By Oliver Jeffrey
Sunday 8, November 2020 is when the Ospreys host their next match in the Guinness Pro 14, after their 23-17 loss against Zebre last week. However, this week, Toby Booth’s side take on the defending champions of Leinster at the Liberty Stadium. Leinster come off the back of a good 32-19 win against Glasgow Warriors last week, putting them in good stead as certain favourites to win this fixture.
As it stands in Conference A of the Pro 14, Ospreys are currently third in the table with nine points. Whereas Leinster are currently at the top of the table with 20 points and they have won all of their games so far.
The last time these two sides met was back in February 21, 2020 where Leinster beat Ospreys 21-13 at The Gnoll in very muddy and wet conditions. Will the result be the same today, with Leinster winning? Or will the Ospreys spoil the party? Oliver Jeffery will be taking you through the action as it happens.
Ospreys opt to select a blended side including both young talent as well as experience. They still have three unnamed players still not in the squad from last weeks game however, due to Covid-19 guidelines.
Leinster’s side also miss a few key players away on international duty. A special day for their lock Ross Molony though as he makes his 100th appearance for Leinster today.
And we’re off…
1′ Already Ospreys are on the attack as Will Griffiths undergoes a surging run, putting his side on the front foot straight away. Leinster do well to defend though and immediately turn the ball over and run the ball out from their defence. Both sides showing early promise so far.
8′ PENALTY TRY, YELLOW CARD Scott Penny. The Ospreys win a penalty at the scrum inside Leinster’s half as fullback Cai Evans kicks a beautiful ball deep into the 22 for the lineout. The Ospreys pack then maul the ball towards the line but Leinster illegally prevent them. The referee awards Ospreys a penalty try automatically as well as yellow carding Penny. Ospreys find themselves 7-0 up in the early part of the game.
13′ After many phases the Leinster pack drive forward well with carried from Cian Kelleher and Rory Oloughlin but the ball is then knocked on at the halfway line and Ospreys are given a scrum.
19′ TRY James Tracy. Leinster are awarded a penalty at the maul and Harry Byrne finds a great kick to touch. From there many phases later, hooker Tracy is latched onto by two of his teammates and goes over to score. Byrne kicks the conversion and just like that, Leinster are level again at 7-7 with 14 men.
26′ A Leinster pass falls loose in play and Ospreys hack the ball into their 22 but Jimmy O’Brien does amazingly to recover the ball and runs it out to avoid any further danger. Just goes to show you that one sloppy piece of play can nearly cost your team.
29′ TRY Dave Kearney. From having the ball in their own 22, Leinster work their way up the field very quickly, as they pinch an Ospreys line-out through Tracy. O’Loughlin then carries the ball and makes a lot of ground through the centres. After a few passes, O’Brien offloads to Kearney who then goes over in the corner to put Leinster into the lead. Byrne converts yet again and the men in blue are up 14-7
36′ TRY Penny. Michael Bent does well to get the ball away to Byrne, who delivers a big pass out wide to Penny who gathers the ball and goes over to score the try. After such a positive start from the Ospreys, they find themselves trailing 19-7 as half time approaches.
38′ Scott Fardy and Bent manage to win a penalty for Leinster as they perform a big counter-ruck and Ospreys are then penalised for going off their feet.
40′ Half-time couldn’t have come any sooner for the Ospreys as after scoring the first try of the match, Leinster then answer back with three of their own. Leinster seem to be making a lot more ground and as a result, their quick ball in space is proving to be too much for Ospreys. Are Ospreys out the game? Or can they make a comeback?
42′ As we start the second half, Ospreys have made a change and decided to bring on Ifan Phillips for Dewi Lake as a result of their problems concerning the line-out.
45′ The Ospreys win a penalty from 45 meters out, but Cai Morgan’s attempt misses as it pulls wide of the sticks.
48′ Evans kicks the ball 55 meters away to give the Ospreys some territory. But unfortunately, they give away yet another penalty and allow Leinster to pump the ball back into their half. The Ospreys manager, Booth won’t be happy with his sides’ wasted opportunity.
52′ Leinster attack the Ospreys defence again at pace which looks like it could result in another score. But lock Adam Beard holds up a man in midfield and somehow wins a turnover when the maul is collapsed. Leinster had worked into a very good attacking possession and the Ospreys needed that in order to still remain in this game.
56′ TRY Peter Dooley. After winning a penalty, Leinster opt to go to the corner again and find themselves deep within the Ospreys’ 22. Many phases later, another penalty is tapped and taken quickly, bringing Leinster up close to the line. From there, replacement Dooley crashes over to score again for Leinster as they extend their impressive lead to 26-7 and secure the bonus point.
62′ Ospreys need something here and they decide to make a change as debutant Rhys Davies steps onto the field along with Olly Cracknell to try and change the score around.
69′ Ospreys win a penalty inside the Leinster’s 22 as they are penalised for them not rolling away at the ruck. Can they make this chance count to get at least a losing bonus point?
72′ The Ospreys manage to spread the play wide after many phases, the ball is then sent wide to Luke Morgan as he charges towards the line to score. But the Leinster defence proves to be too great for the winger as three defenders smother him up and bundle him into touch. Fair play to Leinster, who are 19 points up with eight minutes left and they are still defending ferociously.
76′ In the dying depths of the game, Ospreys attack their way through phases to enter the Leinster 22 before a knock-on hands the ball back to Leinster who should put the game to bed surely now.
80′ The referee blows his whistle and the game is over as Leinster beat Ospreys 26-7 at the Liberty Stadium. The man of the match is Rhys Ruddock as the number eight and captain of the squad showed immense power and carrying ability to help put his team on the front foot. Leinster remain at the top of the table as their lead lengthens after being unbeaten in 550 days.