Ospreys slip to opening night loss
August 31, 2012
Kristopher Burton scored all Treviso's points against the Ospreys with four penalties before half-time
© Getty Images
Defending champions the Ospreys slipped to a 12-6 loss away to Benetton Treviso in the opening round of the RaboDirect Pro12, despite enjoying the majority of possession and having had the better try-scoring opportunities.
The Ospreys were without second row Ian Evans for over half the match after he was sent off for two yellow cards in the 30th minute. Dan Biggar scored two penalties either side of half-time, but he missed a number of other kicks throughout the match. Italy fly-half Kristopher Burton kicked four penalties before half-time to win the match for the Italian side.
The Ospreys began the defence of their title in menacing fashion but Treviso's defensive line refused to be breached early on and it was the hosts who opened the scoring when Burton was on target with a seventh-minute penalty.
Evans' first yellow card came two minutes later after the Wales second row was penalised for a deliberate indiscretion on the floor. It was typical of the Ospreys' indiscipline in the first half when the visitors conceded four penalties within the first 14 minutes and Burton was able to convert three to give Treviso a 9-0 lead. Ospreys regrouped and were able to get themselves on the scoresheet on 18 minutes as Biggar kicked his first points of the night but that did not knock Treviso out of their stride.
On the half hour mark Evans was shown a second yellow card for a high tackle and Italy international Burton rubbed salt into the wounds to take his and Treviso's tally to 12. The Ospreys were shaken but they came out fighting and forced another penalty of their own, only for Biggar to miss the target to hand Treviso a 12-3 lead at half-time.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Ospreys rallied and they came out for the second half in determined mood and earned themselves a 44th-minute penalty which Biggar missed. The sides were temporarily even when prop Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet was sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle and this time Biggar made no mistake with his penalty to trim Treviso's lead to six. His mixed form continued on 50 minutes though when he failed to pass to Hanno Dirksen early enough when the South African-born flyer was well placed for a try-scoring opportunity.
The Ospreys' onslaught continued and on 53 minutes Ashley Beck looked certain to score but he was excellently held up at the last by Treviso centre Tommaso Iannone. Treviso soon found themselves down to 14 again when flanker Dean Budd was also shown yellow for a dangerous tackle but again Biggar struggled with the wind and dragged his effort wide. The Ospreys kept coming but lacked composure when it mattered and on 68 minutes, Tom Isaacs failed to collect a pass after a flowing move in the left corner. While the Ospreys dominated possession in the closing stages they failed to find the cutting edge they had searched for all night and Rhys Webb fumbled when well placed late on to ensure that Treviso begin their season victorious.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham