Planet Rugby

Ospreys struggle past Connacht

21st February 2010 19:16

Share:

Mike Phillips Ospreys

Prodigal's Return: First game since October for Mike Phillips

The Ospreys went top of the Magners League despite an unconvincing performance, beating basement-dwelling Connacht 19-17 at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea on Sunday.

But the Welsh region were buoyed by the return of Lions scrum-half Mike Phillips. He came on at half-time for his first rugby since tearing ankle ligaments last October.

Dan Biggar, released for the match by the Wales squad, provided 14 points with a try and three penalties as the Ospreys just squeezed home.

Biggar found himself in the thick of the early action. First he missed a drop goal before being successful with a 45-metre penalty.

And then the 20-year-old was on hand to drag down Connacht hooker Sean Cronin to prevent a certain try.

Connacht drew level on 14 minutes with an Ian Keatley penalty.

Biggar then missed an easy penalty shot but from the restart the Ospreys scored a spectacular try. Full-back Gareth Owen ran in with real pace going through two men and then rounded the full-back as the home side led 8-3 after 19 minutes.

After a Connacht try was ruled out by the TV match official, despite number eight George Naoupu believing he had grounded the ball, the lively Irishmen breached the Ospreys' 22 only for Owen to pull off a fine tackle on scrum-half Connor O'Loughlin.

Connacht's endeavours were finally rewarded with a second penalty for Ian Keatley to reduce the Ospreys lead to 8-6 on 35 minutes.

In first-half injury time a flowing Ospreys attack ended with the award of a penalty which Biggar converted from the 22 to give his side an 11-6 interval lead.

Phillips emerged at half-time to a warm welcome from the home faithful and almost immediately the Ospreys opened up a 13-point lead with a penalty and try for Biggar within the first nine minutes of the restart.

Biggar went in at the left corner after receiving a reverse pass from Owen.

But any hopes of then going for the bonus point win had to be delayed after second row Ian Evans was yellow-carded for a high tackle, and with the extra man Connacht grabbed a try through hooker Sean Cronin.

And 19-11 became 19-14 as Keatley converted a penalty from in front of the posts.

In injury time, despite being down a man due to Gavin Duffy's sin-binning, Connacht then cut the deficit to just two points with Keatley's fourth penalty.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Tries: Owen, Biggar
Pens: Biggar 3

For Connacht:
Try: Cronin
Pens: Keatley 4

The teams:

Ospreys: 15 Gareth Owen, 14 Jonny Vaughton, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Nikki Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Jamie Nutbrown, 8 Filo Tiatia, 7 Marty Holah, 6 Tom Smith, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Ian Gough (c), 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Cai Griffiths, 18 Andy Lloyd, 19 Jerry Collins, 20 Mike Phillips, 21 Barry Davies, 22 Tom Prydie.

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Troy Nathan, 13 Niva Ta'auso, 12 Keith Mathews, 11 Fionn Carr, 10 Ian Keatley, 9 Frank Murphy, 8 George Naoupu, 7 Ray Ofisa, 6 John Muldoon, 5 Bernie Upton, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Robbie Morris, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Adrian Flavin, 17 Jamie Hagan, 18 Mike McCarthy, 19 Johnny O'Connor, 20 Conor O'Loughlin, 21 Adian Wynne, 22 Liam Bibo.

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 26
Waratahs vs Brumbies19:40
Crusaders vs Sharks19:35
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Super Rugby
Saturday , July 19
Brumbies 32 - 30 ChiefsBrumbies vs Chiefs Report
Sharks 31 - 27 HighlandersSharks vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 12
Crusaders 34 - 8 HighlandersCrusaders vs Highlanders Report
Reds 3 - 34 WaratahsReds vs Waratahs Report
Lions 60 - 25 CheetahsLions vs Cheetahs Report
Stormers 10 - 34 SharksStormers vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 11
Blues 8 - 11 ChiefsBlues vs Chiefs Report
Brumbies 47 - 25 Western ForceBrumbies vs Western Force Report
Bulls 40 - 7 Melbourne RebelsBulls vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Sunday , July 6
Waratahs 44 - 16 HighlandersWaratahs vs Highlanders Report
Saturday , July 5
Crusaders 21 - 13 BluesCrusaders vs Blues Report
Western Force 30 - 20 RedsWestern Force vs Reds Report
Stormers 16 - 0 BullsStormers vs Bulls Report
Cheetahs 27 - 20 SharksCheetahs vs Sharks Report
Friday , July 4
Chiefs 24 - 16 HurricanesChiefs vs Hurricanes Report
Lions 34 - 17 Melbourne RebelsLions vs Melbourne Rebels Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 28
South Africa 55 - 6 ScotlandSouth Africa vs Scotland Report
More International Match results
Super Rugby
Hurricanes 16 - 9 CrusadersHurricanes vs Crusaders Report
Waratahs 39 - 8 BrumbiesWaratahs vs Brumbies Report
Western Force 14 - 40 BluesWestern Force vs Blues Report
Friday , June 27
Highlanders 29 - 25 ChiefsHighlanders vs Chiefs Report
Melbourne Rebels 20 - 36 RedsMelbourne Rebels vs Reds Report
More Super Rugby results
International Match
Saturday , June 21
Australia 39 - 13 FranceAustralia vs France Report
South Africa 31 - 30 WalesSouth Africa vs Wales Report
New Zealand 36 - 13 EnglandNew Zealand vs England Report
More International Match results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00