Scarlets snatch draw with Ospreys
November 5, 2011
Fly-half Stephen Jones landed a late penalty to ensure a share of the spoils for his side in their derby clash with Ospreys
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Scarlets fly-half Stephen Jones kicked a late penalty to snatch a 9-9 draw with Ospreys in a stop-start RaboDirect PRO12 League derby at the Liberty Stadium.
The match-tying kick was a controversial one, with Jones arguably lucky to be on the field after receiving a yellow rather than a red card for a tip tackle on Tommy Bowe in the first half. Like Jones, Dan Biggar kicked three penalties for the Ospreys.
Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones returned from a rest after the World Cup to lead the Ospreys, but fellow Wales team-mates Huw Bennett, Ryan Bevington, Ryan Jones and Shane Williams were on the bench. The Scarlets included Wales trio Scott Williams, Stephen Jones and Tavis Knoyle in the starting line-up, while George North, Jon Davies and Ken Owens were on the bench.
The Ospreys just about edged an incident-backed first period, which they led 3-0. The biggest talking point was Jones' tip tackle on Bowe which only warranted a yellow card from French referee Mathieu Raynel. The challenge looked worse than the tip tackle by Sam Warburton on Vincent Clerc which earned the Wales captain a red card in the World Cup semi-final against France.
Before he went to the sin-bin, Jones and opposite number Dan Biggar missed penalty goal attempts in the first quarter, as did Scarlets fullback Evans. Jones' indiscretion resulted in the deadlock being broken as Biggar kicked the Ospreys into a 3-0 lead on 24 minutes.
Despite the Ospreys also being reduced to 14 men - flanker Justin Tipuric seeing yellow for a ruck offence - the home side finished the half the stronger with Alun Wyn Jones crossing the line but failing to ground the ball. That was the only hint of a try in the entire 80 minutes.
It took just two minutes of the second half for the Scarlets to get back on level terms through a Jones penalty after the Ospreys were penalised at a scrum. But the scores were level for just four minutes as Biggar kicked penalties on 46 and 48 minutes to put the Ospreys 9-6 in front. That prompted the Scarlets to introduce two more Wales World Cup stars in Davies and North.
The Scarlets did not help themselves as Jones and Evans missed a penalty apiece as the Ospreys brought on Shane Williams and Ryan Jones. Biggar missed a penalty on 68 minutes and that proved costly as Jones kicked a 78th-minute penalty to draw the scores level.
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