Ospreys hold off Dragons fightback

Date published: January 1 2016

The Ospreys staved off a late fightback from the Dragons before claiming a hard-fought 12-7 victory in Swansea on Friday.

After a rather cautious opening quarter Ospreys took the game by the scruff of it's neck with back to back tries from Dan Evans and Hanno Dirksen. 

Sam Davies missed two penalties and a conversion before converting Dirksen's try to put the home side 12-0 in front going into half-time. 

It took 65 minutes for the Dragons to get on the board through Ed Jackson's try, Jason Tovey got the conversion to earn a point for the visitors and give the home side a nervous finish to the match. 

The omens looked good for Steve Tandy's men going into this match with the Ospreys having won their last seven encounters with Dragons in the PRO12 since the Men from Gwent were victorious 21-20 at Rodney Parade in January 2012. 

Both teams took a while to get into the groove of the new year as they tentatively felt their way into the match. The stalemate was finally broken 25 minutes in when man of the match Evans picked a great angle to get around Sarel Pretorious for Ospreys' first try of 2016, Davies shanked the conversion to restrict the home lead to 5-0. 

Ospreys continued to crack away at the Dragons' defence eventually resulting in a try for Dirkson on the wing with 36 minutes played. Davies added the finishing touches to put the home side 12-0 in-front going into the break. 

Much like the first half the second took a while to burst into life. With just a quarter of an hour left to play the Dragons found their way back into the tie through a try from Jackson. 

Tovey made no mistake with the conversion to get the visitors to within five points at 12-7. Ospreys were up against the ropes for the last 10 minutes as the Dragons finally found their rhythm but it was too little too late as the visitors settled for a point and the Ospreys secured their fifth win on the bounce.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Tries: Evans, Dirksen
Con: Davies

For Dragons:
Try: Jackson
Con: Tovey

Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben John, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Sam Davies, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 Dan Baker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 4 Lloyd Ashley, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith. 
Replacements: 16 Sam Parry, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Dmitri Arhip, 19 Rory Thornton, 20 James King, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Dan Biggar, 23 Jonathan Spratt.

Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Nick Scott, 13 Adam Hughes, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Ashton Hewitt, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Ed Jackson. 7 Ollie Griffiths, 6 Nick Crosswell, 5 Rynard Landman, 4 Matthew Screech, 3 Lloyd Fairbrother, 2 Thomas Rhys Thomas (c), 1 Boris Stankovich.
Replacements: 16 Elliot Dee, 17 Phil Price, 18 Brok Harris, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Nic Cudd, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Jason Tovey, 23 Ross Wardle.

Referee: Andrew Brace (Ireland)