Ospreys finished on top in their Welsh derby with the Dragons, winning 26-20 despite Wales winger Hallam Amos scoring a hat-trick.
The visitors scored three tries in the first half via Jeff Hassler, Rhys Webb and Dan Evans as they took a comfortable 19-8 lead into the interval.
Amos and Carl Meyer provided the Dragons’ response before the break with a touchdown and penalty respectively. Amos also crossed the whitewash in the second period but Sam Underhill’'s score sealed the win for the Ospreys, despite Meyer going over to make it a nervous final few minutes for the visitors.
Before their game with the Scarlets last weekend, Steve Tandy’'s men harboured a faint hope of reaching the playoffs. However, a defeat potentially proved catastrophic, not only to their top-four ambitions but also for their Champions Cup qualification.
A victory over the Dragons was therefore vital and, with their internationals now fully integrated following the Six Nations, the visitors began with pace and intensity.
Dan Biggar, as you would expect from one of the best fly-halves in the northern hemisphere, controlled proceedings neatly from the ten position and helped open the space for Hassler to touch down for the first try.
Dragons responded with a fine score of their own as Tyler Morgan’'s searing break was finished by Amos, but the Swansea-based outfit continued to look the most dangerous with ball in hand.
They were soon back ahead via Webb’'s snipe close to the line. Biggar was on target with the conversion as the Ospreys opened a seven-point buffer before matters got worse for the hosts following Rynard Landman’'s yellow card for a deliberate knock-on.
To their credit, Lyn Jones’ team managed to halt the opposition’s momentum while down to 14 men and reduced the deficit when Meyer kicked a penalty.
Ironically, it was only when Landman returned that Tandy'’s side regained their impetus and, after a spell of pressure, Evans crossed the whitewash out wide for a 19-8 advantage at the break.
The Dragons hit back minutes into the second with Amos once again proving to be the inspiration by grubbering ahead and recollecting for an excellent individual effort.
But a comeback never materialised and Underhill showed the type of power and dynamism which has England potentially looking at acquiring his services.
The back-rower, who has been a representative at U18 level for England, barged over the line for the game-sealing score.
Although Meyer touched down for Dragons late on to rescue a losing bonus-point, the Ospreys, despite receiving a late blow after an injury to Underhill, went away with the win.
Tries: Amos 3
Yellow Card: Landman
Tries: Hassler, Webb, Evans, Underhill
Cons: Biggar 3
Dragons: 15 Carl Meyer, 14 Ashton Hewitt, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Dorian Jones, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Taulupe Faletau (c), 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Lewis Evans, 5 Matthew Screech, 4 Rynard Landman, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price
Replacements: 16 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Nick Crosswell, 20 Ed Jackson, 21 Charlie Davies, 22 Geraint Rhys Jones, 23 Adam Hughes
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Hanno Dirksen, 13 Owen Watkin, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb (c), 8 James King, 7 Sam Underhill, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Rynier Bernardo, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Dan Lydiate, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jeff Hassler
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)
Assistant Referees: Ben Whitehouse, Sean Brickell (both WRU)
TMO: Paul Adams (WRU)