RaboDirect Pro12: Aisea Natoga hat-trick helps Ospreys to Cardiff win
Last Updated: 21/03/14 10:18pm
Dan Biggar: Added the extras on comfortable night for Ospreys
An Aisea Natoga hat-trick inspired Ospreys to a crucial 34-9 bonus-point victory over Cardiff Blues which keeps them in the hunt for a RaboDirect Pro12 play-off spot.
The Liberty Stadium side dominated from first to last, claiming five tries to cement their position in fourth spot in the table.
Fijian wing Natoga picked up the man of the match award after crossing twice in the space of seven first half minutes and then sealing the bonus point with his third 10 minutes from time.
It was the first game for the Arms Park side without director of rugby Phil Davies, who resigned following their defeat to Zebre in Italy at the start of the month.
But there were no signs of any shoots of recovery under the guidance of Dale McIntosh and Paul John.
The Ospreys dominated the early exchanges and it came as no surprise when they crossed for the game's first try after nine minutes.
Wales international centre Ashley Beck made the initial break and after midfield partner Jonathan Spratt also sliced through, Beck finished off a well-worked overlap to touch down in the corner.
Dan Biggar, one of the Ospreys' returning Six Nations stars, converted brilliantly from the touchline, but with their first foray into the home half, the Blues won a penalty, kicked by fly-half Gareth Davies.
Normal service was resumed, though, when the Ospreys claimed their second try on 15 minutes.
A clever grubber kick from Rhys Webb was poked through by Natoga and the Fijian won the race to the touchdown under the nose of an out of sorts Alex Cuthbert and Dan Fish.
A scrum penalty allowed Davies to reduce the deficit from 45 metres and the fly-half added another as home flanker Sam Lewis was penalised at the breakdown.
But with the Blues struggling to hold onto any sort of possession, the Ospreys were soon celebrating a third try with some lovely hands from full-back Sam Davies freeing Natoga for his second.
The Ospreys continued to press, but with the rain teeming down, handling errors cost them further scores and they had to settle for a 17-9 advantage at half-time.
They did not have to wait long after the restart to get the bonus point in the bag.
It came via a trademark snipe from Webb - although it needed a long look from television match official Derek Bevan before the score was awarded.
Biggar added a penalty, then Bevan was called on again to adjudge the Ospreys' fifth try, scored by Natoga, with the Fijian doing brilliantly to touch down in the corner.
Biggar's conversion extended the lead to 34-9 and the Blues' misery was compounded when wing Harry Robinson was stretchered off in the closing minutes.
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 R17
John Muldoon scored two tries as Connacht cruised to a 24-8 victory over Newport Gwent Dragons.
Munster maintained their 100 per cent home record in the RaboDirect PRO12 with a 14-3 victory over Benetton Treviso.
Glasgow boosted their RaboDirect PRO12 top four hopes with a hard-fought 14-6 win over Scarlets.