The Blues came out on top in two WRU Regional Age Grade contests last night.
Despite a strong first half performance from the Eyasses, the visitors from the East were victorious in an U18 game at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field, while the U16s East also fell at Cardiff Arms Park to Blues South.
It was a quiet start for both sides in the U18 game as torrential rain hammered the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field. Despite the best efforts of both teams, strong defensive play and problems caused by the slick ball meant neither side saw inside the others 22.
That changed in the 8th minute when an impressive long kick by the Eyasses and poor collect by the Blues right in front of their own try line gifted the home team with a scrum. Captain, and number 8, Jon Fox popping out of the back before quickly passing to the waiting Matthew Aubrey who easily made his way through the Cardiff defence for the first try of the game. However, kicking into the pouring rain, Aubrey was unable to convert his own try.
Just a few minutes later Aubrey had a chance to put the Eyasses further ahead when pressure from his team mates meant the Blues were penalised for holding on. His kick, again into the driving rain, went just wide of the posts however leaving the Ospreys still leading by just the 5 points.
The Blues then had their first real chance of the game to attack, driving forward and pushing against the Eyasses back line. The young Ospreys showed their dominant first half defence however and forced the Blues into several handling errors. They then had the opportunity to go on the offensive themselves. Another clever long kick by the home team and pressure on the Cardiff side from the chaser saw them with a line out just feet from the try line. The slick ball, rather than the Blues defence, stopped them crossing the line though as it was once again knocked on.
The Ospreys continued to dominate during the remainder of the first half with several good attacking phases and stolen line outs. However the Blues defence regained strength and kept the home side from completing their attempts. At half time the score remained Ospreys 5 - 0 Blues.
The second half was an entirely different matter, with much improved conditions, the Blues started strong from the whistle. Within seconds they were close to touching down between the posts, again it was a knock on rather than defensive play that stopped a try being scored.
Improved defence by the Ospreys held the visitors out for a while but eventually the huge pressure proved too much. With 12 minutes of the second half played, Jarrod Evans slipped over the line to even the scores. A minute later he did what the Ospreys had been unable to do and converted his own try to put the visitors ahead.
The Blues continued to exert pressure on the Eyasses and kept them pinned firmly in their own half. It was not until 17 minutes into the second half that the Ospreys managed to find a way through and get over the half way line.
Good offensive play by the home side for the first time in the second half was matched by the Blues defensive work though and they were quickly forced both backwards and into handling errors. The visitors made the most of it, putting themselves further ahead with a successful penalty kick with 24 minutes on the clock.
The restart saw the Eyasses take their second trip into the Blues half but were quickly forced back again to protect the try line from a long kick and good chase from the visiting side. The Blues then managed to control the remainder of the game with no real danger from the Eyasses. Another successful penalty kick from the Blues Jarrod Evans just before the final whistle being the only other points added to the score.
Full time: Ospreys Under 18's 5 - 13 Blues Under 18's
Shaun Connor, Head Coach for the Eyasses commented on the game:
"It's really disappointing that we were unable to finish off the chances we had in the first half or it may have been a different result. It's something that we have been working on and will continue to work on prior to next week's game to hopefully manage our attacking play better.
“To not get into the opposing teams half for a long time in the second half was very frustrating but also a testament to the strength of the Blues side. It's not typical of our play so we'll be looking at that this week and will learn lessons going into our next match".
The Ospreys Under 16's East side were also in action last night against the boys from the capital, taking on the Blues Under 16's South at Cardiff Arms Park. The Blues were dominant from the start, with their first try coming after just 5 minutes of play.
In a game where both teams struggled with discipline there were 5 yellow cards awarded, 2 for the Blues and 3 for the Ospreys, leaving the Ospreys down to 13 men for part of the first half. The Cardiff side were quick to take advantage and scored their second try during this period.
The Eyasses fared no better in the second half as they still couldn't make their way through the Cardiff defence. It was the Blues who had the last say with a third try with the last 10 minutes of the match. The Blue's Mike Wallis was unable to convert any of the trys and the game ended Cardiff Under 16's South 15 - 0 Ospreys Under 16's East.