Evens runs riot at Liberty Stadium
PRO14 REPORT: An incredible four-try showing from fullback Dan Evans led Ospreys to a comeback triumph and denied Dragons a first away win in four years.
March 2015 was the last time Dragons won on the road in the competition but looked in position to break that streak as interception scores from Rhodri Williams and Hallam Amos had them 17-10 to the good at the break.
But Evans ran in three tries in the second half, to add to the one he crossed for in the first 40 minutes, to hand Ospreys a hard-fought victory that ends a run of six straight defeats in all competitions.
The hosts have not lost to a fellow Welsh region at the Liberty Stadium since October 2017 but Dragons’ hunt for a first Guinness PRO14 victory of 2019 goes on.
Ospreys got off to a flying start as Bradley Davies broke and offloaded for Justin Tipuric to run in under the posts, only for the try to be disallowed for a forward pass.
Dragons’ reprieve didn’t last long though as just two minutes later, quick hands from Cory Allen to Evans enabled the full-back to dive over and Luke Price’s conversion made it 7-0.
But then the Dragons fought back in style. Firstly, Williams intercepted a long, raking pass from his opposite number Aled Davies deep inside his own 22 and had just enough gas to go the length of the field and touch down.
After Price put a kickable penalty wide, Jason Tovey showed him how it was done by slotting a three-pointer and became the first Dragons player to reach the 1000-point milestone before they moved 17-7 ahead on 32 minutes.
It was another interception, as Welsh winger Amos picked off Owen Watkin’s flick inside to speed over down the left and although Price narrowed the gap to 17-10 at half-time, the visitors still looked well-placed to record a first away Guinness PRO14 victory since winning in Treviso back in March 2015.
But Ospreys turned things around after the break with Evans running riot and showing his incredible finishing ability.
First he took advantage of an overlap to scoot over in the corner on 42 minutes and although Tovey then slotted another penalty, Evans completed his hat-trick by crashing on to a pop pass from Price – slicing through the Dragons defence and dotting down.
Price’s conversion made it 22-20 and Evans soon claimed his fourth try, moving the lead beyond one score, as Allen’s pass was almost intercepted but instead the full-back gathered and showed his power to stretch out for the score.
And despite their best efforts, Dragons were unable to close the 29-20 deficit as they left the Liberty Stadium without so much as a losing bonus point.
Tries: Evans 4
Cons: Price 2, Davies
For the Dragons:
Tries: Williams, Amos
Cons: Tovey 2
Pens: Tovey 2
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Luke Price, 9 Aled Davies, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Bradley Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Jordan Lay, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Sam Cross, 21 Matthew Aubrey, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Luke Morgan.
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jarryd Sage, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Rhodri Williams, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Aaron Wainwright, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Max Williams, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Richard Hibbard (captain), 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Josh Reynolds, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Joe Davies, 20 Lennon Greggains, 21 Tavis Knoyle, 22 Josh Lewis, 23 Adam Warren.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Ian Davies (Wales), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Olly Hodges (Ireland)
✅ Four tries
✅ Bragging rights over your rivals
✅ #GUINNESSPRO14 Man of the Match
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) March 23, 2019