Edinburgh’s poor discipline is key factor as Ospreys swoop

Angry: Alan Solomons

Angry: Alan Solomons

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Edinburgh departed the Liberty Stadium empty handed to leave Alan Solomons’ side with only a single point to show for their back-to-back visits to south Wales.

Having taken a losing bonus point from the Scarlets last week, they failed to capitalise on a decent first-half performance on the banks of the River Tawe and duly left with only an Allan Dell try plus eight points from the boot of Greig Tonks to shout about.

“I thought we did really well in the first half and we should have had a handy lead at half-time,” said Solomons.

“We missed two kicks, which made a big difference. Had we have kicked them, we would have been 19-13 up and Neil Cochrane’s yellow card was the turning point in the second half.

“The penalties were massive in this game. Our discipline was poor and we need to be more vigilant around the breakdown.

“We threw away three points last week and I’m disappointed we didn’t get at least a bonus point today.

“The next two home games are critical for the whole of our season.”

Having had their pockets picked at Parc y Scarlets seven days previous, an Edinburgh side growing in confidence in the absence of their senior internationals, started with a real purpose.

They won an early penalty, at the opening scrum, and certainly applied the pressure on an Ospreys’ side that welcomed back the Wales and British and Irish Lions flanker Dan Lydiate.

However, their honest endeavour and dominance at scrum time reaped precious little reward as twice they spilt possession in positions of genuine promise.

First, the ball was turned over half a dozen metres shirt of the line and then, after Phil Burleigh’s initial break, scrum-half Sean Kennedy coughed up the ball on the Ospreys’ 22.

A second straight arm penalty at the scrum gifted Tonks his first shot at goal in the 12th minute. The full back duly obliged from 25 yards.

The lead lasted barely 90 seconds. Ospreys recovered their own kick-off and after loose head Dell was penalised for not releasing at a tackle 35 yards from his own line, Sam Davies duly obliged with the ensuing penalty.

With referee Marius Mitrea keen to impose himself, Tonks was handed another opportunity in the 15th minute, which he inexplicably missed from almost in front. He made up for that 90 seconds later to edge Edinburgh back in front.

A second penalty for Davies levelled matters, once again, but with 14 minutes remaining before the interval, Edinburgh scored the game’s opening try.

This time, it was the Ospreys’ who turned over the ball and after showing terrific patience inside the 22, Tonks broke through and fed Dell, on his shoulder, for a try he duly converted.

Tonks was to pay dearly for his next penalty miss. Two minutes later, a chip ahead from Davies was collected by Ben John and duly fed to Sam Underhill. The young openside touched down in the corner for a try Davies converted.

A yellow card for Lydiate, for a chop tackle that was deemed dangerous, gave Edinburgh a numerical advantage, but before the Wales flanker returned, it was Ospreys who stole the lead, courtesy of another penalty from Davies.

A change of personnel in the Ospreys’ front row was, at last, providing the Welsh region with parity. It took away one of Edinburgh’s key weapons and gave the hosts a real boost. When Davies added another penalty in the 62nd minute, Ospreys were six points to the good.

Edinburgh rallied thereafter, but Hamish Watson was held up after a decent move on the left shortly before skipper Neil Cochrane was shown a yellow card for going off his feet at a ruck.

Davies poured salt on the wound with his fifth successful penalty and though Edinburgh tried, they were powerless to snatch even a losing bonus point.

In fact, with three minutes remaining a try in the corner for replacement hooker Scott Otten hammered home the final nail on a disappointing night.

Scorers:

Ospreys: Tries: Underhill, Otten; Con: Davies; Pens: Davies (5)

Edinburgh: Try: Dell; Con: Tonks; Pens: Tonks (2)

Ospreys: D Evans; J Hassler, JJ Engelbrecht (J Matavesi 51), O Watkin, B John; S Davies, B Leonard (T Habberfield 68); N Smith (G Thomas 47), S Parry (S Otten 49), M Fia (A Jarvis 40), J King, R Thornton, D Lydiate (R Bernardo 72), S Underhill (O Cracknell 40), D Baker

Replacements not used: E Walker

Edinburgh: G Tonks (C Dean 78); D Fife, M Allen, S Beard, T Brown; P Burleigh, S Kennedy(S Hidalgo-Clyne 55); A Dell (G Shiells 65), N Cochrane, J Andress (S Berghan 50), A Bresler (G Gilchrist 55), B Toolis, J Ritchie (M Bradbury 62), H Watson (G Turner 69), C Du Preez

Replacements not used: B Kinghorn

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)