Ospreys sneak home against Edinburgh
February 10, 2012
Hooker Richard Hibbard crossed for one of the Ospreys' two tries
© Getty Images
Ospreys overcame a raft of international absences to tighten their grip on second spot in the RaboDirect PRO12 with a 15-14 victory over Edinburgh.
The visitors, missing no fewer than 19 players, had tries from Richard Hibbard and Eli Walker, while Dan Biggar contributed the rest with a drop goal and a conversion.
Edinburgh, themselves without nine players, led 11-8 at half-time thanks to a try from 21-year-old centre Dougie Fife on his first appearance. They also had three penalties from international fly-half Phil Godman.
The visitors stated their intent in the opening minutes with a series of grubber kicks by Biggar and Andrew Bishop, while James King almost made the breakthrough after charging down an attempted clearance from Chris Leck. However, the home side weathered that storm and they had an opportunity to set the scoreboard ticking when Biggar was penalised on the edge of the Ospreys 22.
Godman was wide of the target with his kick, but the home number ten quickly atoned when he banged over a more difficult effort after Ian Gough offended at the breakdown. And the Scots extended their lead after 18 minutes when Chris Paterson was halted just short of the line but offloaded to Alun Walker who flipped the ball to Godman and he sent debutant centre Fife in for the try.
Biggar clawed back three points with a neatly executed drop goal and that sparked a period of Ospreys pressure which saw them draw level. Biggar dispatched a penalty into touch ten metres from the Edinburgh line and, from the ensuing lineout, a powerful drive pushed Edinburgh back over their line, where Hibbard applied the final touch.
But Edinburgh ended the first period in the ascendancy and Godman nudged the hosts into a three-point lead at the break when he landed a second penalty after Kahn Fotuali'i had transgressed.
Both sides freshened up their teams with Ospreys introducing Alun Wyn Jones for the final half hour and the Scots bringing their new signing Ulises Gamboa into the fray. And it was the hosts who were next to boost their tally when Godman landed another penalty.
However, Ospreys retaliated with a stunning try by Eli Walker. The winger gathered in his own half, beat off an attempted tackle by Chris Paterson, chipped over the advancing Godman then eluded Tim Visser to dot down under the sticks and leave Biggar a simple conversion.
Godman had an instant opportunity to reclaim the lead but missed from close range before Biggar was also off the mark with a long-range effort at the other end.
Edinburgh enjoyed another spell of sustained pressure but they were unable to breach a resolute Ospreys defence and that failure to convert their superiority into points ultimately meant they had to settle for a narrow-defeat bonus point.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton