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Ospreys snatch final play-off spot after hard-fought win at Cardiff

01 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Liberty Stadium rugby.jpg by Chris Jobling from Swansea, UK, Wales is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

A bonus-point 33-29 win for Ospreys over a battling Cardiff saw them squeeze into the BKT United Rugby Championship play-offs where they face a trip to Munster next weekend.

Cardiff were in contention throughout but two tries from international prop Nicky Smith and others from Justin Tipuric and Luke Morgan proved just enough. They were also awarded a penalty try with Dan Edwards adding three conversions.

Mason Grady scored two of Cardiff’s tries with Theo Cabango and Gabriel Hamer-Webb also on the try-scoring sheet. Ben Thomas kicked a penalty and two conversions with Tinus de Beer adding a conversion.

Early lead

Ospreys began strongly to take an early lead when Smith forced his way over from close range but moments later Cardiff drew level when Cabango ran elusively to squeeze over in the corner for a splendid individual try.

However, Cabango’s joy was short-lived as he was soon helped off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Hamer-Webb.

With both sides keen to play in an attacking fashion, it resulted in an exciting spectacle with Ospreys picking up the next score thanks to the excellence of Tipuric.

First the skipper nailed Cameron Winnett to win a penalty for not releasing. He then quickly took the penalty to put the Cardiff defence on the back-foot and was then on hand to take a difficult scoring pass from Edwards after Keelan Giles had beaten a couple of defenders.

Cardiff soon came close to responding when Grady won the race to a chip ahead but was unable to secure the touchdown but it mattered little as the wing was almost immediately on the scoresheet when he supported a break from Ben Thomas.

De Beer missed the touchline conversion so the game was tied at 12-12 at half-time but five minutes after the restart the South African fly-half hobbled off.

Forward drives

Worse was to follow as Ospreys scored their third try when Smith finished off a succession of forward drives but their opponents remained in the hunt with a penalty from captain Thomas.

Thomas missed with another more difficult kick and Ospreys then broke out with a kick and chase from Edwards.

Pressure was maintained and from a close-range set scrum, Morgan Morris and Max Nagy created the space for Morgan to dash over.

Spirited Cardiff would not lie down and skilful passing sent Hamer-Webb over but a late red card for Seb Davies for a head-high challenge on Owen Watkin ended their challenge with a penalty try award soon following.

Still Cardiff had the final say with Grady scoring scoring a second after Ospreys’ Luke Davies was yellow-carded to earn the home side a well-deserved two bonus points.

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