Ospreys stage daring fightback to inflict defeat on Leinster at the RDS

Devin Toner sets appearance record but ends up on the losing side after three late tries

Josh Thomas celebrates scoring his late try with Ospreys team-mates to secure victory over Leinster in the Pro 14 game at the RDS. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Leinster 19 Ospreys 24

Devin Toner equalled Gordon D’Arcy’s record of 261 appearances but the 34-year-old was unable to celebrate the occasion with a victory as the Ospreys scored three late tries when Leinster were reduced to 14 players to record a memorable win that their performance thoroughly merited, inflicting only Leinster’s second defeat in the league this season.

Leinster took the lead on 20 minutes after Ospreys prop Ma'afu Fia received a yellow card, the upshot of some heavy duty pummelling on the visitors' line. From the scrum Rowan Osborne scampered the short-side and Harry Byrne glided over for a well worked try; Ciarán Frawley added the conversion.

A dejected Devin Toner after the game in which he became Leinster’s most capped player/. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Ospreys responded with a penalty through outhalf Luke Price but promptly make a hash of the restart. Jamie Osborne reacted quickest to snaffle the loose ball and outpace the cover to the corner for the 19-year-old centre's first Leinster try. Frawley failed to land the touchline conversion and Price missed a subsequent penalty chance for the visitors as the game got a little scrappier as the interval loomed.


There might have been a few words in the home dressingroom about being more accurate in kicking and passing terms and improving discipline. It had the desired effect initially, Byrne crossing for his second try three minutes after the resumption with Frawley posting the conversion to make it 19-3.

Dan Sheehan came on to play in the backrow, one of the few notable moments in the third quarter as the game got bogged down in a morass of handling mistakes, scrums, resets and a raft of replacements. Leinster coach Leo Cullen won't have been pleased with how careless his team was at times in possession and the number of penalties conceded; three alone at the scrum.

When Leinster wing Andrew Smith received a yellow card, Ospreys responded with two tries in the space of four minutes, the first from Olly Cracknell, the second from centre Owen Watkin, both converted by Josh Thomas.

The replacement outhalf Thomas then produced the game-defining moment, charging down Byrne’s attempted clearance and then regathering after the ball spilled from Max O’Reilly’s grasp. He converted his try to push the visitors out to 24-19 and they held on for a thoroughly deserved victory.

SCORING SEQUENCE – 20 mins: Byrne try, Frawley con, 7-0; 26: Price pen, 7-3; 26: J Osborne try, 12-3. Half-time: 12-3; 43: Byrne pen, Frawley con, 19-3; 68: Cracknell try, Thomas con, 19-10; 72: Watkin try, Thomas con, 19-17; 76: Thomas try, Thomas con, 19-24.

LEINSTER: M O'Reilly; R O'Loughlin, J Osborne, C Frawley, D Kearney; H Byrne, R Osborne; P Dooley, S Cronin, M Bent; R Molony, D Toner; S Fardy (capt), S Penny, J Murphy.

Replacements: S O'Brien for Murphy (blood) 19-30 mins); H O'Sullivan for R Osborne (half-time); D Sheehan for Fardy (46 mins); T Clarkson for Bent; J Dunne for Murphy (blood) (both 51 mins); M Hanan for Dooley; Murphy for Penny (both 62 mins); A Smith for Kearney (65 mins); Bent for Clarkson (67 mins); Penny for Cronin (72 mins); T Corkery for Frawley (79 mins).

Yellow card: A Smith (67 mins).

OSPREYS: D Evans (capt): D Cross, O Watkin, K Williams, C Evans; L Price, R Morgan-Williams; R Henry, S Parry, M Fia: L Ashley, R Davies; W Griffiths, M Morris, G Evans.

Replacements: J Hawkins for K Williams (7 mins); T Botha for Morris (20-30 mins) and Fia (54 mins); D Lake for Parry; G Phillips for Henry; O Cracknell for Griffiths; S Cross for G Evans (all 56 mins); S Venter for Evans; J Thomas for Price (both 63 mins); C Evans for Cross (67 mins).

Yellow card: M Fia (19 mins).

Referee: C Busby (Ireland)