Alex Davidson/INPHO

Tipuric masterclass inspires Ospreys to emphatic win over wounded Leinster

Leinster still have some work to do in order to reach the play-offs as they became the third Irish side to lose post-Slam.

Ospreys 32

Leinster 18

Rob Cole reports from the Liberty Stadium

THERE IS STILL some work to do for Leinster to reach the Guinness Pro14 play-offs after the Ospreys outmuscled them to notch their first win over the Irish side since April 2014.

Justin Tipuric put in a masterly performance to spearhead a bonus-point triumph for the home side that made it three wins in a row in their mini-revival in an otherwise disastrous season. This was quite comfortably their best performance of the campaign.

Despite parading seven of the Irish Grand Slammers, Leinster were only ever ahead for five minutes in a game of ferocious physicality in which the eastern province lost three of their back division and the Opsryes two of their forwards to injuries.

The visitors hit the front with a seventh-minute penalty from in front of the Ospreys posts by Ross Byrne. Good approach work by Rory O’Loughlin, Scott Fardy and Fergus McFadden created the bridgehead in the Ospreys 22 and hands at the breakdown earned the penalty shot.

Some ferocious tackling in a no-quarter-asked, none-given first half led to both sides losing players to injuries. Ospreys back row man Olly Cracknell was the first to go and then Leinster lost three of their back division.

Fergus McFadden and Noel Reid went off for HIAs and didn’t return, and then Dave Kearney, who had replaced Reid in the 23rd minute, left after only 11 minutes with his shoulder in a sling. That forced a back line reshuffle with Joey Carberry moving from fullback to centre and Jamison Gibson-Park going in at fullback.

The Ospreys made the most of the disruption as they plundered three tries to move into a 19-3 lead to seemingly leave Leinster all at sea. But despite their successes, there was a late sting in the tail in the half as Barry Daly picked up a vital score.

The first two of the three home tries came from the Ospreys’ ‘Mr Reliable’, fullback Dan Evans, as he benefited from some neat approach work by Justin Tipuric and then Keiron Fonotia to score wide out on the left. Dan Biggar converted the first, but missed with his second attempt.

Justin Tipuric receives his man of the match medal from Paul Willoughby Justin Tipuric receives his man of the match medal Alex Davidson / INPHO Alex Davidson / INPHO / INPHO

No sooner had Kearney departed than Ashley Beck created the opening for scrum-half Tom Habberfield to dive over for the third try. Biggar had no problem with the conversion and all the home side had to do was defend the restart and head into the dressing room for a very sweet cup of tea.

But somehow Adam Byrne managed to out-jump Alun Wyn Jones to reclaim the kick-off, Sean Cronin crashed up the middle and Ross Byrne grubber-kicked into oceans of space behind the Ospreys defence to allow Daly to claim a much-needed try. It was confirmed by the TMO despite his feet being in touch in-goal.

The irrepressible Tipuric, off to play for Wales at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast next week, picked up the bonus-point try nine minutes after the break as he popped up a metre out to take a pass from Fonotia. Biggar added the extras to stretch the lead to 18 points.

Leinster needed to score next and a neat kick through from a driving maul 10 metres out by Luke McGrath allowed Rory O’Loughlin to race onto it and score a try that Carberry converted. Then the fullback-turned-centre stepped up to kick a penalty to give his side a sniff of a comeback with 20 minutes to go.

That hope didn’t last long, though, as Biggar kicked a penalty for hands at the breakdown to stretch the gap to 11 points. He also kicked another with the final act of the game


Ospreys: Tries: D Evans (13, 25), T Habberfield (38), J Tipuric (49); Cons: D Biggar 3; Pens: D Biggar 2

Leinster: Tries: B Daly (40), R O’Loughlin (53); Con: J Carberry; Pen: R Byrne, J Carberry


Ospreys: D Evans; J Hassler, K Fonotia, A Beck (O Watkin 58), H Dirksen; D Biggar, T Habberfield (M Aubrey 64); N Smith (R Jones 61), S Otten, D Arhip (M Fia 61), B Davies, AW Jones (capt), O Cracknell (R McCusker 11, A Beard 67), J Tipuric, S Cross
Reps Unused: I Phillips, S Davies

Leinster: J Carbery; F McFadden (A Byrne 16), R O’Loughlin, N Reid (D Kearney 23, J Gibson-Park 34), B Daly; R Byrne, L McGrath (captain); J McGrath (E Byrne 46), S Cronin (J Tracy 50), A Porter (M Bent 50), R Molony, S Fardy, J Murphy (M Deegan 54), J Murphy, J Conan (I Nagle 64)

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)

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