Morris hat-trick sets up Ospreys win
MATCH REPORT: Morgan Morris scored a hat-trick of tries as Ospreys collected a bonus-point 50-31 victory over Dragons to maintain the pressure on Scarlets as both vie to be this season’s leading Welsh club and qualify for the European Champions Cup.
Ospreys’ five points saw them draw level with Scarlets, with both now on 44 and each having a home game in their final fixture in a fortnight’s time.
The result did not look likely when spirited Dragons led 24-8 midway through the first half, but the hosts’ pack took control to be convincing winners in an entertaining game.
Reuben Morgan-Williams scored two of Ospreys’ seven tries with Nicky Smith and Sam Parry also on the try-scoring sheet. Gareth Anscombe added six conversions and a penalty.
Jared Rosser, Adam Warren, Lewis Jones and Mesake Doge scored Dragons’ tries with Will Reed kicking three conversions and a penalty. Sam Davies added a conversion.
An Anscombe penalty gave Ospreys a second-minute lead before the visitors responded with the first try.
From a line-out in the home 22, swift passing from Dragons’ three-quarters resulted in Rosser dashing over.
Minutes later, the Ospreys were stunned when their opponents scored a second. A well-judged kick ahead from Reed was collected by Rosser, whose inside pass gave Warren an easy run-in.
Ospreys needed a quick response and it came when prop Smith forced his way over from close range but Dragons continued their impressive first quarter and were rewarded with a penalty from Reed and a converted try from Doge.
The hosts suffered a further blow when skipper Rhys Webb was forced off with an injury to be replaced by Morgan-Williams.
However, they soon overcame this setback to score two tries in quick succession. First Morris finished off a line-out drive before a break from Michael Collins put Morgan-Williams in under the posts.
Anscombe converted both before Dragons lost flanker Taine Basham to a yellow card for an attempted trip.
The home side immediately capitalised with a second try from Morris to give them a bonus point and a 29-24 interval lead.
Basham returned with no further damage to the scoreboard but Morris completed his hat-trick, with the number eight having run less than 10 metres in order to do so.
Morris was then substituted with Morgan-Williams and Parry scoring tries to emphasise Ospreys’ second-half superiority before a late try from Jones stopped Dragons from finishing the second half scoreless.
For the Ospreys
Tries: Smith, Morris 3, Morgan-Williams 2, Parry
Cons: Anscombe 6
For the Dragons
Tries: Rosser, Warren, Doge, Jones
Cons: Reed 3, Davies
Ospreys: 15 Michael Collins, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Rhys Webb (captain), 8 Morgan Morris, 7 Jac Morgan, 6 Will Griffiths, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Dewi Lake, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Tom Botha, 19 Bradley Davies, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Reuben Morgan Williams, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Luke Morgan.
Dragons: 15 Jordan Williams, 14 Rio Dyer, 13 Adam Warren, 12 Josh Lewis, 11 Jared Rosser, 10 Will Reed, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Ollie Griffiths, 7 Taine Basham, 6 Harri Keddie (captain), 5 Ben Carter, 4 Joe Davies, 3 Chris Coleman, 2 Taylor Davies, 1 Aki Seiuli.
Replacements: 16 James Benjamin, 17 Josh Reynolds, 18 Mesake Doge, 19 Huw Taylor, 20 Ben Fry, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jonah Holmes.
Referee: Adam Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Gareth Newman (Wales), Jason Bessant (Wales)
TMO: Sean Brickell (Wales)
Source: PA & RugbyPass