Dragons finally slay Ospreys
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Dragons earned a tense 23-22 win over Ospreys, snapping a streak of over four years without a win against their Welsh provincial rivals.
A stunning try from Jared Rosser and Elliot Dee’s second-half score sent the hosts surging ahead but Justin Tipuric’s try set up a grandstand finish.
With just one point in it and one minute on the clock, Sam Davies had the opportunity to break Dragons’ hearts from the tee but sent his kick wide to get Rodney Parade rocking.
Josh Lewis booted over the first penalty attempt from more than 50 metres to give Dragons some early momentum.
The home side rode out early Ospreys pressure and were 6-0 up with 20 minutes on the clock after Lewis knocked over his second penalty of the match.
Moments later Davies made it 6-3 with his first penalty of the match.
Ospreys came closest to the first try of the match when Justin Tipuric put Olly Cracknell through the Dragons defence only for Hallam Amos to intercept before the ball could be recycled wide.
And Dragons made them pay as Rhodri Williams’ clearance kick bounced beautifully to bamboozle Dan Evans and Luke Morgan, landing perfectly in the hands of Jared Rosser who flicked the switch and sprinted 60 metres to the tryline.
Lewis’ conversion followed by another Davies penalty meant Dragons went in at the half-time whistle leading 13-6.
Davies kicked an early second-half penalty to narrow the gap but worse news for Dragons was to see the injury-troubled Hallam Amos forced to leave the pitch for a head injury assessment.
But ten minutes into the second-half Dragons scored their second try when Elliot Dee put the finishing touches to a good work from a lineout, Josh Lewis converting to take Dragons into a 20-9 lead.
Dragons were punished by the boot of Davies once again after Brandon Nansen put a shoulder into the chest of Gareth Thomas, the gap narrowed once more to 20-12.
And it grew even tighter after Ospreys went over the whitewash, flankers Cracknell and Tipuric combining once again but this time Cracknell did brilliantly and offloaded to his captain to dive over from 15 metres.
Davies converted to bring the gap back to a point and a further penalty exchange teed up a nail biting finish with Dragons leading by just one point at 23-22.
With a minute left on the clock Davies had a penalty opportunity to overhaul the Dragons lead and steal the victory but having kicked his previous six, he missed the match-clinching penalty.
This left Dragons to celebrate their first win over Ospreys since Boxing Day 2014.
Tries: Rosser, Dee
Cons: Lewis 2
Pens: Lewis 2, Tovey
Pens: Davies 5
Dragons: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Jarryd Sage, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Harrison Keddie, 7 Aaron Wainwright, 6 Cory Hill (captain), 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Brandon Nansen, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Gerard Ellis, 18 Dan Suter, 19 Lewis Evans, 20 James Benjamin, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Jordan Williams.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 George North, 13 Scott Williams, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Aled Davies, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Rhodri Jones/Rowan Jenkins, 18 Alex Jeffries, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Luke Price/James Hook, 23 Cory Allen.
Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse (Wales), Wayne Davies (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)