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Baker strikes as Ospreys dominate Warriors to go second

Guinness PRO12 Rugby Editor 25 Nov 2016

Dan Baker’s second-half try helped secure a superb 22-5 bonus-point win as Ospreys beat Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun for the first time to move top of the Guinness PRO12.

In ice-cold conditions, the first half was littered with mistakes and neither side could fashion anything more than a half chance until late Tom Habberfield capitalised on a fine Tom Grabham kick to cross.

Brian Alainu’uese’s red card turned the game further in Ospreys’ favour and Steve Tandy’s side soon made it pay as Tom O’Flaherty collected a Josh Matavesi kick to score.

Baker capped a physical performance with a score before Ashley Beck showed good footwork to grab the bonus-point try.

Junior Bulumakau ranin for a late consolation as the Warriors remain fourth in the Guinness PRO12.

Matavesi had conjured a slim chance from nothing after eight minutes, but a knock-on from the supporting Ma’afu Fia meant the opportunity was squandered.

As the half wore on, neither side could break the deadlock and the Warriors had a penalty in a good  position only for Corey Flynn to miss his target at the lineout.

Glasgow did retain possession, but both sides were struggling to gain any real foothold.

Tandy’s side found themselves in a similar position with ten minutes left in the half, knocking on after nine phases inside the Glasgow half.

And it took a mixture of luck, pace and skill to finally get some points on the board, Grabham  exploiting an empty backfield from turnover possession, his long kick bouncing kindly for Habberfield, who beat the cover defence by the smallest of margins to dot down.

Though Matavesi missed the conversion, it was the Welshmen who led 5-0 at half time.

Tandy’s men continued with the bit between their teeth in the second half, Glasgow’s inexperienced pack struggling to deal with the work of Sam Underhill, Sam Parry and Baker for the Welshmen up front.

Alainu’uese’s red card for a reckless clearout compounded Ospreys’ advantage up top and Tandy’s men went to the corner from the resultant penalty, but somehow the standout Tim Swinson helped hold the ball up in a maul and force a Warriors scrum.

It was a temporary reprieve for Glasgow, Habberfield pinched the ball from the base of the scrum and Matavesi’s accurate cross-kick found replacement winger O’Flaherty unmarked outwide on 50 minutes to score, though Ospreys’ No 10 was unable to convert on a forgettable night from the tee.

The Welshmen had more or less all the running now and as they built nicely through the phases into the Warriors’ 22, Baker carried powerfully from close range and two fellow Ospreys latched on to barrel him over for a third score – though Matavesi missed another conversion just shy of 60 minutes.

And Beck showed fantastic eye for space and good footwork to go over from close range to seal the bonus point late on.

Bulumakau finished well after a period of incessant pressure from the hosts, but it was little more than a token effort.

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Match Page 2017-18 - Summary WP:137

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

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