Wednesday 14 November 2018

Connacht crushed by Ospreys as the Welsh side run in five tries

Ospreys 39 Connacht 10

Connacht's Eoin McKeon is tackled by Ospreys' Ma'afu Fia (left) and Sam Cross. Photo: Sportsfile
Connacht's Eoin McKeon is tackled by Ospreys' Ma'afu Fia (left) and Sam Cross. Photo: Sportsfile

Ospreys celebrated a bonus point 39-10 victory over Connacht in their Guinness PRO14 clash at the Liberty Stadium to keep alive hopes of qualifying for the European Champions Cup.

Ospreys' five tries came from wing Jeff Hassler, full-back Dan Evans, hooker Scott Otten, centre Ashley Beck and wing Hanno Dirksen, with Dan Biggar kicking 14 points.

Connacht's points came from a try and conversion for replacement Craig Donaldson, plus a Jack Carty penalty.

Ospreys made two enforced changes with Guy Mercer and James King coming in for Olly Cracknell and Justin Tipuric. Cracknell has been ruled out by a shoulder injury while Wales flanker Tipuric is away at the Commonwealth Games with Wales Sevens.

Connacht made five changes from the forward pack that started their European Challenge Cup defeat by Gloucester with prop Denis Buckley the only member of the front-five to retain his place. Ireland international centre Bundee Aki was among the other absentees for Connacht.

Ospreys went into half-time armed with a 20-10 lead but they did not have it all their own way in the opening 40 minutes.

The home side were given a cushion early on from the boot of Biggar, who was playing his last home game before he leaves for Northampton.

Biggar kicked penalties after three and 10 minutes to open up a 6-0 lead, but Ospreys found themselves down to 14 men for 10 minutes when Evans was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on.

However, Connacht could not take advantage initially as Hassler ran 70 metres to score Ospreys first try after picking off Eoin Griffin's pass. Biggar converted as Ospreys led 13-0 after 11 minutes.

But before Evans' sin-bin was over Connacht hit back with a try for Donaldson, who was on while Carty had a concussion test. Donaldson also converted.

Ospreys hit back five minutes later as Evans made up for his yellow card by jinking his way over by the posts after taking Biggar's flat pass. Biggar converted.

Connacht had the final say of the half with Carty kicking a penalty from the 22 following a line-out infringement.

And straight after the break Carty had another penalty but missed his chance to cut the deficit to one score.

After that Connacht's challenge seemed to disappear as Ospreys scored three more tries.

Otten burrowed his way across in the 53rd minute after Dan Biggar took a quick penalty and Beck went over for the bonus point try just after the hour mark. Both tries were converted by Biggar to see Ospreys lead 34-10.

After Tom Habberfield had a try disallowed for a forward pass from Hassler, Ospreys found the try line again when Dirksen went over in the left corner, but Biggar missed the extras.

Press Association

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