Leinster continue winning run with hard-fought defeat of Ospreys

The hosts recovered from a slow start to hold a surprise 10-7 lead at half-time.

Leinster's James Lowe is tackled by Aled Davies of Ospreys.
Leinster's James Lowe is tackled by Aled Davies of Ospreys.
Image: Ryan Hiscott/INPHO

Ospreys 13

Leinster 21

STEFFAN THOMAS reports from The Gnoll.

LEINSTER REMAIN UNBEATEN this season after a hard-fought 21-13 victory over the Ospreys at the Gnoll in Neath.

Despite being under the cosh for large parts of the game Leo Cullen’s side were far more clinical than their Welsh opponents and have now won 12 Guinness PRO14 fixtures on the bounce.

Leinster’s previous visit to Neath had seen them win 36-25 in November 2003 with former Ireland and British & Irish Lions centres Brian O’Driscoll and Gordan D’Arcy both crossing the whitewash that day

Tries from Tommy O’Brien, Josh Murphy and Cian Kelleher and the boot of Ciaran Frawley kept the Irish raiders at the summit of Conference A, but they had to work very hard for this victory. All the Ospreys could muster was a Luke Morgan try and eight points from the boot of Luke Price.

Ospreys out-half Luke Price struck a post with a monster early penalty effort from halfway, but after being forced into action as an early replacement, it was O’Brien who opened the scoring.

From a ruck Leinster moved the ball nicely to the blindside and quick hands – captain Scott Fardy delivered the crucial pass – sent O’Brien over. Frawley converted.

Ospreys centre Kieran Williams came close to a response with a barnstorming run and Price missed another penalty while Williams also produced a fine turnover with Leinster on the attack.

Price finally put the Ospreys on the board just before the break and it soon got better for the visitors.

Leinster continued to attack from deep but a key error from Jimmy O’Brien in midfield allowed Morgan to swoop up the ball with the one cap Wales wing running in unopposed from 50 metres out. Price converted which meant Leinster turned around 10-7 behind.

Leinster started the second 40 minutes on the attack as they began to build pressure on the Ospreys tryline. And after Rhys Ruddock was held up just short of the line the ball was recycled for Murphy to power over from short range with Frawley converting.

The visitors forced replacement Ospreys hooker Sam Parry to be yellow-carded for a professional foul which inevitably put the Ospreys under severe pressure. And with a man advantage, wing Kelleher waltzed over in the corner from Rowan Osbourne’s pass following some powerful carrying by the visiting forwards.

Byrne converted to secure a well-earned victory for the province.

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Scorers for Ospreys:

Tries: L Morgan 40

Conversions: L Price 41

Penalties: L Price 39, 61

Scorers for Leinster:

Tries: T O’Brien 19, J Murphy 49, C Kelleher 74

Conversions: C Frawley 20, 50, H Byrne 75

Ospreys: C Evans (J Hook 55); H Dirksen (S Otten 74), O Watkin, K Williams (T Thomas-Wheeler 58), L Morgan; L Price, A Davies (S Venter 64); N Smith (G Thomas 70), S Otten (S Parry 55), S Gardiner (G Gajion 47), A Beard (L Ashley 78), B Davies, D Lydiate, O Cracknell, D Baker (S Cross 50).

Leinster: H Keenan; C Kelleher, J O’Brien, C O’Brien (T O’Brien 19) (H Byrne 71), J Lowe; C Frawley, J Gibson-Park (R Osborne 70); P Dooley (M Milne 70), J Tracy (S Cronin 55), M Bent (J Aungier 70), R Molony, S Fardy (J Dunne 78), J Murphy (R Baird 65), S Penny, R Ruddock.

Attendance: 3,164

Andy Dunne and Murray Kinsella join Gavan Casey to tee you up for Sunday’s big one. The lads try to figure out where the winning and losing of the game will be, field a The42 member’s question as to what extent the media plays a role in Ireland’s performance, and Andy explains why Henry Tuilagi haunts his dreams at night.

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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