A thoroughly professional performance saw the Ospreys lead in Parma from the third minute as they made it four wins in the first five rounds of GuinnessPRO14 action.
- Sam Davies kicks 17 points and Luke Morgan scores his second try in three games
- Zebre score try touched by controversy with 10 minutes to play but Ospreys see the game out to make it four wins from five matches
- Next weekend the Ospreys make the short trip across the Loughor Bridge to face the Scarlets
The half backs of Aled and Sam Davies were in fine form as they guided their team to victory, the former taking the official man of the match award and the latter kicking 17 points. Winger Luke Morgan touched down in the first half for his second try of the season.
The Ospreys were in front barely two minutes after Sam Davies had got the game underway, the outside half slotting a simple three pointer after a high tackle on Nicky Smith by Apisai Tauyavuca.
It was a frantic opening with little structure to the contest under the blazing Parma sun, but the Ospreys grabbed the opening try in the 14th minute.
They were grateful to a TMO referral for confirming a scrum five after a grubber by Davies came off a Zebre defender before Edoardo Padovani had put the ball dead and it was to prove a key moment. The scrum was solid, James King picked up and carried before Morgan, coming infield, cut a good line to break the defence and score, Davies adding the extras.
The visitors were enjoying the lion’s share of territory and possession as the game moved into the second quarter but the score remained 0-10.
Morgan almost grabbed his second try just before the half hour, turnover ball on halfway allowing the Ospreys to counter, and the winger showed great footwork to dance his way past three men before finally being put in touch in the corner.
Zebre were unable to exit their 22 from the lineout though, the Ospreys again winning back possession and Sam Davies slotted over a drop goal to stretch the lead.
An Ospreys offside on hallway gave Zebre the opportunity to set up camp in the opposition 22, but after failing to make the most of their maul they eventually opted for the posts, Carlo Canna getting the hosts side of the scoreboard moving four minutes before the break.
At the other end, a Zebre offence at the ruck allowed Davies to take another simple three points with time up at the end of the half, sending his team back to the shed with a 13-point lead.
HALF-TIME: ZEBRE 3-16 OSPREYS
The Ospreys continued to hold the upper hand at the start of the second half, the first points again coming from the boot of Sam Davies after the pack had turned the screw at a scrum on the Zebre 22, the outside half taking his team 16 clear with 54 minutes played.
There was no change to the score as the contest moved into the final quarter, the Ospreys pressing through a prolonged period inside the Zebre 22 but unable to find their way through a resolute defence.
Zebre were the next to score, with 10 minutes to play, and there was more than a touch of controversy surrounding it as referee Frank Murphy missed a clear knock-on as the hosts pressed.
Predictably, Zebre won a penalty at the next phase, went to the corner, and their pack powered over, Massimo Ceciliani scoring. Canna watched his conversion come back off the right hand post.
Davies opted to take the three when the Ospreys won a penalty at the scrum just a couple of minutes later, splitting the posts from a central position 25m out which meant the lead was now 14 and just a little over five minutes remaining.
The closing minutes were played out in the visitors half as Zebre looked t=for a score that would secure a losing bonus point but there was no way through as the Ospreys defended resolutely.