Ospreys bounce back with win over Cardiff
MATCH REPORT: First-half tries from Scott Williams and George North handed the Ospreys a 20-11 victory over Cardiff Blues in the PRO14 at the Liberty Stadium.
Allan Clarke’s side bounced back from their disappointing defeat to Dragons last weekend with a controlling performance against their Conference A rivals as they triumphed 20-11.
Williams and North both crossed either side of a Garyn Smith try for the Blues to give Ospreys a 14-8 lead at the break, before Sam Davies added a penalty and drop goal to secure the win.
There was a long delay to play after the opening couple of minutes when Ospreys lock Adam Beard appeared to suffer a neck injury following an awkward collision in the ruck.
Play was stopped for almost ten minutes as Beard was stretchered off the field, but the hosts did not let the setback get to them and they soon took the lead when the game got back underway.
Strong carries from Williams and Davies saw Ospreys enter the Blues’ 22 before Williams received the ball back and shrugged off Josh Navidi to crash over, with Davies adding the extras.
The visitors hit back immediately, though, with Gareth Anscombe finding Smith with a perfectly weighted cross-field kick before the 23-year-old centre finished the move off.
Despite being pegged back, Ospreys remained in control up front and after forcing a penalty and kicking to the corner Williams came close to adding his second score of the game.
Ospreys did eventually extend their lead on 20 minutes, with Davies finding North with another well-judged kick on the far side before the big winger dotted down, with the conversion also added.
Cardiff managed to gain some territory just before the break and made it count when Williams was penalised for a high tackle, allowing Anscombe to cut the deficit to 14-8 at half-time.
But the hosts continued to control the ball after the interval and restored their nine-point advantage with a Davies penalty, before Anscombe responded with three points of his own on the hour.
Further Ospreys attacks came up just short as Blues managed to keep in touch until Davies nailed a long-range drop goal to seal victory with just a minute left on the clock.
The victory sees Ospreys open up a five-point lead in Conference A over Cardiff, who suffered their first Welsh derby defeat of the festive period after back-to-back wins over Dragons and Scarlets.
Tries: Williams, North
Cons: Davies 2
Drop Goal: Davies
For Cardiff Blues
Pens: Anscombe 2
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 George North, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Sam Cross, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Rhodri Jones.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Alex Jeffries, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 James King, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Luke Price, 23 Owen Watkin.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Garyn Smith, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Josh Turnbull, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Kristian Dacey (captain), 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 George Earle, 20 Rory Thornton, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Owen Lane.
Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
Assistant referees: Elgan Williams (Wales), Dewi Phillips (Wales)
TMO: Ian Davies (Wales)
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