Friday 23 August 2019

Ospreys leapfrog Leinster in Pro12 table

Spearheaded by prospective Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones, Ospreys outmuscled their visitors up front. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile
Spearheaded by prospective Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones, Ospreys outmuscled their visitors up front. Photo by Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile

Tom Rooney

Leinster's decisive defeat at the hands of Munster was compounded yesterday as Ospreys leapfrogged them into second place in the Pro12 following their victory over Scarlets at the Liberty Stadium.

The win sees Ospreys move three points clear of Leinster, and just two behind Munster, at the halfway point of the season.

Spearheaded by prospective Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones, Ospreys outmuscled their visitors up front, while out-half Dan Biggar's fine display from the tee saw him reach 2,000 points for the club. Steve Tandy's men have won their last eight games in all competitions.

The Scarlets - who featured former Leinster lock Tadhg Beirne - certainly did themselves no favours in what proved a disjointed west Wales derby - they had three men sent to the bin and conceded 15 penalties,four of which were converted into points by Biggar.

Ill-discipline proved the encounter's standout feature, with Ospreys coughing up 12 penalties and allowing Rhys Patchell to keep Scarlets competitive with a trio of three-pointers.

The game's decisive score came via a second half penalty try awarded to the hosts - converted by Biggar - that also saw Scarlets flanker Will Boyde yellow-carded.

Scarlets were first down to 14 men just after the opening quarter, when prop Rob Evans was binned for a high tackle on full-back Sam Davies.

Boyde followed suit in the 53rd minute as numerous infringements during a sustained bout of pressure from the Ospreys also compelled referee Andy Brace to point under the posts.

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Replacement wing Steff Evans was the last to go and Biggar's subsequent penalty extended Ospreys' advantage to 10.

The visit of Ulster to the RDS on New Year's Eve now allows Leinster little room for error if they are to stay in touch with Ospreys and Munster, who take on Dragons and Connacht respectively.

Meanwhile, former Ulster director of rugby David Humphries' Gloucester side slumped to their fifth defeat of the season as Harlequins ran out 28-24 winners at Twickenham.

A crowd of 77,567 watched both teams score three tries each in the Aviva Premiership showdown, with a 13-point haul from the boot of 'Quins fly-half Ruaridh Jackson proving decisive. Gloucester are in eighth place, while the win sees Conor O'Shea's former charges move into sixth.

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