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Ospreys fly to the summit with gritty win

By Robert Jones

Ospreys went top of the Guinness PRO12 table with a battling 13-9 away victory against Edinburgh.

Josh Matavesi's try was the only highlight in a rain-soaked first half, which ended with Ospreys 10-3 ahead, before a further penalty after the break from the excellent Sam Davies extended the visitors' grip on the match.

A pair of second-half penalties from Edinburgh's Duncan Weir brought the hosts to within four points, but they were unable to capitalise on an excellent field position in the closing minutes and succumbed to their fifth consecutive league defeat.

Edinburgh's Scotland international prop Alasdair Dickinson - making his first appearance since Boxing Day - was stretchered off after suffering an injury in the second half.

It was the hosts who showed the early impetus as Weir looked to exploit the Ospreys' flat defence with a number of deft chips while attacking the Welsh side's 22.

The Scotland fly-half then provided the game's first points as he slotted a tricky penalty.

The lead did not last long as minutes later Davies kicked a simple penalty of his own, following a high tackle in midfield.

Davies then turned provider as he sliced through Edinburgh's defence before his reverse flick set up Matavesi for the game's only try. With Davies chipping over the resulting conversion, Ospreys held a seven-point lead.

With the dreadful conditions acting as a leveller, the high-flying visitors struggled to convert their possession into any points and they were nearly made to pay as Sam Hidalgo-Clyne gathered Neil Cochrane's throw and the ball was worked through the back-line to Damien Hoyland, who was held up a metre short.

Edinburgh enjoyed more possession at the start of the second half and looked to have drawn level when a high-powered line-out drive brought the hosts' pack within inches of the whitewash, but a knock-on was called.

Another Davies penalty extended the Ospreys' lead before a pair of Weir penalties brought the score to 13-9.

Edinburgh had several opportunities to breach the Ospreys' defence, but another knock-on allowed the visitors to escape.

Belfast Telegraph


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