Ospreys edge Dragons in cagey Welsh derby
PRO14 REPORT: Ospreys edged a cagey Welsh derby with Dragons 28-20 to earn their first win at Rodney Parade in four visits and remain unbeaten in 2021.
Stephen Myler’s penalty saw Ospreys strike first in freezing conditions, and after Josh Lewis had equalised and Jared Rosser had crashed over for Dragons, a Mat Protheroe score and a further Myler kick gave the visitors the lead at the break.
Lewis levelled the scores with his second penalty before George North and Jamie Roberts exchanged tries, and substitute Scott Otten saw Ospreys over the line by going over close to the death.
Victory for Ospreys means they have been defeated in just one of their last six first-team fixtures, while Dragons have now lost three Guinness PRO14 matches in succession for the first time since November 2019.
Ospreys started brightly with Ifan Phillips and Sam Cross central to ventures into the home 22 within the first five minutes, and after Luke Morgan had again gained ground it was the visitors who indeed opened the scoring through Myler’s boot.
Going behind seemed to somewhat thrust Dragons into life, though, and after Roberts had driven his team into opposition territory play was brought back allowing Lewis to level terms in the 14th minute.
Despite showing good intent to play from within their own half Ospreys’ own mistakes continued to gift Dragons chances, and after Morgan was shown a yellow card the hosts quickly made their numerical advantage count with Rosser diving over in the corner.
But Toby Booth’s men responded quickly, Protheroe dotting down following a line-out in the corner before Myler added a second penalty two minutes before the break, giving Ospreys a slender 13-10 half-time lead.
Dragons started the second period on the front foot, but were ultimately unable to capitalize on a sustained period of pressure with Ospreys winning a crucial turnover close to their own try-line in the 48th minute.
Having weathered that storm, more scrambling defence was required from Ospreys as Brok Harris and Rhodri Williams drove Dragons forward once again, but full-back Owen Jenkins was unable to finish off the stirring move.
Lewis did bring Dragons level from the tee with the second half’s first points in the 61st minute, but Ospreys responded immediately with the best move of the match, North finishing off after a bursting run from Owen Watkin.
The home side weren’t ready to lie down though, and Wales legend Roberts bulldozed over from close range to claim his fourth try of the season, while Lewis’ conversion made it all square with little over ten minutes to play.
Myler soon nudged Ospreys back in front with his boot, and replacement hooker Otten added gloss to the scoreline by crashing over in the corner late on.
Tries: Rosser, Roberts
Cons: Lewis 2
Penalties: Lewis 2
Tries: Protheroe, North, Otten
Cons: Myler 2
Penalties: Myler 3
Yellow Card: Josh Lewis 83′
Dragons: 15 Owen Jenkins, 14 Jared Rosser, 13 Nick Tompkins, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Josh Lewis, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Aaron Wainwright, 7 Harrison Keddie (captain), 6 Huw Taylor, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Leon Brown, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Brok Harris.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Aaron Jarvis, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Ben Carter, 20 Lewis Evans, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Arwel Robson, 23 Jack Dixon.
Ospreys: 15 Mat Protheroe, 14 George North, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Stephen Myler (captain), 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Sam Cross, 6 Will Griffiths, 5 Rhys Davies, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Ma’afu Fia, 2 Ifan Phillips, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Joe Hawkins, 23 Keelan Giles.
Referee: Dan Jones (WRU)
Assistant Referees: Adam Jones, Gareth John (both WRU)
TMO: Ian Davies (WRU)
Source: Pro14 Rugby