in midfield to run in unchecked from the 22m line as the visitors attempted to run Ignacio Mieres’ kick-off back at the opposition.
The conversion was missed, and the Ospreys were able to narrow the gap almost immediately, Davies with a long-range penalty after a Worcester offence on the floor close to halfway.
Another Warriors offence on the round, after good work from skipper Jonathan Spratt, gave Davies another shot at goal three minutes later but this time he was off target despite being 20m closer to the posts.
A strong break from Andy Symons took Worcester deep into Ospreys territory and after he fed his centre partner Max Stelling a try looked on, only for Tom Grabham to get back with a last gasp tackle to bring him down close to the touchline.
A penalty against Ben Howard for not releasing on halfway allowed Davies to put the Ospreys into the corner on the right, and a nice set move saw the ball moved across the width of the pitch to Hanno Dirksen on the left who was stopped just short. As the Ospreys looked to recycle, referee Luke Pearce awarded another penalty, this time for offside, and this time Davies made no mistake to give his team the lead for the first time.
The Ospreys were ahead for less than 120 seconds though, a scrum penalty offering Mieres a simple kick to take the score to 8-6 in the hosts favour.
Although there was a typical pre-season feeling about the game in the evening light, with too many errors for either coaches liking as the two teams worked off the rustiness, there was a competitive and physical edge to the contest, keeping both sides honest in their approach as the clock edged past the half hour mark.
A moment of quality from Dan Evans almost sparked the Ospreys’ first try of the night, the fullback beating several defenders as he carried it 35m upfield and over halfway to put his new team on the front foot. Josh Matavesi, who left Worcester for Ospreylia this summer, offered great support, along with new hooker Sam Parry, but Evans, tackled under the crossbar, was just unable to hold the scoring pass, knocking on with the line beckoning.
As half-time approached, Marc Thpmas was penalised at a scrum close to the Ospreys 22, allowing Mieres a simple shot at goal and the Argentine made no mistake with the final kick of the half.
HALF-TIME: WORCESTER WARRIORS 11 OSPREYS 6
The Ospreys had to be alert to some early pressure, Sam Smith carrying up the left, but there was to be no repeat of the first half horror show as the defence scrambled well to snuff out the threat and win the penalty.
They were back behind their posts a couple of minutes later though, Dirksen penalised for offside in front of the kicker on halfway, a mistake which allowed Mieres to put Worcester into the corner from where there was no stopping their driving maul. Prop Nick Schonert touched down for his team’s second try but the conversion was missed leaving the score at 16-6 to the home team.
It got worse for the visitors on 50 minutes as Worcester turned the Ospreys over and counter attacked at pace, working a two-on-one out on the left. Full-back Ben Howard’s show and go left Grabham in his wake as he raced clear to score under the posts, Mieres converting.
Although the game was starting to get messy, a host of changes on both sides breaking up the rhythm, Worcester were well on top going into the final quarter.
After a prolonged period of play deep inside the Ospreys half, and relentless defensive work to keep Worcester out, the visitors were finally able to gain some respite, Davies putting the ball into the opposition 22.
With their tails up the Ospreys pounded the Worcester line for the first time in the second half, Rynier Bernardo going closest, but the Warriors held firm and eventually won the penalty before the final minutes petered out into a disappointing defeat for the visitors on their first pre-season outing.