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
European Rugby Champions Cup
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster 14 - 3 SaracensMunster vs Saracens Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Grenoble 15 - 25 London Irish
La Rochelle 25 - 13 Bayonne
Brive 21 - 26 Zebre
Edinburgh 25 - 17 LOU Rugby
Newport Gwent D'gons 26 - 30 Newcastle
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615