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Ospreys 28 Cardiff 26

First Team News | 6th October 2023

Cardiff Rugby claimed four tries as they continued their pre-season preparations with a slender 28-26 defeat to the Ospreys.

The Blue and Blacks (wearing pink and black) led at half-time thanks to tries from Liam Belcher and James Botham.

But a more experienced Ospreys second-half side, battled back with Jack Walsh creating one and scoring another of the home side’s three tries after the interval. 

The Blue and Blacks snatched a fourth try thanks to Theo Cabango late on but Arwel Robson’s touchline conversion sailed left of the uprights.

However, Cardiff who utilised their full 30-man squad early on, would be pleased with many elements of their performance ahead of the BKT United Rugby Championship.

They kick off the season at the Arms Park against Benetton Rugby on Saturday, October 21.

An error-strewn opening period burst into life as the Ospreys kicked a second penalty to the corner in search of the first score.

They hammered at a physical Cardiff defence, which stood firm and stole a turnover penalty thanks to the good work of Liam Belcher. Sensing space down the blind-side Ellis Bevan tapped quickly on his own five metre line and released Owen Lane.

Lane scorched out of his twenty-two and kicked ahead but the Ospreys won the race and then launched their own counter-attack. 

This time is was Keelan Giles who broke clear and kicked ahead with the ball bouncing cruelly away from Jacob Beetham but into the hands of Keiron Assiratti.

Moments later, Cardiff broke clear again with Tinus de Beer making a half break from within his own half and getting his hands beyond contact to offload to Rhys Carré. 

The giant loose-head stormed forward and drew Max Nagy perfectly with Rey Lee-Lo on his left but the centre did not have the pace to outstripped Luke Morgan to the corner. 

Following a succession of penalties, the Ospreys opened the scoring on 23 minutes, although Cardiff could feel hard done by not to be rewarded at the breakdown. 

With momentum behind them, the Ospreys attacked intelligently around the fringes and following an intense period of pressure, they quickly worked the numbers down the short side to send Dom Morris over. 

Owen Williams converted from the touchline and the Ospreys continued to turn the screw with only the good work of Cardiff at the breakdown ensuring the score remained 7-0.

Cardiff were unfortunate not to hit back as the half hour mark approached after a long pass found Teddy Williams galloping down the left. He bundled into two defenders , offloading in an attempt to put Lane away but an Ospreys hand knocked the ball forward.

Without the luxury on TMO replays, only a scrum was awarded. Cardiff crossed from the set-piece with Theo Cabango collecting a long De Beer pass but it was adjudged forward by referee Adam Jones.

Fortunately Cardiff were playing with the advantage and after kicking to the corner, the pack rumbled over with Liam Belcher touching down. De Beer knocked over the extras to level the scores. 

Cardiff continued to threaten on the counter with a Beetham collect and offload releasing Cabango down the left. The electric wing skipped past Luke Morgan and raced towards Nagy before grubbering inside for Bevan. 

The scrum-half was just beaten to the ball but the Ospreys conceded a penalty and Cardiff opted to scrum. The set-piece was solid and Botham broke from the back before wrestling over. De Beer was on target, making the scores 14-7 to the Blue and Blacks at the interval. 

Cardiff made nine changes at the interval, introducing more of their up and coming talent while Ospreys opted for just the two. 

The home side struck just minutes into the second-half with Jack Walsh jinking through and releasing Keelan Giles. Walsh then converted to make it all square.

Walsh gave the Ospreys the lead when he skipped and bundled his way over on 65 minutes, before stretching it to 21-14.

It took only minutes for Cardiff to respond however as they attacked coast to coast. First a Harri Millard offload put Cabango into space. The ball was then spread wide to Cam Winnett, who drew the last man to put Aled Summerhill away. Robson continued where De Beer left off, converting from the touchline, to make it 21-21. 

However, the Blue and Blacks soon shot themselves in the foot when a miss-aimed pass off loose ball opened the door for the Ospreys to claim a soft try through Morgan Morse. Walsh converted once more to restore the home side’s seven-point advantage. 

Cardiff almost snatched a share of the spoils in the closing stages when quick hands from Cam Winnett and electric feet from Millard put Cabango away, however Robson’s touchline conversion sailed agonisingly wide.