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Connacht V Ospreys. Sun Jan 24th at 3pm

Updated: Apr 2, 2021

With the European games being cancelled, the Pro14 rearranged fixture away to Connacht was next up for the Ospreys. Games in Galway are usually played out in wet and windy conditions but today was different as the sun was shining and there was very little in terms of wind, but it was cold.

The Ospreys kicked off and both teams set about sizing up their opponents. The Ospreys won a penalty at the breakdown and Myler kicked for touch for an attacking lineout. Confusion was the name of the game at the lineout as nobody lifted or jumped and the ball sailed over everyone, allowing Connacht to clear. The Ospreys set up a counter-attack and after some great inter-player passing, Tipuric delivered the killer pass to North who dotted down for the game’s first try after just 8 minutes. Myler was wide with the conversion, and the Ospreys led 0-5.

The Ospreys built on their great start and made several line breaks but unfortunately there was no support for the ball carrier and the chances went begging. A lovely front move at the lineout saw Tipuric and Parry exchange passes and make good yards, before Davies burst onto the ball and surged clear. As he looked to set up a ruck he was stripped of the ball and Connacht were able to clear again to touch.

This time at the lineout, there was an Ospreys’ knock-on and Connacht were awarded a scrum, where they won a penalty after Jones was adjudged to have lost his bind. Connacht went for touch and set up a driving maul that the Ospreys did well to defend but Connacht were able to retain the ball. They went wide quickly and out-flanked the Ospreys defence and the winger thought he had scored a try but a great tackle from Watkin put the winger into touch.

The Ospreys were able to secure this lineout allowing Webb to box-kick, but Connacht attacked and won a penalty when they caught the Ospreys offside. A shot was called, and the kick was successful, bringing the score to 3-5 after 27 minutes.

The Ospreys were straight back into attack from the kick-off, but a loose pass turned the ball over to Connacht and two quick passes later, their winger raced away for a try that was against the run of play. The conversion was good, and Connacht now led 10-5 after 31 minutes.

Things went from bad to worse when Jones was penalised for the third time at the scrum, giving Connacht a penalty that was kicked into the Ospreys 22. From the lineout, Connacht set up a driving maul and they were awarded a penalty and Ospreys captain Tipuric was shown a yellow card for disrupting the maul. Although time had ticked over the 40 minutes, play still continued and Connacht, who had called for a scrum, eventually wore down the Ospreys defence and scored their second try. The conversion was good as the last play of the half and Connacht led 17-5 at half time.

The Ospreys came out for the second half with renewed energy and despite giving away a scrum, the Ospreys forwards put on a great 7-man scrum to push Connacht off the ball and win a penalty. Myler kicked for touch and although the maul was stopped immediately, the Ospreys were able to retain possession. Protheroe sent a wide pass out to North, who made good yards before passing inside to the supporting Williams and he gave a lovely offload inside the last defender to Protheroe who dotted down under the posts for the Ospreys’ second try. Much like their first try, the quality of passing was superb and Myler slotted the conversion for the full 7 points. It was now 17-12 after 47 minutes.

Again and again the Ospreys continued to look dangerous with ball in hand and they won a penalty after strong carries from Watkin and Webb. Myler sent the kick into the Connacht 22 to give the Ospreys an attacking lineout. The lineout was secured, the maul was set, and Webb shouted at the forwards to drive the ball on. Just when it looked as if the maul had stalled, Webb pulled the ball out, sidestepped the last Connacht defender and scored the Ospreys’ third try of the match. Myler converted again, and the Ospreys now led 17-19 after 52 minutes.

Connacht then won a succession of penalties, the last of which was a successful shot at goal and after 57 minutes, Connacht had regained the lead at 20-19.

The Ospreys began to play their way back into the match and won several penalties on the Connacht try line where they were camped for over five minutes. Eventually the pressure told and from another driving maul, Webb was the final carrier as he was driven over the line for the Ospreys’ fourth and bonus point try. Myler superbly converted from the touchline and after 68 minutes, the Ospreys now led 20-26 to set up a huge last ten minutes.

Resolute defence and clever play from the Ospreys limited Connacht’s possession and territory as time ticked slowly away. Connacht were awarded a penalty that should have been kicked to the corner but inexplicably their No8 took a quick tap. Although he made a few yards, he was completely isolated, and the Ospreys were awarded a penalty. That was Connacht’s final possession as the Ospreys managed to control the ball through several phases before Myler kicked the ball to touch and the final whistle went.

The Ospreys had again started well, before falling into a hole but where last year’s team would have capitulated, coach Booth has instilled a new sense of resilience into this year’s team and the Ospreys are made of stronger stuff. This meant they were able to come back from a 12-point deficit and win away at Connacht as well as securing a try bonus point. Well done Ospreys.

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