Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Eye Spy : Ospreys A on their Irish tour


TARGET - Ospreys

WHO, WHEN, WHERE - They went to Belfast without their test players (as they will against Leinster as WRU add another test outside the regular window), for a key clash in the Pro12.  They lost their 100% start to this season's campaign, 16-25.

OFFENCE -  Pick & go plus up n unders in wet conditions early on, but as the game wore on they started to get the passes going and their back three were always a danger

DEFENCE - Rush defence from the off. Not bad getting in Ulster's faces but had problems when it was put in behind them.

SCRUMS - More often than not got shoved by Ulster pack, tight head Arhip conceded a pen or two.

LINEOUTS - Conditions weren't ideal but they still struggled under basic pressure from the Ulstermen.  SEVEN lost on own throw. Certainly worth noting for Leo Cullen ahead of next Saturday.  Also on Ulster's throw the O's always crumpled under a well drilled maul.

BREAKDOWN - 13 turnovers conceded could have been worse, good at recycling their own ball

DISCIPLINE - Kept their cool pretty well.  Most pens were technical ones at set pieces.  Sloppiness from winger Natonga shipped a crossing pen which cost them losing bonus point towards the end.

INDIVIDUALS  - 

Sam Davies - Outhalf made all his placekicks on a wet & windy night in Belfast and did what he could to get his back three past the gain line

Martin Roberts - nippy scrum half kept the Ulster defence honest always looking for a gap.

James King, Sam Lewis  & Dan Baker - strong effort from the O's backrow, 35 tackles between them.

Dan Evans - Good at winning the kicking tennis battles

VERDICT - A lot of full-strength teams would have given up the ghost at halftime 15 points behind away from home in such terrible conditions.  The Ospreys however tend to do the much-maligned Welsh regional rugby system proud by giving a full 80 minutes of effort whatever the opposition, venue or even scoreline.  Leinster will have to be at their sharpest to get the win this Saturday, though they probably won't need this report to tell them that!

***

NEXT WEEK - our secret agent checks in on Harlequins as they face Bath ahead of their European double-header with Leinster

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