Ospreys off the mark against Scarlets
September 21, 2012
Dan Biggar contributed 13 points to the Ospreys first win of the season © PA Photos
Ryan Jones scored the only try of the match as the Ospreys finally won their first match of the season with a 23-16 victory away to the Scarlets.
The RaboDirect PRO12 champions led at half-time through three Dan Biggar penalties to two from Rhys Priestland. Priestland drew the home team level with his third penalty in the 48th minute, but with less than 10 minutes to go Jones powered his way over in the right-hand corner. Three minutes later wing Hanno Dirksen dived over in the same corner to put the match beyond doubt and while George North grabbed his fifth try of the season late on it wasn't enough to stop the Ospreys to put three consecutive losses behind them.
The Scarlets approached the game as league leaders with three straight wins, and in contrast the Ospreys were second from bottom after losing all three of their matches. But the Ospreys, lifted by the intensity of a derby, were far more competitive.
The Scarlets had a try disallowed by the television match official after wing Andy Fenby failed to ground the ball, although he seemed to be high-tackled by George Stowers as he went over the line.
The Ospreys got into good attacking positions but twice knocked the ball on at the crucial moment. A Joe Bearman high tackle on George Earle, which sparked some pushing and shoving, gave Priestland the opportunity from where he opened the scoring with a third-minute penalty. That was cancelled out four minutes later by a Biggar penalty.
The Scarlets were back in the lead after 13 minutes with Priestland on target from close to halfway. But Biggar responded in kind after 18 minutes.
Biggar missed a penalty after 26 minutes but found the target eight minutes later as the Ospreys led for the first time, and the visitors went to half-time with a 9-6 advantage. The Ospreys thought they had scored a try three minutes after the break through Dirksen but it was disallowed for a forward pass. And as the Scarlets worked their way upfield they levelled the scores at 9-9 after 47 minutes with a third Priestland penalty.
The Ospreys brought on Ryan Jones for his first appearance of the season just as Priestland missed a chance to take his side into the lead. And the Scarlets suffered a blow on the hour mark when their replacement prop Samson Lee was yellow-carded following a collapsed scrum. Despite being down a man, scrum-half Tavis Knoyle went close to making the left corner and then Priestland hit the post with a penalty attempt.
Back to 15 men, the Scarlets conceded the key try after 72 minutes when Ryan Jones finished off a forward drive from a lineout. The Biggar conversion put the Ospreys 16-9 ahead. And three minutes later Dirksen was in at the right corner for the second Ospreys try, with Biggar again adding the extras. The game was effectively gone for the hosts, but small consolation arrived with seconds on the clock as North went over to earn the bonus point and Priestland booted the conversion.
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