Wasps score five in bonus-point win over Ospreys

Wasps bounced back from their opening round defeat to put their Anglo-Welsh cup campaign back on track. 

12 - 36
Ospreys Wasps

Fri 10th November 2017
7:30 pm

Liberty Stadium Stadium Anglo-Welsh Cup As it happened
Three tries in the opening 17 minutes gave them a firm grip on the game, before Ospreys responded with two tries of their own, to make the halftime score 19-12. A commanding second-half performance, in which they scored 17 unanswered points, took them  to a comfortable  bonus-point victory.

The home side created the first chance, in the fifth minute, when scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams stole round the fringes of a ruck, 30 metres out. He beat the first line of defence and had skipper Luke Price in support, but his pass was intercepted by Wasps debutant Nizaam Carr.

 A minute later, Craig Hampson broke around the blind-side of a scrum, 15 metres inside the Wasps half. This time, Carr was the supporting runner, but his inside pass was intercepted.

Wasps took the lead after nine minutes, following a lineout a few metres from the left corner, created by a Connor Eastgate kick, which found grass behind the Ospreys’ defence. Antonio TJ Harris went over, after a front-of-the-lineout move. Eastgate missed the conversion, but he had a simple kick to put Wasps 12-0 up a minute later, after Brendan Macken intercepted a pass just inside the Ospreys half, to run in unopposed.

A third try came after 17 minutes. Paul Doran Jones snapped up a stray throw at the tail of a lineout, just outside the home 22. The ball was moved out wide to the right. Play then came infield and Will Stuart’s powerful charge took them deep into the 22. Locks Marcus Garratt and Matt Symonds combined to make a few more metres, before the  ball was moved out to the left and Guy Armitage went over in the corner. Connor Eastgate landed a fine conversion, to stretch the lead to 19-0.

Wasps were almost caught napping, six minutes later, when Ospreys took a quick penalty 35 metres out. There was space out on the left, where Dafydd Howells came close, before Kieran Williams was stopped just short of the line. Ospreys were unable to capitalise, but they eventually opened their account, following a lineout in the left corner. The drive was stopped a few metres out, before quick possession gave Reuben Morgan-Williams the chance to go over near the posts. Luke Price’s conversion made the score 19-7. 

Wasps were then forced into a change in the second row, when Guy Borrowdale’s blood replacement for  Matt Symons became permanent. The home side immediately came close to a second score, after Luke Price combined with Will Jones and Jay Baker, down the left. Brendan Macken’s covering tackle saved a try, but Paul Doran Jones was shown a yellow card for a breakdown infringement. Osprey took immediate advantage, with a lineout drive ending in a try for hooker Ifan Phillips. Price missed the conversion, but the gap was now down to seven points, with seven minutes of the half to play.

The home side were now beginning to play with more confidence, stretching the Wasps’ defence out wide. An Ospreys offence, inside the Wasps 22,  provided welcome relief, and Nizaam Carr then featured in an excellent move which took his side deep into opposition territory. The closing minutes of the half were punctuated by a series of handling errors from both sides and there was no further scoring before the break.

Wasps made an excellent start to the second half, after James Ratti dropped Connor Eastgate’s kick-off. From the scrum, Craig Hampson looped behind Eastgate to slice through the defence. He was stopped, 15 metres out and the ball was moved back out to the left, where Guy Armitage almost powered his way over. Play was taken back for a penalty near the right corner, but the Wasps’ lineout drive was stopped, and Ospreys were awarded the scrum put-in. A powerful shove by the Wasps pack disrupted their possession and Nizaam Carr went over for a debut try, to secure the bonus point,. Connor Eastgate converted, to put Wasps 26-12 ahead. The flyhalf then added three more points with a penalty, after Ospreys were caught offside in midfield, on their 22.

Several minutes of end-to-end play saw Wasps creating opportunities, with excellent interplay between Guy Armitage and Owain James taking them from their own 22 to well over halfway, before Jay Baker grabbed a loose ball to break away. He had reached the Wasps 22, before  Armitage and James showed their defensive abilities, to snuff out a threatening attack.

The Wasps scrum then produced another devastating shove to drive the home pack back into their 22, where they conceded a penalty. Wasps went for the corner, the lineout was won, and Wasps controlled the ball through a series of phases. A try seemed on the cards, and Jacob Umaga eventually crossed the line, but was unable to ground the ball. It was his last contribution, as he was then replaced by Taju Atta, who was making his Wasps debut. From the scrum, the ball was moved out to the right, where Brendan Macken’s long pass found Aaron O’Sullivan, but he was well-covered, a few metres from the line. Play was again brought back for another Ospreys offence, and once more Wasps opted for the scrum. After a couple of short thrusts were stopped, Brendan Macken crashed over from close range, for his second try. Connor Eastgate’s conversion, from in front of the posts, put Wasps 36-12 clear, with 62 minutes gone.

The game continued to be played at a frenetic pace, with both sides throwing caution to the wind. With handling errors coming fast and furious, almost non-stop advantage meant that the ball stayed in play for long periods. With ten minutes left, Ospreys’ pressure saw them go over in the right corner, but the score was ruled out for crossing.

The home side continued to press for a consolation score, but the Wasps defence held firm, to close out a well-deserved victory.

Ospreys Line ups

  1. Gareth Thomas
  2. Ifan Phillips
  3. Rhodri Jones
  4. James Ratti
  5. Rory Thornton
  6. Joe Tomalin-Reeves
  7. Will Jones
  8. Morgan Morris
  9. Reuben Morgan-Williams
  10. Luke Price
  11. Jay Baker
  12. Kieran Williams
  13. Tom Williams
  14. Dafydd Howells
  15. Phil Jones
  16. Hugh Gustafson
  17. Rowan Jenkins
  18. Alex Jeffries
  19. Matthew Dodd
  20. Jay Williams
  21. Matthew Aubrey
  22. Cai Evans
  23. Rhys Williams

Wasps Line ups

  1. Paul Doran-Jones
  2. Antonio Harris
  3. Will Stuart
  4. Marcus Garratt
  5. Matt Symons
  6. Jack Willis
  7. Will Owen
  8. Nizaam Carr
  9. Craig Hampson
  10. Connor Eastgate
  11. Guy Armitage
  12. Jacob Umaga
  13. Brendan Macken
  14. Aaron O'Sullivan
  15. Owain James
  16. Gabriel Oghre
  17. George Thornton
  18. David Langley
  19. Guy Borrowdale
  20. James Seabrook
  21. Joe Simpson
  22. Taju Atta
  23. Josh Grimes