Ospreys cruise with Natoga treble
Fijian wing Aisea Natoga crossed for a hat-trick of tries as the Ospreys claimed a crucial bonus-point victory over Cardiff Blues in their quest for a RaboDirect Pro12 play-off spot.
The Liberty Stadium side dominated from first to last, claiming five tries to cement their position in fourth spot in the table.
With Wales international half-backs Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb enjoying an armchair ride, the home side revelled in a glut of possession and territory. And they were three tries to the good at half-time with man-of-the-match Natoga claiming two of them.
The one-sided nature of the contest continued after the break with Webb and Natoga again adding further scores with the hapless Blues offering little as they slumped to a fifth successive league defeat.
It was the first game for the Arms Park side without director of rugby Phil Davies, who resigned following their defeat to Zebre in Italy at the start of the month.
But there were no signs of any shoots of recovery under the guidance of Dale McIntosh and Paul John.
The Ospreys dominated the early exchanges and it came as no surprise when they crossed for the game's first try after nine minutes.
Wales international centre Ashley Beck made the initial break and after midfield partner Jonathan Spratt also sliced through, Beck finished off a well-worked overlap to touch down in the corner.
Biggar, one of the Ospreys' returning Six Nations stars, converted brilliantly from the touchline, but with their first foray into the home half, the Blues won a penalty, kicked by fly-half Gareth Davies.
Normal service was resumed, though, when the Ospreys claimed their second try on 15 minutes.
A clever grubber kick from Webb was poked through by Natoga and the Fijian won the race to the touchdown under the nose of an out of sorts Alex Cuthbert and Dan Fish.
A scrum penalty allowed Davies to reduce the deficit from 45 metres and the fly-half added another as home flanker Sam Lewis was penalised at the breakdown.
But with the Blues struggling to hold onto any sort of possession, the Ospreys were soon celebrating a third try with some lovely hands from full-back Sam Davies freeing Natoga for his second.
The Ospreys continued to press, but with the rain teeming down, handling errors cost them further scores and they had to settle for a 17-9 advantage at half-time.
They did not have to wait long after the restart to get the bonus point in the bag.
It came via a trademark snipe from Webb - although it needed a long look from television match official Derek Bevan before the score was awarded.
Biggar added a penalty, then Bevan was called on again to adjudge the Ospreys' fifth try, scored by Natoga, with the Fijian doing brilliantly to touch down in the corner.
Biggar's conversion extended the lead to 34-9 and the Blues' misery was compounded when wing Harry Robinson was stretchered off in the closing minutes.