Ospreys 27 - 21 Cardiff Rugby
HT 5-18
Mon 01 January 15:00 The Brewery Field Ref: Adam Jones United Rugby Championship

Ospreys 27-21 Cardiff

Mon 1 Jan 2024 16:00 Ospreys 27-21 Cardiff

Cardiff Rugby began the new year by sliding to a brave defeat in awful conditions in front of a full house at Bridgend’s Brewery Field.


Matt Sherratt’s team produced an excellent first half display in this BKT URC Welsh derby to lead 18-5 at the break through tries from wings Owen Lane and Mason Grady.


They were still ahead going into the final quarter, but the Ospreys completed their comeback with Keelan Giles going over for his second touchdown five minutes from time to add to a superb individual effort from 18-year-old No 8 Morgan Morse.


Ultimately, the penalty count told against Cardiff as forwards James Botham and Josh Turnbull were both yellow carded in the second half, but they do have the consolation of coming away with a losing bonus point.


The game was played out in relentless rain, with increasingly heavy conditions underfoot, making it difficult for both sides, with much of the action surrounding the forwards and a kicking contest.


It was the Ospreys who applied the early pressure and they opened the scoring in the eighth minute through left winger Giles’ first try.


Full-back Jack Walsh was the man who showed quick hands to deliver the key pass in midfield as the ball was moved left, with Giles delivering a sharp in-out finish.


It took a while for Cardiff to build an attacking opportunity of their own in the opposition 22, but when they did, they made the most of it.


After Tomos Williams took a quick tap, there were a series of carries from the forwards as the whitewash drew ever closer. Then, with referee Adam Jones playing advantage, they opted to turn to the men outside and it paid off, with the half-backs feeding Cam Winnett who threw a long pass to Owen Lane.


Winger Lane still had plenty of work to do, but did it well, cutting back inside Giles and riding the tackle of Walsh to touch down, with Ospreys flanker Harri Deaves having to leave the field after taking a bang to the head as he attempted to prevent the score.


Just three minutes later, Cardiff claimed their second try through winning the aerial battle. Following a spectacular cricket-style take from fly-half Tinus de Beer, the continued kicking culminated in Winnett sending an up-and-under skyward, with the chasing Mason Grady winning the contest in the air with Walsh and running in from 45 metres, having the time to celebrate before crossing between the posts.


De Beer added the conversion and he and fellow half-back Tomos Williams were increasingly controlling play through their kicking, with No 9 Williams putting in a couple of telling dinks over the top as the pair varied their work with the boot.


The visitors were also succeeding in turning opportunity into points, with De Beer adding two penalties as the rain hammered down, firstly after hooker Sam Parry went offside and then following handling on the floor by Morse.


The half ended as it began with the Ospreys applying pressure, first kicking a penalty to the corner and then opting for a scrum under the posts rather than a simple three points.


But Cardiff held firm, with lock Seb Davies producing a crucial piece of jackal work near his own line as former Arms Park forward James Ratti was penalised for not releasing.


That meant the sides left the field at the break with the visitors leading by 13 points.


With Deaves’ replacement Tristan Davies failing a HIA, Wales hooker Dewi Lake came on at flanker for the Ospreys at the start of the second half, reverting to a position he once played in.


Eight minutes after the resumption, the hosts came back into the game when a lineout maul drive earned them a penalty try and a man advantage with Cardiff flanker Botham being yellow carded.


The hosts responded with a fourth successful kick at goal from De Beer and looked set to see out the ten minute sin bin period, only for young Ospreys No 8 Morse to score a remarkable solo try.


Gathering the ball some 45 metres out, the teenager stepped past three defenders and managed to slide over the line as the cover swarmed around him, with replacement fly-half Dan Edwards adding the conversion.


That cut the deficit to two points going into the final quarter, with the injured De Beer leaving the field to be replaced by Jacob Beetham, which meant Ben Thomas moving to fly-half from the centre.


The Ospreys then went ahead through a Edwards penalty which was followed by Mackenzie Martin and Josh Turnbull coming on to join the Cardiff pack.


Second row Turnbull has only been on the field for a couple of minutes when he was yellow cards as the penalties mounted.


Five minutes from time, the hosts sealed their win when the impressive Edwards chipped towards the left corner and Giles kicked on to claim his second score.