Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

Match Page 2017-18 - Last Time WP ID: 133

Match Page 2017-18 - Current Standing WP: 134

Match Page 2017-18 - H2H WP: 136

Match Page 2017-18 - Last 3 Matches WP: 142

Match Page 2017-18 - Season so Far WP:141

Preview: Ospreys v Cardiff Blues

Charlie Talbot-Smith 5 Jan 2018

The Welsh derbies keep on coming in the Guinness PRO14 and this weekend sees the Ospreys welcome the Cardiff Blues to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

The Ospreys downed the Dragons last time out while the Blues came up just short against defending champions Scarlets.

What’s at stake? Despite a slow start to the season, Ospreys can still make up ground to get into the Champions Cup Play-Off position in Conference A. The Blues will be keen to qualify automatically and their current hold on fourth place would be enough to make it into the Champions Cup if the Cheetahs (ineligible) finish above them.

Ospreys’ victory at Dragons on New Year’s Eve ended a four-game losing run in the Guinness PRO14; in fact Ospreys have won just twice in the Championship since the opening weekend and both were against Dragons.

Cardiff Blues record in the last ten rounds of the Guinness PRO14 is an even won five, lost five.

Team news (Ospreys): Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb is fit for Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 match against Cardiff Blues after a knock forced him off in their win against Dragons.

Back-row Dan Lydiate is unavailable with a serious bicep injury while Cory Allen and Paul James are also out.

Sam Davies remains at full back with Dan Evans on the wing while up front Alun Wyn Jones captains the side from the second row alongside Bradley Davies.

Team news (Cardiff Blues): Kristian Dacey will captain Cardiff Blues as one of six changes to the starting line-up that faced the Scarlets.

With several key players returning to fitness, head coach Danny Wilson has reshuffled his side with Lloyd Williams and Jarrod Evans coming in as half-backs.

Gareth Anscombe switches to full-back and is joined in the back three by Alex Cuthbert, who makes his first start since being injured on Wales duty.

There are three more changes in the pack with Anton Peikrishvili returning alongside Dacey in the front-row and Damian Welch given the nod ahead of George Earle in the second-row.

Cardiff Blues club captain Gethin Jenkins also makes his latest return to action following the facial injury he suffered on his comeback against the Dragons on boxing day.

Talking points: Ospreys boss Steve Tandy said:

“It was an important win for us on New Year’s Eve, setting us up for an important month and some huge games we’ve got coming up.

“Starting on Saturday, four of the next five PRO14 games are against the teams immediately ahead of us in the table, three of them at home, so clearly it’s a crucial phase for us in terms of performance, results, and our ability to climb up a few places towards Champions Cup and play-off spots.

“The Blues will come here looking to attack, they have threats right across the field, and we know that we have to go toe-to-toe with them.

“They’ve been playing well and will believe in their ability to come to the Liberty and get the result so we’ve got to be up for it from the first whistle and impose ourselves on the game.

“It’s got all the ingredients of a great contest, a typical derby match with big head to head battles and two teams who know each other very well and want to prove a point. We’re looking forward to it.”

Blues head coach Danny Wilson said: “We were extremely disappointed we didn’t come out of the Scarlets game with a win, we dominated almost every area of the game and did everything bar win.

“We certainly go to the Liberty Stadium confident that we can test them, but they have been playing much better over the last month.

“They have gone back to traditional Ospreys. They have a bit more line speed in defence, they’re a bit more direct and set-piece based in their attack and we have to be able to deal with that.

“But if we can perform with the same intensity, ferocity and dominate the areas of the game that we dominated against the Scarlets then there’s no reason why we can’t go to the Liberty and get a win.

Key battle: Sam Davies v Gareth Anscombe

Two men who probably prefer wearing No.10 but this weekend will be looking to do their damage from the full-back position.

Anscombe’s return from a long injury layoff before Christmas has helped the Blues climb the table and both he and Davies will be looking to lay down a marker for Warren Gatland and Wales ahead of the Six Nations.

Both have been capped for their country before but missed out this autumn but their versatility could be key if they can impress at No.15 and prove their ability as an added playmaker in a remodelled Wales backline.

Key stat:  Cardiff Blues only previous victory at Liberty Stadium in the Championship was on their very first visit in December 2005

Did you know?  Blues won their most recent fixture against Ospreys 35-17 at Principality Stadium on Judgement Day V in April to end an eleven game losing run to Ospreys in the Guinness PRO14.

