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Ospreys climb to second after victory in Newport

The Ospreys moved back up to second in the Guinness PRO12 by running out 10-0 winners against Newport Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade.

The West Walians started 2017 with a victory thanks to a try by Wales flanker Justin Tipuric and five points from the boot of international team-mate Dan Biggar.

The Dragons headed into the game in 10th place and on a run of five straight wins in all competitions in Newport but couldn't cause an upset despite the tricky conditions being something of a leveller.

The Ospreys responded after leaders Munster and Leinster enjoyed New Year's Eve derby wins against Connacht and Ulster respectively.

The game had to pass a pitch inspection with visiting head coach Steve Tandy clearly unhappy at it getting the green light. The four points would give him reason to smile at him failing to convince referee Ian Davies to call it off.

The going was extremely heavy on a surface that had been used 24 hours earlier when Newport County were thumped by Exeter and it was a predictably cagey affair with plenty of kicking.

The Ospreys struck for the only score of a hard-fought first half with Tipuric racing away for a 13th-minute try.

The openside was sent clear down the left by scrum-half Tom Habberfield and fellow back-row forward Olly Cracknell and had too much pace for the covering Dragons defence.

Biggar converted and the west Walians managed to safely negotiate a period down to 14 men when Habberfield was sin-binned for slapping the ball down at a ruck.

The Dragons, for whom Angus O'Brien pulled a penalty wide, had their moments but were able to power past the resolute Ospreys, for whom Alun Wyn Jones was a big presence.

It remained 7-0 at the break but the Liberty Stadium side started impressively in the second half and dominated possession and territory.

Penalties were kicked to the corner rather than between the posts in a bid to build a commanding lead but the Dragons held firm.

It remained a seven-point game approaching the hour and the Ospreys continued with their tactic to power over rather than go 10 clear, an approach that was hindered by a faltering lineout.

The Dragons had offered precious little threat with ball in hand but O'Brien was wide with a second penalty of the game from long range and Biggar secured the spoils from the tee in the 72nd minute.

The hosts went on the charge late on in a bid to salvage a bonus point for their honest toil but the visitors held firm.


From Belfast Telegraph