Planet Rugby

Ospreys storm past Connacht

17th February 2007 19:29

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The Ospreys bounced back from being 8-10 down to thrash Connacht 31-10 and go third in the Magners League on Saturday.

Wales hopeful Lee Byrne did his hopes of a start in the Six Nations in Paris next week, supplying 15 of his team's 31 points, including an excellent kicking display after Shaun Connor had been taken off with an injury.

The Ospreys totted up 23 unanswered points during the second period, and although it was never a classic it gave Byrne, Shane Williams, Jonathan Thomas and Brent Cockbain all useful run-outs in front of watching Wales coach Gareth Jenkins.

The opening 40 minutes never really got going although Connacht were always the more inventive with Paul Warwick varying play throughout.

But it was the Ospreys who broke a 29-minute deadlock with a penalty goal for outside-half Shaun Connor after the Irish province were adjudged offside.

The home side's lead was shortlived however, with Warwick levelling after the Ospreys also went offside in their own half.

In the final two minutes of the half both defences were guilty of lapses.

First the Ospreys allowed Warwick to get a pass away in the tackle giving full-back David Slemen room to go over for a converted try by the posts.

But on the stroke of the interval the Ospreys got their first meaningful passing movement together with wing Nikki Walker having two significant parts to play in it before Byrne went over in the right corner.

It ended a pretty solid first 40 minutes for Byrne, who is being tipped to play full-back for Wales in Paris next Saturday with Kevin Morgan out injured.

And with an injury to Connor, Byrne took over the kicking duties in the second half.

Though he missed his first two attempts at goal he was successful with his next three.

Two penalties were followed by his conversion of skipper Paul James' try which followed the sin-binning of Connacht's replacement flanker Matt Lacey.

The Ospreys points kept on coming after that.

First Shane Williams put over a 30-metre drop-goal attempt and there was then a penalty try as the home pack put the squeeze on at a five-metre scrum.

The scorers:

For the Ospreys:

Tries: Byrne, James, Penalty try

Cons: Byrne 2

Pens: Connor, Byrne 2

Drop goal: Williams

For Connacht:

Try: Slemen

Con: Warwick

Pen: Warwick

Yellow card: Lacey (65, Connacht)

Connacht team: 15 David Slemen, 14 Darren Yapp, 13 John Hearty, 12 Mark McHugh, 11 Daniel Riordan, 10 Paul Warwick, 9 Conor O¹Loughlin, 8 Colm Rigney, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Ryan Strudwick, 4 David Gannon, 3 Stephen Knoop, 2 John Fogarty (C), 1 Brett Wilkinson.

Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Brett Sturgess, 18 Michael Swift, 19 Matt Lacey, 20 Chris Keane, 21 Gavin Williams, 22 Peter Durcan.

Ospreys: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Tal Selley, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Shaun Connor, 9 Justin Marshall, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Richard Pugh, 6 Lee Beach, 5 Mike Powell, 4 Brent Cockbain, 3 Andrew Millward, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Paul James (c).

Replacements: 16 Barry Williams, 17 Adam Jones, 18 Chris Martenko, 19 Tom Smith, 20 Jason Spice, 21 Jonathan Vaughton, 22 Stefan Terblanche.

Referee: Andy Macpherson (Scotland)

Touch judges: Matthew Aplin, Huw Williams

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