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Ospreys take over at the top of the table after sinking Dragons in Welsh derby

Published 29/10/2016

Keelan Giles impressed for Ospreys in the defeat of Dragons.
Keelan Giles impressed for Ospreys in the defeat of Dragons.

A weakened Ospreys went to the top of the Guinness PRO12 table with a comfortable bonus point win over Dragons in the Welsh derby at the Liberty Stadium.

The home side, who have now beaten Dragons 10 times in a row, registered five tries in the 35-17 success with wing Keelan Giles crossing twice to take his tally to eight tries in four games.

There were other tries from scrum-half Tom Habberfield, hooker Sam Baldwin, and replacement scrum-half Brendan Leonard with man of the match Josh Matavesi converting all five.

The Dragons scored two late tries through Matthew Screech and Pat Howard, both converted by Rhys Jones, with Nick Macleod kicking a first half penalty.

Flanker Dan Lydiate, a former Dragon, and hooker Scott Baldwin started for Ospreys after being released by Wales.

However Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb, Sam Davies and seven forwards were absent because of Wales commitments. Without fly-halves Biggar and Davies, centre Matavesi stepped up to wear the number 10 jersey.

The Dragons were without three Wales squad players but former Wales international Tavis Knoyle made his first start for the visitors after being released by Cardiff Blues.

Ospreys went into half-time14-3 up - but they did not have things all their own way in the opening quarter.

First Macleod kicked a fourth minute penalty following a high tackle, before prop Dmitri Arhip found himself in the sin bin after short-arming Ed Jackson.

That put the home side on the back foot but Dragons failed to make the most of the one-man advantage.

And, back to 15 men Ospreys, scored their opening try on 22 minutes when Habberfield squeezed over after darting down the blindside of a five-metre scrum.

Ospreys continued to pile on the pressure but the second try did not come until the 40th minute when Baldwin crashed over after coming off the back of a drive from a lineout.

The chance of the second try had come after a good work from Matavesi, who had sent Giles on a 30-metre run.

Giles lit up the start of the second half when he was put over by a fine offload from Matavesi.

The wing was at it again 12 minutes later when he kicked a loose ball upfield and sprinted away to slide in by the posts for the bonus point.

Replacement Leonard ran in for the fifth try before Dragons struck back, with tries for Screech and Howard crossing.

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