Ospreys 33 Edinburgh 16
The Ospreys move up to fourth in the Magners League table after victory at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday night.
Dan Biggar was once again influential with the boot, kicking 23 points, while Justin Tipuric and Richard Fussell both crossed for tries on a cold night.
With Lee Byrne not being risked after picking up a thumb injury against the All Blacks last Saturday there was a change to the starting XV named by the Ospreys yesterday with Barry Davies taking his place.
There was an early exchange of penalties, Biggar giving the Ospreys the lead in the third minute before Chris Paterson replied 90 seconds later, players from both sides guilty of going off their feet at the ruck.
Two quickfire penalties from Biggar, one on the right and one on the left, then saw the Ospreys put some early daylight between themselves and the opposition, the second coming after some positive running from Ian Evans and Richard Hibbard, the hooker showing some impressive skills in the offload.
Biggar was in fine form with the boot and with just a quarter of an hour gone he slotted over his fourth penalty, a long range effort from halfway after Netani Talei was guilty of not releasing the ball in the tackle.
Referee James Jones was forced to give a stern warning to Edinburgh captain Roddy Grant after another penalty went the Ospreys way, this time against Kyle Traynor, and again, Biggar made no mistake, taking the score to 15-3.
Despite the warning there was another penalty to the Ospreys just minutes later but the yellow card stayed in Mr Jones’ pocket. This time Biggar opted to kick to the corner only to slice the ball badly into the deadball area, allowing Edinburgh to clear.
There was plenty to cheer shortly after though when the Ospreys crafted a lovely try through young flanker Justin Tipuric, his first in the Magners League. The ball was worked wide from a ruck by Jamie Nutbrown to Duncan Jones, who helped it along to Tipuric with quick hands. The 21-year old was left with a lot of work to do but he showed good skill and awareness to chip over Chris Paterson before racing clear to collect, sidestepping the final defender and carrying the ball closer to the posts before grounding, allowing Biggar a simple conversion.
Edinburgh then scored their second penalty of the night, David Blair successful from just inside his own half, making it 22-6.
As half time approached, a big hit by Jim Thompson on Fussell near halfway knocked the Ospreys backwards and although Hibbard did some good tidying up work, Duncan Jones was penalised for going off his feet, allowing Blair to reduce the deficit further.
Biggar then had to be alert to deal with a little chip from the back of the ruck by Mike Blair, the fly-half coming across to clear at the expense of a lineout, and solid Ospreys defence from the resulting lineout saw Edinburgh coughing up possession, allowing the Ospreys to go in at the break with their line unbreached.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 22 EDINBURGH 9
As the Ospreys enjoyed the better of the opening stages of the second period, the referee had to speak to Roddy Grant once again about his team’s discipline, awarding another penalty against Talei, but again, his yellow card stayed in his pocket. However, having kicked six from six in the first 40 Biggar just missed the target on this occasion.
With 51 minutes gone it was the Ospreys who were reduced to 14 men when Ryan Jones saw yellow for a dangerous tackle on Mike Blair, the number eight going in with his shoulder and in the words of James Jones making ‘no attempt to tackle’.
The game was becoming increasingly scrappy with both teams guilty of turning over possession unnecessarily, and it took another penalty from Biggar to settle things down a bit, after yet another warning for the visitors from Mr Jones.
James Hook, on for Ashley Beck, then found himself a bit of room, breaking the line and chipping ahead, and although Edinburgh had cover in their 22, Hook’s chase was good and he was able to haul Tim Visser into touch. From the resulting lineout the Ospreys looked to work it left, back to the right, and then across field to the left again, but they were unable to force their way through.
Back up to 15 with Jonathan Thomas on for Ryan Jones, the Ospreys extended their lead with 64 minutes gone, Biggar showing good composure to to slot over a drop goal from close to the 10m line.
After issuing several warnings to Edinburgh, the referee finally saw fit to issue a yellow to Alex Grove after he encroached offside.
As they looked to take advantage of the extra man the Ospreys were guilty of ignoring the overlap on more than one occasion, opting to take it into contact or kicking the ball away when the chance was on to spread it wide.
A quick tap penalty from Mike Phillips led to Jonathan Thomas driving over from close range, but the TMO ruled that he had been held up and awarded an attacking scrum five.
With the Ospreys scrum dominant, it was no surprise to see Edinburgh bring the setpiece down and it was another quickly taken tap penalty from Phillips that allowed Barry Davies to help the ball onto Fussell out wide who went over for his sixth try of the season, Biggar missing the conversion attempt from close to the touchline.
The game was won, but there was still time for a late Edinburgh rally, working their way upfield before Jim Thompson’s deft handwork created a gap for fellow wing Tim Visser who went over under the posts, Blair converting.
The final exchanges were played with the Ospreys once again a man down after Ian Gough was sin-binned for a wild arm off the ball, but they were able to close out the remaining minutes without any concerns to make it four wins on the bounce.