Ospreys edge out Leeds
February 4, 2010
Ospreys centre Ashley Beck is shackled by the Leeds defence © Getty Images
Bath Rugby Cardiff Blues Dragons England Gloucester Rugby Harlequins Leeds Carnegie Leicester Tigers London Irish London Wasps Newcastle Falcons Northampton Saints Ospreys Sale Sharks Saracens Scarlets Wales Worcester Warriors
Ospreys brought the curtain down on their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign with a narrow 21-17 victory over Leeds.
A late penalty try from the Premiership side was not enough to inflict a tournament whitewash on the their Magners League rivals at the Liberty Stadium. The Welsh side seemed to be cruising to victory after tries from Hanno Dirksen, Steve Tandy and Jamie Nutbrown helped them open up a 21-10 lead.
But a late rally saw Leeds earn a converted penalty try in injury time and make it a nervous few minutes for the home side, who had lost all their previous three games against Northampton, Bath and Gwent Dragons.
Ospreys player-coach Filo Tiatia was proud of his young team after watching them grind out the win. "I don't know if you can use the cliche game of two halves, but it was a game full of positives but also frustrating to watch," said Tiatia. "The positive we can take out of it is that it was a win, but we know there are plenty of things we can work on behind the scenes.
"The real positive is in terms of a lot of kids having their debuts. There were two starts: Hanno Dirksen (Swansea), who went well, scored a try and popped up in the action a lot, and young Ben Breeze (Aberavon) at hooker, and Ben John (Aberavon) is still in the Under-18 system but came on on the wing before the end.
"So all in all it was exciting to see some young talent out there showing their wares and hopefully they will be involved (in the Magners League match against) Connacht later in the month."
Leeds coach Andy Key also hoped the players and the management would take some positives out of the match despite the defeat. "It was one of those games where we have made unforced errors throughout the game, but in the end at 21-17 it could have been a game that we could have won," said Key. "But the important thing for us now is setting the platform going back into the Guinness Premiership.
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Women's World Cup, the opening round of the Top 14 and the Rugby Championship