Ospreys hand shock defeat to Edinburgh
MATCH REPORT: A brace of tries from Ospreys new signing Mat Protheroe ensured Toby Booth’s first full season in charge got off to the perfect start with a 25-10 win over 2019/20 semi-finalists Edinburgh.
The Scotsmen went in front through a penalty try when Justin Tipuric was sin-binned for deliberate intervention, but Protheroe’s eye-catching first score opened up Ospreys’ lead after Nicky Smith had earlier bulldozed over.
And Ospreys retained control of the match after the interval, Protheroe dotting down once again as Edinburgh had no answer on their way to defeat in the final Round 1 match of the weekend.
The result at BT Murrayfield marks only Ospreys’ second victory since October 2019, while Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh have now lost four successive matches in all competitions for the first time since April 2017.
Ospreys enjoyed plenty of possession in the game’s opening minutes, but both teams struggled to get out of their own half and looked to force the mistake from their opponents in challenging conditions.
But it was Edinburgh who made the first real charge towards the try-line, Jamie Farndale squeezing through a gap and showing a great turn of pace to make ground before offloading to Chris Dean.
Dean’s pass back towards Mark Bennett was deliberately intercepted by away skipper Tipuric who was subsequently sent to the sin bin, and there was worse news to come for the Welshmen as referee Andrew Brace awarded the penalty try in the 13th minute.
There was more drama just moments later when Grant Gilchrist was shown Edinburgh’s first yellow card of the season for dangerous play, and with the numbers evened up Ospreys piled on the pressure in the corner.
The away forwards continued to persevere and Smith eventually bundled over under the sticks in the 17th minute, and Stephen Myler made no mistake with the conversion to make it 7-7 shortly before the halfway point in the half.
Myler knocked over a long-range penalty conceded by Simon Berghan to give Ospreys the lead for the first time 14 minutes before half-time, but Jaco van der Walt missed his chance to put Edinburgh back on terms soon after.
Just after the half-hour mark, Protheroe opened his Ospreys account after brilliant work from Rhys Webb and Kieran Williams, and Myler added the extras and a penalty soon after to stretch the Swansea-based side’s lead to 13 points.
Home flyhalf van der Walt had the last say of the half with his first points of the day, but last season’s Conference B table-toppers went into the break 20-10 down, and with work to do.
But it was Ospreys who emerged from the interval on top, forcing numerous errors from the Scottish side and eventually extending their lead through Protheroe’s second score of the game after great vision from Webb.
And Edinburgh were pinned in their own half for much of the closing 40 minutes, rarely threatening Ospreys as they fell to defeat against Welsh opponents for the first time in seven games.
Pen: Van der Walt
Tries: Smith, Protheroe 2
Cons: Myler 2
Pens: Myler 2
Edinburgh: 15 Damien Hoyland, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Mark Bennett, 12 Chris Dean, 11 Jamie Farndale, 10 Jaco van der Walt, 9 Charlie Shiel, 8 Nick Haining, 7 Luke Crosbie, 6 Magnus Bradbury, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 4 Ben Toolis, 3 Simon Berghan, 2 Stuart McInally (captain) 1 Pierre Schoeman.
Replacements: 16 David Cherry, 17 Jamie Bhatti, 18 WP Nel, 19 Andrew Davidson, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Dan Nutton, 22 Nathan Chamberlain, 23 George Taylor.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Keiran Williams, 11 Luke Morgan, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Justin Tipuric (captain), 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Dewi Lake, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Josh Thomas, 23 Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler.
Referee: Andrew Brace
Assistant referees: Ben Blain, Keith Allen
TMO: Andy McMenemy