Planet Rugby

Ospreys claim the Celtic crown

12th May 2007 19:35

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Sonny Parker

The Ospreys were crowned champions of the Magners League on Saturday, following a hard-fought 24-16 win over Borders at Netherdale.

Borders bowed out of existence with a roar rather than a whimper but they could not stop the jittery Ospreys claiming crown.

Reivers had so badly wanted to mark their passing with a positive display - and they made the Welshmen battle for their triumph.

And there were conflicting emotions as the final whistle sounded at Netherdale, the visitors whooping in delight and relief - the hosts fighting back tears of pride and frustration.

It took the Ospreys only five minutes to get into their stride as breakaway forward Filo Tiatia hurtled through a wide midfield gap from 10 metres, giving James Hook a simple conversion.

Borders hit back in stirring style and they thought they had scored when Nick de Luca dived on the ball - however referee Alain Rolland whistled for a knock-on a split second earlier.

Reivers kept up the momentum and they narrowed the gap midway through the half as Calum MacRae slotted a penalty after former home-club hero Nikki Walker failed to release the ball in contact.

Ospreys were unlucky not to be handed a penalty try when MacRae committed a deliberate knock-on when Shane Williams looked certain to score.

Hook then jumped back into the spotlight two minutes before the interval as he left four defenders for dead before releasing Sonny Parker for a simple try - converted by the creator.

Reivers clawed back a glimmer of hope with a stoppage-time penalty from MacRae after another tackle-scene offence by Walker.

Walker almost atoned for his errors as he embarked on a sprint down the right flank, only to put his foot in touch five metres short of the target.

Then came the moment the Borders appeared to be killed off. Williams launched a sizzling move which ended with Parker cruising in for his double.

Hook slotted the kick from a wide angle on the right.

But Reivers refused to buckle completely and Glasgow-bound prop Ed Kalman slid in for a consolation score. MacRae added the awkward conversion.

He then clipped over an immediate penalty to throw the match back into the melting pot.

But they could not complete the revival and Hook made sure for the Ospreys with a last-gasp penalty.

The scorers:

For Border:

Try: Kalman

Con: MacRae

Pens: MacRae 3

For the Ospreys:

Tries: Tiatia, Parker 2

Cons: Hook 3

Pens: Hook

More to follow...

The teams:

Border Reivers: 15 Stuart Moffat, 14 Dougie Flockhart, 13 Ben MacDougall, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Calum MacRae, 10 Gregor Townsend (c), 9 Rob Chrystie, 8 Kelly Brown, 7 Andy Miller, 6 Scott Gray, 5 Opeta Palepoi, 4 Stuart Grimes, 3 Bruce Douglas, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Gavin Kerr,

Replacements: 16 Steve Scott, 17 Ed Kalman, 18 Craig Hamilton, 19 John Dalziel, 20 Brendan McKerchar, 21 Steve Jones, 22 Garry Law / Bryan Rennie

Ospreys: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 James Hook, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Shaun Connor, 9 Jason Spice, 8 Filo Tiatia, 7 Richie Pugh, 6 Jonathan Thomas, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Brent Cockbain, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Duncan Jones.

Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Paul James, 18 Mike Powell, 19 Lee Beach, 20 Martin Roberts, 21 Andrew Bishop, 22 Jonny Vaughton.

Referee: Alain Rolland(Ireland)

Touch judges: Iain Ramage (Scotland), Peter Carruthers (Scotland)

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