RaboDirect PRO12 match report: Ospreys too strong for Newport Gwent Dragons
Last Updated: 22/03/13 9:34pm
Ospreys moved into the top four of the RaboDirect PRO12 table following an emphatic 52-19 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.
The Welsh province made their mark early on courtesy of tries from Kahn Fotuali'I and Tom Haberfield with Ashley Beck adding a third before half time.
Tom Isaacs, Dan Biggar, who also kicked 13 points, touched down after the break along with Dimitri Arhip and Justin Tipuric while Daniel Evans and substitute Toby Falatau scored Newport's second half tries at the Liberty Stadium.
Ospreys fielded all six of the players who had helped Wales resoundingly thump England last weekend, and Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Biggar and the superb Tipuric enjoyed a comfortable return to regional action.
But the most telling return of the night could yet prove to be that of Dan Lydiate. The Wales flanker made his first appearance in six months for the visitors after recovering from a broken ankle.
The tough-tackling back-rower has limited time to try and force his way into Lions contention, but made some typical juddering challenges before being replaced as planned at half-time.
But even Lydiate's presence could do little to halt the home side, who had the game effectively won when they raced into a 14-0 lead inside eight minutes.
First, Fotuali'i took a penalty in front of the posts quickly to catch the visiting defence napping and dot down under the bar, before sharp hands from centre Jonathan Spratt sent Habberfield scampering over.
Jones got the Dragons on the scoreboard with a penalty but they were soon under pressure again and centre Beck was allowed to stroll over unopposed after a simple switch with Fotuali'i.
Biggar and Jones exchanged penalties just past the half hour as the Dragons briefly stemmed the tide, but they still trailed 24-6 at the break.
The Ospreys took just two minutes of the second half to secure the bonus-point as Tipuric snaffled a loose ball to allow Richard Fussell and Fotuali'i to put Isaacs in.
The Dragons battled gamely as full-back Evans finished a fine passage of play and fly-half Jones' third penalty made it 31-14. But the hosts reasserted their authority as Biggar sauntered over.
The game was now wide open, and Faletau gave a reminder of his power and speed by racing in from 35 metres off a strong Dragons scrum.
But it was the Ospreys who had the last word as replacement Arhip burrowed over and Tipuric, man of the match against England last week, was rewarded for another wonderful display by popping up out wide to field Morgan's cross-kick and scoring in the corner.
Sat 16th May
Cardiff Blues29 - 5Zebre
Connacht20 - 24Ospreys
Edinburgh23 - 36Leinster
Glasgow Warriors32 - 10Ulster
Munster50 - 27Dragons
Treviso13 - 17Scarlets
Fri 22nd May - Semi-final
Glasgow Warriors0 - 0Ulster
Sat 23rd May - Semi-final
Munster0 - 0Ospreys