Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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

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Ospreys look to keep pressure on at the top of the table

client 1 Dec 2016
Dan Baker

Ospreys meet Edinburgh at the Liberty Stadium, on Friday at 19:35, as third meets tenth with both teams looking to potentially climb two places higher in the Guinness PRO12 table.

What’s at stake? If Ospreys secure their third straight victory they could move top of the table providing both Munster and Leinster lose. Meanwhile, Edinburgh can move up to eighth if they get the four points and other results go their way.

Team news (Ospreys): Ospreys have gone for Sam Davies over Wales’ first-choice fly-half Dan Biggar as they both return from the November internationals. Biggar is on the bench while flanker Justin Tipuric and lock Alun Wyn Jones return from Test duty to start.

Team news (Edinburgh): Edinburgh Rugby’s acting head coach Duncan Hodge has made seven changes to his line-up with scrum-half Sam Hidalgo-Clyne making his second league start. In the backs, Duncan Weir returns from injury and Will Helu makes his first appearance of the season. Scotland’s Allan Dell and Grant Gilchrist return and start with Stuart McInally promoted from the bench.

Talking points: Ospreys will look to make it two out of two against Scottish opposition having beaten Glasgow last Friday but head coach Steve Tandy admitted picking the right XV wasn’t easy.

He said: “Selection hasn’t been easy as we’ve done okay over the last month but we’ve gone with a mix that we think will get the job done on the night while having an eye on some of the challenges ahead of us, with a couple of European games and a derby against the Scarlets, the next PRO12 game.

“This is a big game for us. We’ve had a pretty decent start to the season and are sitting at the right end of the table but it’s the start of a busy period with some important games coming up.

“We want to keep the momentum going and to do that we’ve got to get a good performance in on Friday night.”

Key Battle: Weir returns to the starting XV for the first time since fracturing his jaw against Munster in round four and will need to get up to speed quickly against young Sam Davies. The Wales fly-half made his first international appearance this autumn before kicking a match-winning drop goal against Japan in just his second match.

Key stat: Edinburgh’s only victory outside of Scotland in the Championship since September 2015 was by a single point on a trip to Newport Gwent Dragons in March.

Lions contenders: Biggar will be looking to force his way into Warren Gatland’s plans for a Lions fly-half spot when he comes on while Weir has plenty of points to prove on his return from injury. Alun Wyn Jones and Justin Tipuric have little left to prove as experienced international campaigners.

Did you know? Ospreys have won their last four Guinness PRO12 games at Liberty Stadium since Ulster beat them there in round 22 of last season.

Ospreys: Dan Evans, Keelan Giles, Ashley Beck, Josh Matavesi, Dafydd Howells, Sam Davies, Brendon Leonard, Nicky Smith, Sam Parry, Ma’afu Fia, Rory Thornton, Alun Wyn Jones, James King, Justin Tipuric, Dan Baker.

Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Paul James, Dmitri Arhip, Lloyd Ashley, Sam Underhill, Tom Habberfield, Dan Biggar, Kieron Fonotia.

Top Points Scorer:  Sam Davies 51 Top Try Scorer: Ben John 5

Edingburgh: Blair Kinghorn, Damien Hoyland, Chris Dean, Junior Rasolea, Will Helu, Duncan Weir, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Allan Dell, Stuart McInally, Murray McCallum, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Magnus Bradbury, Jamie Ritchie, Nasi Manu.

Replacements:  Neil Cochrane, Kyle Whyte, Felipe Arregui, Lewis Carmichael, Viliame Mata, Nathan Fowles, Jason Tovey, Glenn Bryce.

Top Points Scorer: Duncan Weir 36 Top Try Scorer: Mike Allen 3

TV: Live on BBC Wales

Referee: Dudley Phillips (IRFU, 65th competition game)

Assistant Referees: Sean Gallagher (IRFU), Sean Brickell (WRU)

TMO: Kevin Beggs (IRFU)

Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie. For further information visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final

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

Giles gets another as Ospreys down Edinburgh

Guinness PRO12 Editor 2 Dec 2016

Keelan Giles’ fourth Guinness PRO12 try in as many matches secured Ospreys a sixth bonus-point triumph at the Liberty Stadium this season as they saw off Edinburgh 31-22.

The Welsh winger dotted down shortly after the break as Ospreys recorded their third straight win, and fifth consecutive at home.

It was the home side’s only try of the second half but earlier scores from Dafydd Howell, Nicky Evans and Ma’afu Fia had done the damage.

Edinburgh trailed 24-15 at half-time as Will Helu and Blair Kinghorn touched down, but a late try for replacement Viliame Mata was mere consolation as they await their first away victory in the Guinness PRO12 in more than a year.

It looked like being a long night for Edinburgh early on as their hosts not only started the brighter of the two sides, but they also saw centre Chris Dean stretchered off and replaced by Glenn Bryce after just three minutes.

But after Sam Davies slotted an early penalty for Ospreys the home side found themselves trailing on eight minutes as the fly-half saw a kick charged down and Helu went over in the corner, with Duncan Weir missing the tough conversion.

However Ospreys were not behind for long as moments later a turnover led to a line-out just inside their own half, with the ball recycled out wide for Howells who cut inside and raced away to glide over.

Davies added the conversion and midway through the half the Ospreys fans were on their feet again as a big scrum drove Edinburgh back No.8 Evans cantered over for their second try of the night, with Davies adding the extras.

But just before the half-hour mark Edinburgh were back in the contest as Kinghorn crossed the whitewash following a collision between Dan Evans and Damien Hoyland, with the TMO allowing the score to stand.

Weir’s conversion was good but five minutes later Ospreys once again had breathing space as good work from their pack saw Fia go over and Davies convert.

Edinburgh refused to line down and Ospreys were camped outside their 5m line as half-time approached, but the visitors had to make do with a Weir penalty as they went in at the break 24-15 behind.

Ospreys started the second half brightly and after Ashley Beck was stopped just inches short of the try line, great hands from Alun Wyn Jones sent Giles over on the wing for the fourth bonus point try and his ninth score in six games, with Davies slotting the conversion.

On 55 minutes things got worse for Edinburgh as captain Grant Gilchrist was sent to the sin bin due to an accumulation of infringements.

Ospreys almost immediately made their numerical advantage count but Nicky Smith was help up over the tryline but Edinburgh held out only to be reduced to 14 men again when Allan Dell was shown a yellow card for an offence at the scrum on 68 minutes.

The hosts again almost made them pay but as Giles raced onto a Davies kick he was pulled back just a few metres short of the tryline, before a knock on saw Edinburgh awarded a scrum.

And it was the visitors who had the final saw as Mata barrelled over the whitewash and Weir added the extras, although they were unable to head back to Scotland with a bonus point as Ospreys saw the game out.

Guinness PRO12 Final 2017 Ticket Information: Fans can save up to 20% on selected tickets, and prices start at just €30 adults and €5 child, and be booked via www.ticketmaster.ie. For further information visit http://www.pro12rugby.com/final

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