Play­off bid goes west as Ospreys fall again

The Rugby Paper - - Guinness Pro12 - ■ By ALEX BYWATER

STEVE Tandy blasted his play­ers’ poor at­ti­tude as Ospreys were thrashed 35-17 by the Blues on Judge­ment Day - their first PRO12 de­feat to the Cardiff side since 2010.

The re­sult made it four straight de­feats for the Ospreys, who looked de­void of ideas through­out.

Ba­sic er­rors and an in­abil­ity to re­tain pos­ses­sion cost Steve Tandy’s men dear and they look a far cry from the side so im­pres­sive in the first half of the sea­son. They will now have to win both of their re­main­ing PRO 12 games to se­cure a play-off spot and on this show­ing, that looks a tough ask.

Tandy said: “I def­i­nitely didn’t see that com­ing. We turned over about 70 per cent of our ball and the Blues dom­i­nated us at the break­down. We didn’t show enough de­sire or at­ti­tude and you don’t of­ten see that in an Ospreys’ chang­ing room.

“There will be a lot of soul search­ing and re­flec­tion and I’m re­ally de­flated to see that kind of per­for­mance. We need an at­ti­tude shift if we are to chal­lenge Ul­ster in our next game.

“We can’t hide from the dis­ap­point­ment – the ba­sic el­e­ments of our game were nowhere to be seen.”

While the Ospreys played their part in their demise, the Blues were ex­cel­lent with Gareth An­scombe a shin­ing light. The Wales fly-half crossed for a try of his own in the sec­ond half, while Kris­tian Dacey, Lloyd Wil­liams and Nick Wil­liams all scored be­fore the break.

Tau Filise, who turns 40 next month, scored the Blues’ fourth prior to An­scombe’s ef­fort and although Dan Evans and Paul James grabbed late con­so­la­tions, but there was no doubt­ing who de­served to win. An­scombe added five con­ver­sions to guide his side home.

The Ospreys didn’t get go­ing in the first half and al­lowed the Blues to cross for three sim­ple scores.

First, Dacey dived over in the cor­ner from the back of a ruck. An­scombe’s con­ver­sion bounced off the up­right and went wide, but the kick was given by touch judges Sean Gal­lagher and Gwyn Mor­ris.

Sam Davies nar­rowed the away deficit with a penalty, but close-range fin­ishes from the two Wil­liams’ put the Blues in to­tal con­trol. It was sim­ple, but ef­fec­tive rugby from the Blues and two more con­ver­sions from im­pres­sive fly-half An­scombe gave them a healthy half­time lead.

Tandy’s side failed to make the most of Alex Cuth­bert’s yel­low card for tak­ing out Dan Evans in the air prior to the break and the game was over as a con­test by the hour mark.

Filise and An­scombe crossed within three min­utes of each other and with the lat­ter adding both sets of ex­tras, the Blues were home and hosed. The fi­nal quar­ter saw the Ospreys

score through Evans and re­place­ment for­ward James, but it was too lit­tle, too late de­spite An­scombe’s yel­low for foul play.

Blues head coach Danny Wil­son said: “It was a very good per­for­mance made even bet­ter by win­ning on such a big oc­ca­sion.

“We fronted up phys­i­cally and the Ospreys strug­gled to deal with that. We’d scored five tries by the 50th minute mark and to do that against a de­fence like that was pleas­ing.

“It’s a great re­ward for the sup­port­ers. This game had a cup fi­nal feel.”

PIC­TURE: Huw Evans

Man-of-match: Gareth An­scombe dives in for Cardiff Blues

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