Planet Rugby

Ospreys too strong for Connacht

28th September 2013 18:57

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Dan Biggar Ospreys

Dan Biggar: 18 points

The Ospreys joined Glasgow at the top of the PRO12 table after securing a 43-26 victory over Connacht in Galway on Saturday.

Dan Biggar inspired the visitors to a bonus point win in a thrilling encounter at the Sportsground.

The Welsh international scored 18 points, including an interception try, as the Welsh side climbed above Glasgow to top the Pro12 table.

Richard Fussell, Eli Walker, Tito Tebaldi, Jeff Hassler and Lions hero Alun Wyn Jones all touched down for Steve Tandy's side who remain unbeaten this season.

Danie Poolman and Kieran Marmion both scored tries for the hosts who were eventually overwhelmed by a powerful Ospreys side. The defeat left Connacht level on points with bottom side Edinburgh ahead of next week's away trip to Treviso.

Connacht pegged the Welsh side deep into their own half in the opening stages and fly-half Craig Ronaldson kicked a penalty to give the hosts the lead after three minutes.

But the Ospreys were not behind for long as Biggar ran in an interception try from 40 metres out before adding the conversion to give the visitors the lead. After a slow start, the four-time league winners turned up the heat and soon scored a second try as Ian Evans charged up the field before the ball was smartly fed through the hands of the back-line, with Fussell finishing off the move. Biggar extended his side's lead with the conversion before Ronaldson responded for Connacht with his second penalty kick of the match.

It went from bad to worse for Pat Lam's side as Walker crossed over the whitewash in the corner for the Ospreys' third try with 30 minutes on the clock. Biggar and Ronaldson traded penalties before referee Andrew McMenemy had words with the Ospreys captain about their high penalty count.

Ronaldson added another three points to reduce the deficit to 10 points at the break before being replaced by former Scotland international Dan Parks after limping off with an injury.

Connacht piled on the pressure in the second half and the Ospreys' Lions studded pack eventually buckled as Poolman touched down after the hosts won the turnover in their own half. Parks added the conversion but the Ospreys hit-back in devastating style as scrum-half Tebaldi evaded three tackles to go under the posts and secure the bonus point. Biggar kicked the extras as the visitors opened up a 10 point lead with a quarter of the game left.

But Connacht responded once again as centre Griffin crossed over with Parks making it a seven point play in a frenetic eight minute spell.

Connacht failed to punish the Ospreys' poor discipline and the Welsh side made them pay as Canadian winger Hassler crashed over near the touchline for his side's fifth try. The impressive Biggar added the conversion before Alun Wyn Jones sealed the win with a simple try two minutes from time. Biggar kicked the extras to become the first Welshman to reach 1000 league points as the Ospreys claimed a second consecutive bonus point win.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Tries: Poolman, Griffin
Con: Parks 2
Pens: Ronaldson 4

For Ospreys:
Tries: Biggar, Fussell, Walker, Tebaldi, Hassler, AW Jones
Cons: Biggar 5
Pens: Biggar

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Danie Poolman, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Craig Ronaldson, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Jake Heenan, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Michael Swift (c), 3 Nathan White, 2 Sean Henry, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 James Rael, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Dan Parks, 23 Fionn Carr.

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ben John, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Morgan Allen, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (c), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Aaron Jarvis, 19 Tyler Ardron, 20 Joe Bearman, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Jonathan Spratt.

Referee: Andrew McMenemy (Scotland)

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