Mor­gan try the turn­ing point as derby ends in con­tro­ver­sial fash­ion

Llanelli Star - - Guinness Pro14 -

THE loss of Jake Ball to in­jury turned the ta­bles as the Ospreys ended the Scar­lets’ 10-match win­ning streak against Welsh op­po­si­tion in the Guin­ness PRO14.

The Scar­lets had been dom­i­nant, with their scrum on top, dur­ing the first half of an ab­sorb­ing en­counter in front of a crowd of 13,251 at Swansea’s Lib­erty Sta­dium.

That su­pe­ri­or­ity en­abled them to build a 9-6 lead, but pow­er­ful lock and renowned scrum­mager Ball failed to ap­pear for the se­cond half be­cause of dam­age to a shoul­der.

That weak­ened – prop Sam­son Lee de­parted later – their scrum and en­abled the Ospreys to take the ini­tia­tive and ex­tend an un­beaten home record stretch­ing back to the match with Glas­gow War­riors in No­vem­ber last year.

The vic­tory re­sulted in the Ospreys climb­ing to third in Con­fer­ence A, while the Scar­lets re­main fourth in Con­fer­ence B.

Winger Luke Mor­gan got the sole try for the Ospreys with a con­ver­sion, two sweet drop-goals and two penal­ties from im­pres­sive out­side-half Sam Davies be­ing cru­cial.

Scar­lets’ points came from two penal­ties from full-back Rhys Patchell and a late strike from sub­sti­tute Dan Jones.

It was 6-6 af­ter the open­ing quar­ter-of-an-hour, with Patchell twice putting the Scar­lets in front only for Davies to can­cel them out.

The weak­ness of the Ospreys scrum sur­faced as their South African tight­head Tom Botha went down il­le­gally for Patchell to step up to give the Scar­lets the lead for a third time.

The Scar­lets had a three-point lead at the con­clu­sion of the first half but, based on ter­ri­tory and pos­ses­sion, should have been fur­ther ahead.

Both teams had con­ceded some need­less penal­ties, but the Ospreys had a ma­jor prob­lem in they were in dan­ger of in­fring­ing ev­ery time they packed down at a scrum.

Botha had been warned by ref­eree Ben White­house, but re­acted by ask­ing: “What am I do­ing wrong?”

His scrum­mag­ing and that of the Ospreys im­proved in the se­cond half fol­low­ing the fail­ure of Ball to reap­pear.

The Ospreys then won a penalty fol­low­ing a chase of a kick, but Davies’ shot went wide off an up­right.

How­ever, they re­mained in the as­cen­dancy with Ge­orge North held up just short of the try-line by Scar­lets scrum-half Gareth Davies and sub­sti­tute wing St­eff Evans.

But it wasn’t long be­fore the break­through came, with cap­tain Justin Tipuric, scrum-half Aled Davies and Sam Davies com­bin­ing. Sam Davies’ pass went to ground off the back of Scar­lets’ Jonathan Davies. For­mer Wales Sev­ens star Mor­gan was on to the loose ball in a flash and hacked on be­fore win­ning the sprint for the try.

Sam Davies con­verted and the Ospreys were in front for the first time.

The pen­du­lum had swung with a fum­ble from Evans as he at­tempted to field an up-and-un­der from Aled Davies al­low­ing the Ospreys to claim pos­ses­sion.

And it led to a com­posed Sam Davies calmly land­ing cru­cial back-to-back drop-goals to give them a 10-point buf­fer.

A penalty from Dan Jones gave the Scar­lets a chance of pulling off at least a draw in the fi­nal few min­utes.

But their hopes ended de­spite get­ting a line-out af­ter White­house con­tro­ver­sially de­creed the sta­dium clock, which was show­ing time was up, was wrong and there were five sec­onds re­main­ing when Sam Davies belted the ball out of play.

How­ever, when Ryan Elias claimed pos­ses­sion he was bun­dled into touch to bring a halt to a po­ten­tial ‘clock­gate’ scan­dal and spark an end-of-match dust-up on the touch­line as tem­pers flared.

Luke Mor­gan beats Tom Pry­die to score a try.

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