Ospreys 75 Benetton Treviso 7
The Ospreys enjoyed a record-breaking 80 minutes at the Liberty Stadium as they romped to the biggest win in their history to send their fans home happy on Sunday evening.
The 75-7 success smashed their previous Celtic League best, a 60-7 success over Borders 10 years ago, and overhauled their previous record win, a 68-8 result against Treviso at the Liberty in the Heineken Cup in 2008/09.
The 11 tries they ran in also set a new all-time best, beating the 10 scored in each of those two games.
Sam Davies grabbed his first two tries in senior rugby, as part a personal 22 point haul, while skipper Jonathan Spratt also touched down twice. Rhys Webb marked his 100th appearance for the region with his 10th try while RaboDirect man of the match, Aisea Natoga also got on the score sheet. Jeff Hassler, Ashley Beck and Dan Baker (his first in the PRO12) also scored tries, while Hanno Dirksen and Ryan Jones marked their returns from injury with a score apiece. Dan Biggar kicked 8 points to complete the scoring.
Replacement Jacopo Sarto got the sole try for Treviso, converted by Mat Berquist.
The Ospreys stated their intent straight from the kick off, spreading the ball out wide in their own twenty-two, Beck breaking down the flank with Natoga in support. Webb then marshalled his forwards as they went through the phases, gaining yards with every carry.
With his side dominating the early exchanges, Jonathan Spratt turned down the opportunity to take three points twice as a confident Ospreys team kicked to the corner, looking very lively with the ball in their possession. Treviso made a nuisance of themselves as the home pack looked to drive their way over and created the turnover but the clearance kick from Mat Berquist failed to leave the twenty-two.
Scott Baldwin and Tyler Ardron carried into the heart of the Treviso defence, putting their team on the front foot but the Ospreys were missing the final pass. The Italians managed to whether the storm and earned their first penalty but unlike their opponents, Treviso opted to kick at goal but Berquist’s attempt fell just short.
Another spell of pressure was applied by the Ospreys as they set up camp in the Treviso half. From the back of a maul, Biggar sent his captain, Spratt, bursting through a hole in the defence thanks to the help of a Beck dummy run. The centre got his arms free of the tackle and popped off to Natoga but the Fijian couldn’t hold on to the ball.
Natoga made amends for his error as he returned a loose kick into the Treviso twenty-two. Quick ball from the base of the ruck caught the Italians napping as Webb almost slipped a tackle but Spratt was on hand to finish off as he happily received the pass from his scrum-half to score. Biggar converted.
It was a matter of moments before the Ospreys doubled their lead with another converted try. Ardron and Baldwin combined to rip the ball from his Christian Loamanu on halfway. The ball was spread wide and Natoga galloped down the touchline once more, slipping a couple of tackles before feeding Beck to score the Ospreys second.. Biggar added the two.
A quick tap from Webb, who was looking as energetic as ever, almost brought the Ospreys their third try. The scrum half stepped around a number of defenders before slipping the ball to Ryan Bevington in support . The prop showed off his distribution skills as he floated a pass wide with Natoga coming close to scoring in the corner, but for a foot in touch.
It wasn’t long before Webb threatened again, finding a gap around the ruck area with a trademark snipe. The Wales international picked his moment perfectly as he cut through the defence before touching down for what was a bread and butter try for him. Biggar kicked the easy conversion.
Treviso had barely entered the Ospreys half as the home team went on the hunt for a bonus point try. Spratt gained yards with another strong carry, popping the ball up to Sam Lewis. The ball eventually found Hassler who attacked down the wing but the Canadian was bundled into touch.
Pressure came on again as Biggar hacked the ball down field, pinning the Italians back.
The Ospreys looked to have clinched their fourth try and with it the bonus point just before half-time. Webb fielded the clearance with the play broken up finding his Fijian winger out wide but Natoga was denied the score he so thoroughly deserved as he grounded the ball only to have his score disallowed for a double movement.
HALF TIME: Ospreys 21 Treviso 0
The Ospreys momentum carried over from the first half into the second as Spratt secured the bonus point try for his team inside a minute of the restart. Aisea Natoga powered through some weak tackling before tumbling to the ground. Beck was on hand to take the ball off him before drawing Berquist to put Spratt over in the corner. Biggar converted again.
With Tom Habberfield and Matthew Morgan coming on to orchestrate things, Natoga finally got the try his impressive performance deserved. Beck provided the Ospreys with the platform after gathering his own grubber kick close to the goaline. Quick hands from the young half-backs enabled Natoga to walk over in the corner. Sam Davies took over the kicking duties with Biggar now off the field and duly slotted his first conversion of the match.
Treviso managed to get on the scoreboard against the run of play. Their driving maul troubled the Ospreys into giving away a penalty and the Italians kicked to the corner. Again, the visitors looked to their maul and it duly delivered with replacement Sarto the try scorer. Berquist converted the difficult kick from the touchline.
The Ospreys got back to normality with their sixth try of the match as Hassler got himself on the scoresheet. A front peel from an attacking lineout almost saw Sam Lewis squeeze over the line but he was just short. The home team remained patient and spread the ball out wide with Beck popping off to the Canadian winger who crossed for the score. Davies converted.
It was all going the Ospreys way as Morgan made a trademark line break from within his own twenty-two, immediately after the kick off. The outside-half exhibited his pace as he raced into the opponents half and outside him was Davies who was on hand to finish off for his first ever try for the region. He added the two.
A few handbags were taking place off the ball and after referee Nigel Owens consulted the TMO, Treviso replacement Alberto Di Bernardo was sent to the sin bin after taking matters into his owns hands with Ospreys second row, James King. The Ospreys soon made the 14 men of Treviso pay as replacement Dan Baker picked up from the back of an attacking scrum to score the Ospreys’ eighth try of the match . Davies added another two.
There was just no stopping the Ospreys as they launched another attack downfield. Ryan Jones emerged from a ruck with the ball, linking up with Habberfield who found Davies out wide. Spratt and Natoga combined beautifully Dirksen, who found space down the left flank to add another Ospreys try. Davies missed the Ospreys first kick of the match.
The game had calmed down a little with Treviso coming close to scoring following an individual break from Brendan Williams but it was the Ospreys who continued to score tries. Morgan danced his way through the defenders, getting stopped just short of the line but passing off to replace Ryan Jones to grab the Ospreys tenth try of the match. Davies converted.
The rampant Ospreys continued to inflict further damage on Treviso as Sam Davies crossed for his second try of the game. An off-the-top lineout provided the Ospreys backs further opportunity to show what they could do and Morgan again linked up with Davies as the fullback raced in to score. He added the extras to round-off a win that sees the Ospreys move back up to third place in the PRO12 table before league leaders Munster visit the Liberty next Sunday.