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Ospreys still in the mix after victory over Dragons

URC REPORT: Ospreys kept alive their United Rugby Championship play-off hopes by beating the Dragons 26-13 in bonus-point fashion.

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They will need another five-pointer in their final regular season game against Cardiff on June 1 to have any chance of a top-eight finish.

But Ospreys ensured they remained in the mix after capitalising on weak Dragons discipline which saw Aaron Wainwright and Dane Blacker both yellow-carded.

Hooker Dewi Lake led the way with two of Ospreys’ four tries at Swansea Stadium while scrumhalf Reuben Morgan-Williams and centre Keiran Williams also crossed.

Flyhalf Dan Edwards kicked three conversions, with Will Reed scoring all the Dragons’ points through a try, conversion and two penalties.

Reed kicked the Dragons into a fifth-minute lead and doubled his team’s advantage 12 minutes later through a second penalty after Ospreys infringed at a scrum.

It was a solid opening quarter from the visitors against opponents 24 points and four places above them before kick-off but they then saw Wales No.8 Wainwright yellow-carded for a technical offence.

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Ospreys initially struggled to make their temporary one-man advantage count despite pitching camp deep inside the Dragons’ 22.

The Dragons defended impressively but they could not stop Lake crashing over from close range for a try that Edwards converted and then a second yellow card cost them dear.

Blacker was banished after attempting to knock the ball out of Ospreys captain Justin Tipuric’s hands from an offside position and Morgan-Williams made them pay.

Tipuric won quality lineout possession, then number eight Morgan Morris surged clear before his superb inside pass sent Morgan-Williams over and Edwards’ conversion opened up a 14-6 interval lead.

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Wainwright returned for the start of the second half but Ospreys were on a roll and Lake claimed their third try with Blacker still off as the Dragons were ruthlessly punished for their poor discipline.

Eventually restored to a full complement of players, the Dragons gave themselves a lifeline when Reed pounced for a try that he also converted.

But Ospreys were soon back in charge through Williams’ try with 20 minutes left that secured a bonus point and maintained their play-off ambitions.

Man of the match: Ospreys No.8 Morgan Morris continued his barnstorming form that has perhaps put him in contention for Wales’ tour to Australia. He was a talisman in attack and defence, underpinning a relentless workrate as his team collected the five points they required to keep alive play-off hopes.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Tries: Lake 2, Morgan-Williams, Williams
Cons: Edwards 3

For Dragons:
Try: Reed
Con: Reed
Pen: Reed

Yellow cards: Aaron Wainwright (Dragons, 30′- technical offence); Dane Blacker (Dragons, 40′ – cynical play)

Teams:

Ospreys: 15 Jack Walsh, 14 Luke Morgan, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Dan Edwards, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Jac Morgan, 5 Huw Sutton, 4 James Ratti, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Rhys Henry, 19 Victor Sekekete, 20 Harri Deaves, 21 Luke Davies, 22 Max Nagy, 23 Tom Florence.

Dragons: 15 Ewan Rosser, 14 Rio Dyer, 13 Steff Hughes (captain), 12 Aneurin Owen, 11 Chris Hollis, 10 Will Reed, 9 Dane Blacker, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Harri Keddie, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Ben Carter, 3 Chris Coleman, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Brodie Coghlan, 17 Rodrigo Martinez, 18 Dmitri Arhip, 19 Sean Lonsdale, 20 Ryan Woodman, 21 Morgan Lloyd, 22 Joe Westwood, 23 Sio Tomkinson.

Referee: Ben Breakspear (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ben Connor (Wales) and Jason Bessant (Wales)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)

Photo credit: @dragonsrugby

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