Ospreys 32-17 Glasgow Warriors
Glasgow Warriors were left to rue missed opportunities in Swansea this afternoon, as the Ospreys ran in four tries to claim a 32-17 victory in round three of the BKT United Rugby Championship.
Despite opportune conditions for running rugby, the opening quarter saw both teams favour the kicking game as defences enjoyed the upper hand. A couple of Sione Tuipulotu half-breaks accounted for Glasgow’s opportunities, whilst Owen Watkin was probing for the home side.
Both sides would have to contend with early disruption in the back-row, to boot; Jack Dempsey would last just 12 minutes before departing with an injury, whilst a head injury to Ethan Roots brought about a lengthy stoppage.
The first real opportunity came on 24 minutes, and would go the way of the Ospreys. A steal inside his own 22 saw Rhys Webb feed Max Nagy, who broke clear of the Glasgow defence before kicking ahead. A scramble in the shadow of the Glasgow uprights would see Webb knock on with the line at his mercy, with Keelan Giles’ subsequent grounding ruled immaterial by the TMO.
Giles was not to be denied for long though, crossing for the opening score of the match just five minutes later. Whilst strong lineout defence from the Warriors would deny their hosts on one touchline, the Ospreys winger would have just enough space to ride the tackle of Sebastian Cancelliere to touch down in the opposite corner. Gareth Anscombe converted impressively from the touchline, giving his team a 7-0 lead on the half-hour mark.
Searching for a foothold in the match, the Warriors responded in style. A turnover saw Tuipulotu feed Cole Forbes, who turned on the afterburners to race clear. The full-back’s inside ball saw Ali Price feed Sam Johnson for the run-in, only for the officials to disallow the try after spotting a knock-on at the breakdown.
To add insult to injury, Anscombe would extend the home side’s lead from the resulting scrum, knocking over a penalty for a 10-0 lead with 90 seconds to play in the half.
Yet the final word of the opening 40 minutes would belong to the Warriors, as Tom Jordan’s first points in a Glasgow jersey came from a penalty 25 metres out to leave the half-time score at 10-3 to the hosts.
The early enterprise after the restart came from the Warriors, and in particular from Forbes; the full-back’s break took him to within five metres, only for Thomas Gordon to be held up within arm’s length of the try-line.
Instead, the first score of the second stanza would come from the Ospreys. A turnover on halfway would allow Rhys Webb to kick long, with Giles winning the ensuing race with Johnson to collect and touch down. Jack Walsh – on for Anscombe – would convert after a review from the TMO, before adding a penalty to give the Ospreys a 20-3 lead on the hour mark.
Back came the Warriors once more, with successive penalties kicked to the corner. Only a cynical intervention from Dan Lydiate could prevent Price from crossing the whitewash, the Ospreys flanker seeing a yellow card as a result.
The home side would ride out the sin-bin period unscathed, however, and would score their third try of the match just as Lydiate returned to the field. The bounce of the ball favoured Michael Collins as the Ospreys centre chipped ahead, with Walsh in support sending George North over for the score. The conversion would drift wide, but the Ospreys were in full control.
A fourth try – and a bonus-point – was to follow with four minutes remaining on the clock, and once more the bounce of the ball would fall the way of the hosts. Scott Cummings’ lineout steal on his own five-metre line would only allow the Ospreys to win a five-metre scrum by holding up the ball, from which Reuben Morgan-Williams would dive over for the try. Walsh converted, giving his side a 32-3 lead.
The Warriors were in no mood to go down quietly, though, with their perseverance eventually rewarded with a minute remaining. Oli Kebble would be the man to find the breakthrough, the loose-head barging over from close range after George Turner was dragged down just short. Domingo Miotti’s drop-kicked conversion was successful, meaning the game would restart.
Indeed, Glasgow would have the final word, playing their way from their own five-metre line to earn successive penalties. The second of these was hammered into touch by Miotti, and from the lineout the Warriors would strike. A clever lineout play saw Turner and Kebble combine to take play to within a metre, before Thomas Gordon found just enough space to squeeze over in the corner. Miotti converted superbly from the touchline, leaving the final score at 32-17 to the home side.
A disappointing defeat, but one on which the Warriors won’t have time to dwell – a visit from the Vodacom Bulls awaits next Saturday night at Scotstoun.