Ospreys: Sam Davies; Dan Evans, Ashley Beck, Owen Watkin, Jeff Hassler; Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb; Nicky Smith, Scott Baldwin, Ma’afu Fia, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric, Rob McCusker

Replacements: Scott Otten, Gareth Thomas, Dmitri Arhip, Adam Beard, Will Jones, Tom Habberfield, James Hook, Dafydd Howells

Cardiff Blues: Gareth Anscombe; Alex Cuthbert, Rey Lee-Lo, Willis Halaholo, Owen Lane; Jarrod Evans, Lloyd Williams; Rhys Gill, Kristian Dacey (capt), Anton Peikrishvili, Damian Welch, Josh Turnbull, Josh Navidi, Olly Robinson, Nick Williams.

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Gethin Jenkins, Dillon Lewis, George Earle, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Garyn Smith, Matthew Morgan.

TV: At Liberty Stadium, Swansea, 3.15pm. Live on Sky Sports and S4C

Match Officials: Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU, 160th competition game)

Assistant Referees: Dan Jones, Adam Jones (WRU)

Citing Commissioner: John Charles (WRU)

TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

Historical Lineup Pre Opta (sfms data) - Preview - v2

Match Page 2017-18 - Lineups WP: 135

Match Page 2017-18 - Match Data WP: 140

Match Page 2017-18 - Timeline WP:139

Biggar’s boot the difference as Ospreys see off Cardiff Blues in a thriller

Paul Eddison 6 Jan 2018

Dan Biggar showed off his kicking prowess to set up three tries in the Ospreys’ 29-28 derby win over the Cardiff Blues in a thrilling Guinness PRO14 encounter.

After Jeff Hassler’s intercept try, Biggar’s boot made two tries for Rhys Webb and one for Justin Tipuric as the Ospreys earned five points.

However they were pushed all the way as Nick Williams, Owen Lane and Garyn Smith all crossed for the Blues who almost pulled off an unlikely comeback.

The Blues made the perfect start with a penalty in the very first minute after the Ospreys tried and failed to run the ball out of their own 22, Josh Navidi getting over the ball to earn the shot at goal.

Gareth Anscombe made no mistake from in front, and he almost had Cardiff in for a first try with a nice short pass to put Rey Lee-Lo through a gap. Hassler did well to get across and prevent the score.

However it was only temporary respite, from a lineout a minute later Navidi had a charge and was stopped just short of the line. With the defence scrambling Nick Williams picked and went, and from a metre out he was never going to be stopped.

The Ospreys did not take long to respond, Hassler picking off a pass from Matthew Morgan on halfway and racing over, Biggar’s conversion made it 8-7.

Once again the Blues earned a penalty from the restart, with Anscombe making no mistake from the right.

In a back-and-forth encounter, the home side responded immediately, Biggar collecting his own chip over the top just outside the Blues 22, then finding Webb to race over for the try. Biggar’s conversion made it 14-11.

The two kickers exchanged kicks in the final stages of the first half, with the Ospreys taking a 17-14 lead into the break.

The Ospreys continued in the same vein after the break, with Webb helping himself to a second as he finished off a move started by another Biggar kick.

This time the Wales fly-half chipped across to Ashley Beck. He passed back inside to Justin Tipuric who in turn found Webb whose quick feet saw him beat one man and race over.

The momentum was very much with the Ospreys, and they had the bonus point just after the hour, taking advantage of more quick thinking by Biggar.

After Alex Cuthbert had been sent to the sin-bin as he strayed offside with the Ospreys a metre out, Biggar took the penalty quickly, hoisting a cross-kick to Tipuric who simply had to catch and fall over the line. Biggar missed the conversion but the Ospreys were in complete control at 29-14, with a bonus point in the bag.

However just as it seemed the Ospreys would run away with it, the Blues hit back with a try from Lane. Despite being a man down, they worked their way into the home 22, and then off his wing Lane had enough power and strength to go over in the corner.

Anscombe converted and did the same again when Smith went over for a third Cardiff Blues try, making it 29-28 and setting up a thrilling finish.

The game was then held up by a serious injury to Owen Watkin two minutes from time but after that delay the Ospreys were able to see out the win.

Guinness PRO14 Final 2018 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 for adults and €5 for children, and can be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie

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

Match Page 2017-18 - Performance WP:138