Tuesday 12 December 2017

Connacht well beaten by Ospreys in Wales

OSPREYS completed a comfortable bonus-point victory over Connacht in the RaboDirect PRO12 at the Liberty Stadium.

It was the region’s fourth straight league win with tries from wing Eli Walker, flanker Justin Tipuric, number eight Jonathan Thomas and scrumhalf Kahn Fotuali’i.

Dan Biggar kicked three conversions, while Connacht could only manage were three Dan Parks penalties.

Ospreys, who were without British and Irish Lions duo Adam Jones and Ryan Jones, included Biggar after his call-up to the Wales autumn Tests squad this week and the outhalf was in the thick of the action as the hosts enjoyed plenty of possession, with Walker looking particularly dangerous. Despite plenty of ball Ospreys failed to turn pressure into points in the opening minutes.

It eventually told, however, as the region spread the ball with fullback Richard Fussell putting over Walker for the opening try. Biggar converted to make it 7-0 after 15 minutes.

Walker was in the thick of it again as he put Ospreys back in good territorial position with a kick and chase to the left corner.

Connacht had the chance to break their duck when their first meaningful attack ended with Parks putting over a penalty after 30 minutes. Three minutes later Parks was on target again after another Ospreys transgression to cut the home lead to 7-6.

The Welsh side responded with a second try two minutes from the break. Biggar found Fussell with a long pass and the fullback turned provider again to put Tipuric over in the right corner. Biggar failed with the conversion as Ospreys led 12-6 at the break.

Ospreys opened up a 13-point lead two minutes into the second half when Thomas picked off Parks’ pass and ran in unopposed from 30 metres out for Biggar to convert.

Connacht did cut the deficit to 10 points as Parks converted his third penalty in the 52nd minute.

Walker nearly scored a spectacular try bursting out of his own 22 and into Connacht’s before deciding to pass outside him rather than head to the line himself, with the move breaking down because of a knock-on.

As time elapsed the Ospreys struggled to get close to grabbing the bonus-point try.

That try, however, came eight minutes from time when Fotuali’i went over from a tapped penalty after a collapsed five-metre scrum by Connacht. Biggar put over his third conversion as the Ospreys extended their lead to 17 points.

Press Association

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