Looking at the team sheets before the match, it looked like an easy stroll for the Ospreys, with several International players in the side to meet a depleted home team with nine first choice players on International duty. The selected team didn’t quite see it that way and put in a hard night’s work to come away with a bonus point at the end of the match.
It took a while for the game to come alive, with the first score coming from a Phil Godman penalty after 15 minutes. Then, gathering the ball from an Osprey’s clearing kick, Edinburgh used their big forwards, noteably Netani Talei and Sean Cox, to hammer their way up the centre of the field. The ball ended up with Chris Patterson, who just failed to cross the line, but from the recycle, the ball came out through the backs to outside centre Dougie Fife (Man-of-the-Match and pictured) – on his debut at this level – who dived in over the line for the opening try. With Godman missing the kick, Edinburgh were 8-0 ahead with 20 minutes left in the half. Osprey’s Dan Biggar pulled three points back five minutes on, with a neat drop-goal, before the Osprey’s pack rumbled over the try line after a period of sustained possession to pull the teams level. With neither team dominating for the rest of the half, it took another penalty from Godman to secure the half-time lead for the host side, 11-8.
The first quarter of an hour or so of the second half was a bit uninspiring, before another penalty award allowed Godman to give Edinburgh a six point lead over the visitors, which they, unfortunately, could only hold onto for two minutes. Scoring, possibly, one of the tries of the season Osprey’s Hanno Dirksen got his hands on the ball just inside the Edinburgh half and, with a great individual effort, evaded a couple of tackles out wide, chipped over the last defender, gathered the ball without breaking stride and executed a ‘9.5 scoring’ dive over the line near the posts. Bigger scored the conversion kick and it was 15-14 to the Swansea side.
And that’s how it ended. On paper, Edinburgh looked as if they were going to be on the end on a cricket score, but the team knuckled down and, without a couple of missed kicks, might have won, but in the end had to settle for a losing bonus point.
Edinburgh’s next two home games are on the 23rd and 30th of March and then it’s The Big One! Edinburgh take on the giants of European rugby, Toulouse, at 3.00pm on the 7th April in their Heineken Cup quarter-final. Having already beaten some of Europe’s top teams – and been given ‘No Chance’ by SKY’s TV pundits – it’s all to play for – as ‘they’ say! Semi-final looming…?
Report and Photo – John Preece
Web – http://www.photoboxgallery.com/jlp-photography