RaboDirect PRO12: Ospreys too strong for Connacht at the Sportsground
Last Updated: 28/09/13 7:29pm
Dan Biggar: 18 points in an inspirational display
The Ospreys joined Glasgow at the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table after a 43-26 victory over Connacht in Galway.
Dan Biggar inspired the visitors to a bonus point win in a thrilling encounter at the Sportsground, scoring 18 points, including an interception try.
Richard Fussell, Eli Walker, Tito Tebaldi, Jeff Hassler and Lions hero Alun Wyn Jones all touched down for Steve Tandy's side who remain unbeaten this season.
Danie Poolman and Kieran Marmion both scored tries for the hosts who were eventually overwhelmed by a powerful Ospreys side. The defeat left Connacht level on points with bottom side Edinburgh ahead of next week's away trip to Treviso.
Connacht pegged the Welsh side deep into their own half in the opening stages and fly-half Craig Ronaldson kicked a penalty to give the hosts the lead after three minutes.
But the Ospreys were not behind for long as Biggar ran in an interception try from 40 metres out before adding the conversion to give the visitors the lead.
After a slow start, the four-time league winners turned up the heat and soon scored a second try as Ian Evans charged up the field before the ball was smartly fed through the hands of the back-line, with Fussell finishing off the move.
Biggar extended his side's lead with the conversion before Ronaldson responded for Connacht with his second penalty kick of the match.
It went from bad to worse for Pat Lam's side as Walker crossed over the whitewash in the corner for the Ospreys' third try with 30 minutes on the clock.
Biggar and Ronaldson traded penalties before referee Andrew McMenemy had words with the Ospreys captain about their high penalty count.
Ronaldson added another three points to reduce the deficit to 10 points at the break before being replaced by former Scotland international Dan Parks after limping off with an injury.
Connacht piled on the pressure in the second half and the Ospreys' Lions studded pack eventually buckled as Poolman touched down after the hosts won the turnover in their own half.
Parks added the conversion but the Ospreys hit-back in devastating style as scrum-half Tebaldi evaded three tackles to go under the posts and secure the bonus point. Biggar kicked the extras as the visitors opened up a 10 point lead with a quarter of the game left.
But Connacht responded once again as centre Griffin crossed over with Parks making it a seven point play in a frenetic eight minute spell.
Connacht failed to punish the Ospreys' poor discipline and the Welsh side made them pay as Canadian winger Hassler crashed over near the touchline for his side's fifth try.
The impressive Biggar added the conversion before Alun Wyn Jones sealed the win with a simple try two minutes from time. Biggar kicked the extras to become the first Welshman to reach 1000 league points as the Ospreys claimed a second consecutive bonus point win.
Fri 24th Apr
Edinburgh37 - 0Zebre
Ulster26 - 10Leinster
Sat 25th Apr
Connacht13 - 31Glasgow Warriors
Cardiff Blues23 - 31Ospreys
Munster30 - 19Treviso
Dragons10 - 29Scarlets
Fri 8th May
Dragons0 - 0Edinburgh
Leinster0 - 0Treviso
Ospreys0 - 0Glasgow Warriors
Sat 9th May
Ulster0 - 0Munster
Zebre0 - 0Connacht
Sun 10th May
Scarlets0 - 0Cardiff Blues
Sat 16th May
Cardiff Blues0 - 0Zebre
Connacht0 - 0Ospreys
Edinburgh0 - 0Leinster
Glasgow Warriors0 - 0Ulster
Munster0 - 0Dragons
Treviso0 - 0Scarlets
RaboDirect PRO12 2013/14 R4
Scarlets battled their way to a 22-9 victory at Edinburgh, scoring tries through Nick Reynolds and Jordan Williams.
Returning Lions Tommy Bowe and Rory Best made the perfect return to Ulster colours as the hosts beat Treviso 32-13.
Ospreys welcome back Justin Tipuric for their clash with Connacht, while Paul O'Connell is named on Munster's bench.