Magners final beckons for Ospreys
May 14, 2010
Graeme Morrison clashes with the Ospreys defence
© PA Photos
The Ospreys have booked their place in the inaugural Magners League grand final with a 20-5 victory over Glasgow Warriors in their semi-final clash at the Liberty Stadium.
Shane Williams scored a controversial early try for the home side as his boot flirted with the touchline and his effort was doubled by a superb individual score from James Hook in the second-half. Dan Biggar kicked 10 points while all of Glasgow's points came from hooker Fergus Thomson's opportunist try.
Glasgow have never won on Ospreys turf and they were not helped that Dan Parks missed eight points' worth of kicks, failing with two penalties and missing the conversion for Thomson's second-half try.
Due to traffic problems, which delayed the Glasgow coach and four of the Ospreys players, the kick-off was delayed by 10 minutes. The Warriors were without Scotland captain Chris Cusiter against an unchanged Ospreys. Mark McMillan took over at scrum-half after Cusiter was injured in last week's win over Scarlets.
The Ospreys went into the game weighed down by a £100,000 fine and a four-point deduction for next season for breaching Magners rules for not fulfilling their March 19 fixture in Ulster. Alun Wyn Jones, who was making his 100th appearance for the Ospreys, stole an early lineout as the home side pressed Glasgow's 22. But solid Scots' defence forced Dan Biggar into a drop-goal attempt which he pushed wide.
On 10 minutes the Ospreys had their first try. Glasgow knocked on in contact on the halfway line, Williams picked up, evaded a tackle and ran in unopposed for only his third regional try of the season, despite suspicion that he had a foot in touch as he ran clear.
The Ospreys had the better of the referee's decisions but what penalties Glasgow had Parks missed with long range efforts on 14 and 34 minutes. The only other try scoring chance of the half came in injury time when Andrew Bishop charged down a Parks kick, but the Ospreys centre knocked on just five metres short as he tried to gather the ball.
The second half began in dramatic fashion with Glasgow scoring a try in only the second minute. Hooker Thomson went over in the left corner after scrum-half Mark McMillan had picked up a loose palm down at a line-out from Ryan Jones.
But in the space of three minutes the Ospreys were back in control of the contest leading 17-5. A Biggar penalty was followed by a fine try from Hook, who made a superb break down the left and then chipped over the cover defence to regather and score. After that the Ospreys took full control of the game and put some gloss on the scoreline with an injury time penalty for Biggar.
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery