Glasgow Warriors 35 Ospreys 17
The Ospreys suffered a blow in their pursuit of a play-off place as Glasgow secured a bonus point win that booked their place in the top four, leaving Steve Tandy's men looking nervously over their shoulders with the end of the season approaching.
A second half comeback inspired by tries from replacements Cai Griffiths and Sam Lewis, first ever touchdowns for the pair of them, wasn’t enough for the Ospreys to secure an all-important victory.
Sean Maitland touching down in between Ryan Grant’s brace of tries ensured Glasgow were in control of the match with a 22-3 interval lead and despite the second half rally from the Ospreys Glasgow secured the win with a bonus point as Niko Matawalu and DTH van der Merwe grabbed five pointers of their own.
There was a late change prior to kick off, with Ross Jones coming in for Tom Habberfield on the wing.
Glasgow’s Duncan Weir failed to give his side an early lead with the boot but Dan Biggar made no mistake when his turn came around on 8 minutes after a powerful Ospreys scrum, putting his team into the lead.
Weir missed another penalty but the home team showed their attacking intent with Alex Dunbar breaking through the Ospreys defence before offloading to John Barclay who looked sure to score. Justin Tipuric managed to get underneath his rival openside as the TMO ruled out the try.
Glasgow were persistent and looked threatening around the fringes. They continued through the phases before Ryan proved too powerful for Tom Isaacs as he crashed over to score. Weir settled his nerves with the conversion.
The Ospreys troubles worsened as the robust Richard Hibbard left the pitch after quarter of an hour, nursing a knee injury, replaced by Scott Baldwin.
Some great vision from Glasgow scrum-half, Matawalu saw him kick the ball into space for Maitland. There was a foot race with Richard Fussell but Maitland got there first to inflict further damage on the Ospreys as the TMO this time awarded the team their second try. Weir failed to convert from out wide.
The Ospreys started to put some width on the ball and a sublime step by Tipuric put the visitors on the front foot. Glasgow’s defence was like a brick wall but the Ospreys remained patient as they continued to retain possession. Both teams refused to budge but it was the home team who won that tussle as they were awarded a penalty to the delight of the home crowd.
Weir had a chance to add to Glasgow’s lead after Adam Jones was penalised at the scrum for turning in but the Ospreys were let off the hook again. It didn’t matter as, soon after, a cheeky snipe from Matawalu combined with some great interchanging between Graeme Morrison and Moray Low sent Grant over for his second of the match. This time Weir was successful from the tee to extend the home team’s lead to 17 points.
Looking to get back into the match, the Ospreys went on the hunt for a try before the half-time whistle but were again left frustrated by the Glasgow defence. A miscued attacking lineout put Joe Bearman under pressure and Barclay earned his team a turnover in the maul.
Glasgow had the opportunity to extend their lead as the clock went into the red, after Ospreys were penalised for pulling down in the lineout. Weir turned away immediately after striking the ball, which split the posts for the three points.
HALF TIME: GLASGOW 22-3 OSPREYS
The second half started in bizarre fashion with Alain Rolland losing patience at the scrum, sending both the Ospreys Adam Jones and Glasgow’s Ryan Grant into the sin bin after several first half warnings for both front rows.
The half-time break seemed to do the Ospreys some good as they came out with their tails up. After some strong carrying from the likes of Baldwin and captain Alun Wyn Jones, Cai Griffiths, on as a yellow card front row replacement, touched down for his first ever Ospreys try in his 123rd appearance for the region. Biggar added an easy two pointer.
It was the Ospreys with all the momentum now as Ross Jones initiated another attack out wide with Isaacs gaining yards after a loose Glasgow clearance. Tipuric again showed magical footwork but the promising spell was thwarted as the ball was eventually spilt forward.
Ill-discipline from the Ospreys swung the pendulum back in Glasgow’s favour. Another infringement at a maul saw livewire scrum-half, Matawalu take a quick tap, catching the defence napping before dotting down in the corner for his team’s bonus-point try. Weir missed the conversion.
Not backing down without a fight, the Ospreys looked to hit back as Isaacs trundled down the wing. Glasgow were the infringers this time but the visitors failed to capitalise from another prominent lineout position as Baldwin overthrew his jumper.
After a long delay in the game due to an unfortunate injury to Weir that saw the little number 10 stretchered off, Biggar switched the ball with Fotuali’I, now playing on the wing, who threw an audacious offload which found only grass. The Ospreys had a touch of luck as the ball bounced up kindly to replacement flanker Sam Lewis who cut through the defence untouched to score beneath the posts. Biggar converted to reduce the deficit to 10.
It seemed like déjà vu as another Ospreys overthrow put them under unnecessary pressure again. Glasgow were in control in their opponents 22 but Duncan Jones came away with possession before Biggar cleared his lines. A penalty put the Ospreys in another promising position but again, they could not secure the ball from the throw.
Matawalu continued to look dangerous around the fringes as he slipped through a tackle in midfield. Peter Horne took advantage of some more Ospreys ill-discipline to slot his first penalty of the match. It wasn’t long after that Glasgow broke through the defence again. Horne had another chance at three but couldn’t extend his team’s lead.
Glasgow refused to take their foot off the gas with Josh Strauss shrugging off a couple of tackles before Morrison looked destined to score. Matthew Morgan, slotting in at fullback, managed to strip the big centre of the ball before attempting one of his mazey runs from deep but to no avail.
The game was lost for the Ospreys by now but they were still hunting for a losing bonus point. A quick penalty by Rhys Webb from a scrum in the Ospreys 22 sent Richard Fussell hurtling down the wing. He couldn’t hold on to the ball and Glasgow looked to counter. A Peter Horne chip fell kindly to DTH van der Merwe who picked up Glasgow’s fifth and final try.