Derby day wins for Ospreys and Cardiff
Pro12 round-up:The Ospreys completed a Rabo Pro12 double over rivals Scarlets with a comprehensive 32-3 victory at the Liberty Stadium in a clash which saw the visitors have two players sent off late on. After the Ospreys won at Parc y Scarlets in September they were again the dominant side with a penalty try and two further tries for lock James King and skipper Kahn Fotuali’i.
Outhalf Dan Biggar added 14 points with the boot and Fotuali’i also kicked a drop-goal as Ospreys stormed to victory in front of a crowd of 19,443 in Swansea. The Scarlets were not helped that they had replacements Rob McCusker and Gareth Owen sent off in the final minutes and also had another three players sin-binned - George Earle, Tavis Knoyle and Aled Thomas.
The Ospreys, who were boosted by the return of Wales prop Adam Jones for his first start in two months, were dominant throughout as they sought to build on their 17-6 Heineken Cup win over Toulouse last time out. The home team struck the first blow when Biggar kicked a third-minute penalty from a scrum offence.
Good pressure from the Ospreys, who hammered at the Scarlets’ 22, ended with a snap drop-goal from scrum-half Fotuali’i to double their lead.
There was some respite for the Scarlets when outhalf Thomas opened the visitors’ account with a 27th-minute penalty. However, the Scarlets, showing four changes from their win over Cardiff Blues last week, found themselves on the back foot two minutes later when lock George Earle was yellow-carded for an illegal tackle on Fotuali’i, who had taken a quick tapped penalty.
A forgettable first half for the Scarlets was made worse for them when Biggar put over his third penalty in injury time to give the Ospreys a 16-point interval lead.
The Ospreys carried on in the second half where they left off, scoring an unconverted try for King on 48 minutes after Richard Fussell had broken down the left flank. And a 21-point lead was increased to 24 with a fourth Biggar penalty.
Matters did not get any better for the Scarlets as replacement scrumhalf Knoyle was sin-binned for taking Eli Walker without the ball as Fotuali’I squeezed in at the left corner. The Scarlets had a third man, fly-half Thomas, sent to the bin before a dramatic final three minutes saw McCusker and Owen both shown red for foul play.
Earlier in the day. Cardiff moved two places up the with a hard-fought 12-10 victory in this east Wales derby at the Arms Park mud bath. The Blues moved above Edinburgh and Treviso into seventh place thanks to claiming just their third win in their last 14 matches in all competitions.They were under the cosh for much of the match, but pulled through thanks to four penalties from teenage outhalf Rhys Patchell. The Dragons claimed the only try of the contest through centre Andy Tuilagi but were left to rue other missed chances during a game played in appalling conditions.
Despite playing into the wind and driving rain, it was the visitors who were to have the better of the first half in terms of possession and territory, with their set-pieces on top. But they were unable to convert that pressure into points, with outside-half Dan Evans sending an early penalty attempt to the right of the posts and also failing with a later effort.