Ospreys see off Cardiff Blues
PRO14 REPORT: Cardiff Blues’ first visit to the Cardiff City Stadium since April 2012 ended in defeat, as Ospreys emerged 17-3 victors after a hard-fought New Year’s Day battle in the Welsh capital.
John Mulvihill’s men took the lead through Jason Tovey’s boot midway through the first half, but Ifan Phillips went over to give Ospreys the advantage at the break.
A penalty try put Ospreys further in the ascendency and the away side were somewhat unfortunate not to add further gloss to the scoreline having dominated much of the second period.
Victory for Ospreys represents the perfect response to their narrow Round 9 defeat at home to Scarlets, while Cardiff have now won just twice in the last eight rounds of the Guinness PRO14.
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams, with fly-half Stephen Myler capitalising on early Cardiff ill-discipline by earning good territory for Ospreys and igniting a period of sustained pressure.
Despite being pinned towards their own try-line in the opening five minutes, the hosts gradually gained a foothold in the contest and good work from Aled Summerhill, Tomos Williams and Rhys Carré saw Blues make a determined venture into the away 22 shortly before the 20-minute mark.
Having gradually asserted their authority, Cardiff notched the first points of the evening with Tovey making no mistake from the tee after a cagey opening quarter of the match.
But Ospreys were next to strike after a lineout in the corner, hooker Phillips bulldozing over for the first game’s first try to put the Swansea-based outfit in front seven minutes before the break.
Dan Lydiate was shown a yellow card on the stroke of half-time for leading with his forearm, but Ospreys held firm under pressure from Cardiff to take a slender 7-3 lead into the interval.
Ospreys missed the chance to go further in front as Myler’s long-range penalty attempt missed the target on 46 minutes, but as Lydiate returned to the field Cardiff found themselves a man down with Seb Davies being sent to the bin.
With the numerical advantage Toby Booth’s men went close to a second try as George North looked to breach the home backline, but after play was brought back Myler duly added to his team’s tally with his second penalty in the 56th minute.
After stretching their lead Ospreys continued to grow in confidence, and they were awarded a penalty try on the hour mark after an infringement by Dmitri Arhip, with the Moldovan also shown a yellow card.
Justin Tipuric was denied a try in the corner by a last-ditch Josh Adams tackle, but a yellow card for Scott Andrews meant Cardiff remained a man down until close to the final whistle as Ospreys stood firm for the win.
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries: Philips, Penalty Try
Cardiff Blues: 15 Hallam Amos, 14 Josh Adams, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Garyn Smith, 11 Aled Summerhill, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull, 7 James Botham, 6 Shane Lewis-Hughes, 5 Rory Thornton, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rhys Carré.
Replacements: 16 Liam Belcher, 17 Corey Domachowski, 18 Keiron Assiratti, 19 James Ratti, 20 Alun Lawrence, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Luke Scully, 23 Willis Halaholo.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 George North, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Sam Cross, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Rhys Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Ifan Phillips, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Nicky Smith, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Will Griffiths, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Tiaan Thomas Wheeler, 23 Mat Protheroe.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Craig Evans, Dan Jones (both WRU)
TMO: Rhys Thomas (WRU)