Edinburgh Rugby earned a hard fought victory against Ospreys in front of buoyant Meggetland crowd tonight (31-25).
Despite conceding early in the first half, Edinburgh Rugby dominated much of the proceedings with scrum-half Grayson Hart scoring a brace of tries and centre Sam Beard crossing for one of his own.
The second-half saw the Ospreys mount a spirited comeback, as Jeff Hassler’s second try put the visitors back in contention, before the boot of full-back Carl Bezuidenhout put the home side clear with three penalties.
“I’m very pleased with the win. It was a good performance against a strong Ospreys side and was a real team effort”
- - Head coach Alan Solomons
Ospreys were first off the mark, as Hassler provided the finish to the visitors’ early attack, but fly-half Dan Biggar’s failed conversion attempt meant the difference stayed at just five points.
Edinburgh Rugby were quick to respond.
A thunderous rolling maul from the half way line into the visitors’ 22 did enough to stir the standing fans into action.
Hart emerged from the huddle and danced through a stretched Ospreys back line for the five-pointer.
Bezuidenhout added the extras to put the home side in front and just minutes later added a further three points to his tally as he slotted a penalty wide on the left.
The Gunner’s kept up the momentum.
After gathering a kick deep in his own half, wing Jack Cuthbert shimmied and fended his way past the first line of tacklers and fed centre Sam Beard, who streamed past what remained of a flailing Ospreys defense.
Unfortunately Edinburgh’s excitement in attack bled into their defence and prop Geoff Cross was sent to the bin for an accumulation of his side’s offences.
Dan Biggar found his range in time for the penalty that followed, but it wasn’t long before Edinburgh were touching down again.
With a ruck deep in the Ospreys’ 22, Grayson Hart’s decision to go down the blindside was enough to overcome his side’s numerical disadvantage, and the scrum-half ran in for his second try of the match.
Biggar nudged over another penalty before the break, but as the sides went in for half-time, Edinburgh looked well worth their 22-11 lead.
The start of the second half brought few line breaks, with no clear chances for either side.
The only scores of the first twenty minutes came in the shape of three penalties. Two from Dan Biggar and one for Bezuidenhout, which put the scores at 25-17.
The game had began to slow, but when Hassler made use of the first break of the second half and crossed for his second try of the game, a real urgency was brought back to the game.
Biggar failed once more to add the extras, meaning the visitors remained three points adrift going into the final 15 minutes.
Two more penalties from Bezuidenhout gave the Gunners some breathing room at 31-22, and as Ospreys centre Ashley Beck was given a yellow card with five minutes to go, it seemed their fate was sealed.
The final phases certainly weren’t as comfortable as Edinburgh might have hoped, with replacement lock Ollie Atkins being sent to the bin and Biggar’s boot putting the visitors to within a converted try, but as the final whistle blew, they ran out worthy winners.
Edinburgh Rugby: 15 Carl Bezuidenhout, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Sam Beard, 12 Andries Strauss, 11 Jack Cuthbert; 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Grayson Hart; 1 Wicus Blaauw, 2 Ross Ford, 3 Geoff Cross, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 6 Mike Coman CAPTAIN, 7 Roddy Grant, 8 Cornell Du Preez. Substitutes: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Alex Allan (on for Blaauw, 75), 18 Willem Nel (on for Cross, 54), 19 Ollie Atkins (on for van der Westhuizen, 49), 20 Tomas Leonardi, 21 Sean Kennedy (on for Hart, 58), 22 Ben Atiga (on for Strauss, 79), 23 Joaquin Dominguez (on for Beard, 58).
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell; 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Jonathan Spratt CAPTAIN, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Hanno Dirksen; 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tito Tebaldi; 1 Duncan Jones, 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Dan Suter, 4 Tyler Ardron, 5 James King, 6 Sam Lewis, 7 Justin Tipuric, 8 Joe Bearman. Substitutes: 16 Matthew Dwyer, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Dan Baker (on for King, 54), 20 Ryan Jones (on for Bearman, 54), 21 Tom Habberfield (on for Tebaldi, 78), 22 Sam Davies (on for Fussell, 54), 23 Aisea Natoga (on for Dirkson, 66).