Match Page 2017-18 - Scoreboard WP ID: 132

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Jones man of the match as Ospreys grind past Scarlets

Phil Jones 27 Dec 2016

West Wales bragging rights went to Ospreys after a dogged performance saw them past Scarlets in a penalty-laden game at the Liberty Stadium.

The visitors saw three players sin-binned in the 80 minutes and a penalty try to Ospreys proved the difference between the two sides as Scarlets’ seven-game winning run came to an end.

Coming into the game on the back of two against French opposition, Ospreys maintained that momentum to move up to second in the Guinness PRO12 table.

A patient build up by Scarlets in the opening five minutes had them within range of the Ospreys 22, but when the visitors failed to release they were penalised and Steve Tandy’s side could clear their lines.

A cagey period ensued with both sides trying to impose themselves on the game, but it was the boot that dominated as full-backs Sam Davies and Liam Williams repeatedly kicked to each other.

Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell exchanged penalties as the mid-point of the first half approached, with the crowd waiting for the game to spark into life.

And before the 25 minute mark Rob Evans was sent to the bin for a high tackle of Davies, giving Ospreys a platform to kick for touch and set up camp in the Scarlets half.

They nearly punished the visitors from the ensuing drive, but Alun Wyn Jones failed to ground the ball when he was bundled over the line in the 25th minute.

The home side continued to push for the opening score, but when Will Boyde forced an Ospreys penalty on his own five-metre line, the visiting fans erupted and Patchell could clear Scarlets’ lines.

Ospreys eventually earned themselves a penalty within kicking distance, though, but Biggar was uncharacteristically wayward with a relatively straightforward kick to keep the scores level.

And when Patchell kicked a penalty of his own, Scarlets had run out the sin bin clock and ended up three points to the good.

That lead then became six in the 39th minute as Patchell kicked another penalty after Ospreys were pulled up for rotating a scrum.

But Biggar found his range in the final minute of the half and kicked a 40-metre effort after Josh Macleod infringed at the breakdown.

After ten uneventful second-half minutes a stolen lineout from Jones led to the first showing of Keelan Giles, who spun away from DTH van der Merwe’s tackle, inside his own 22, and ended up putting Scarlets under pressure in their 22.

And that pressure told as, after several further phases, they were awarded a penalty try following a second infringement from Scarlets when the referee was already playing an Ospreys advantage.

As a result, Boyde was sent to the bin for stopping a certain home try from a rolling maul, and Biggar added the extras to put Ospreys four ahead.

The fly-half then made sure to punish the short-handed Scarlets and successfully kicked a penalty on the hour to stretch their lead to a converted score.

As the penalty count racked up Scarlets’ Steff Evans was sent to the bin for the final ten minutes and, a minute later, another infringement allowed Biggar to stretch Ospreys’ lead to ten points.

All that was left was for Ospreys to run out the clock in the Scarlets half and send their fans home happy after a tense, cagey and attritional derby encounter.

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