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Blues Under 18s Fall At Final Hurdle

30th December 2006

The Ospreys U18 retained their Regional Championship crown with a 22-15 victory over the Blues at Llandovery.

On a day spoilt by the conditions, heavy rain and high wings making life particularly difficult, the holders came out on top. The Blues took the lead on ten minutes courtesy of a penalty from Joe Deacon, but the Ospreys struck back a minute later when prolific wing Liam Osowicsz nipped around the blind side for a try that Daniel Biggar converted.

After that, it was very much a nip and tuck affair with both sides posing problems. It was the Blues who struck next, scrum half Rhys Downes tapping a penalty from five metres and reaching out for the line. Deacon converted for a 10-7 lead and the Blues, with the wind at their backs, looked well set to kick on and rattle up a healthy half time advantage. However, when full back James Loxton fluffed a clearance kick on his own line, centre Ashley Beck was on hand to cross for a try Biggar failed to convert.

Leading 12-10 at the interval, the Ospreys themselves fancied their chances of pushing on and taking the game away from a Blues side who had beaten them twice in the regular season. Unfortunately, when the kick off was dropped, the Blues assumed a position of promise and wing Joe Xiberas was sent in at the corner for a 15-12 lead.

Biggar levelled matters with a penalty and in the final quarter and with the conditions worsening, full back Chris Lewis handed the Ospreys the title when he chipped over Loxton and followed up to cross for a try Biggar converted.

It was just about deserved for the Ospreys although they had to withstand some heavy Blues pressure in the final ten minutes.

In the third place play off, the Scarlets defeated the Dragons 20-11 after trailing 11-0 just before half time.