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Ospreys leave it late to climb to second place

WALES lock Ian Evans scored the only try of an intriguing west Wales derby at Par y Scarlets as the Ospreys rose to second in the RaboDirect PRO12 table.

Scarlets had been leading through two Rhys Priestland penalties until Evans went over from a line-out drive on 73 minutes.

The home side went through 21 phases in the final two minutes looking for the winning try but the Ospreys defence held firm in a memorable match.

The scoreline had been 3-0 to the Scarlets at the interval but that said little of an enthralling first half which was full of intensity from both sides.

There may be a civil war going on off the field between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions but a real battle ensued on the field.

The Scarlets went into the lead as early as the seventh minute when Ryan Jones was penalised at a ruck with Priestland converting the three points.

Ospreys had expected to win the battle up front but at the first scrum on halfway they were penalised. New Zealand wing Fraizer Climo, however, failed to double the lead.

On 20 minutes, Dan Biggar pulled a drop-goal attempt and the Ospreys best chance at a try did not come off when Canadian wing Jeff Hassler was bundled into touch just before he could get to the left corner.

Four minutes before the break Ospreys had a chance to level the scores when Scarlets prop Samson Lee was penalised at a scrum on halfway but Biggar's kick fell short – the outside-half's first miss in 36 attempts.

And uncharacteristically Biggar missed an easier attempt two minutes into the second half.

At the other end Priestland kicked his second penalty after Alun Wyn Jones had committed an offence at the line-out.

The match looked as if it had taken a major twist when Hanno Dirksen went over in the right corner bu,t after a long look at the replays, Television Match Official Tim Hayes ruled it out for a foot in touch.

With 12 minutes remaining, Biggar finally found his mark to break his team's duck with a penalty. And it was Biggar who gave his side great field position with a penalty kick to the corner and, from the resulting line-out, Evans went over.

* NEWPORT Gwent Dragons grabbed their first home win over rivals Cardiff Blues since March 2012 in a thrilling PRO12 clash at Rodney Parade.

Dragons outside-half Jason Tovey landed six out of six kicks with five penalties and the conversion of number eight Toby Faletau's first-half try in their 22-16 win.

The Blues were their own worst enemies at times as errors in the second half, during their best period of the match, meant they failed to add a further try to the effort of hooker Kristian Dacey, which full-back Leigh Halfpenny converted. Halfpenny also added a penalty and two more in the second half.

Belfast Telegraph


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