Ospreys 17, Edinburgh 13: North double downs Capital team

Edinburgh's Pro14 season started off with a defeat at Ospreys as Wales winger George North enjoyed a two-try dream debut in the Welsh club's 17-13 win at the Liberty Stadium.

Friday, 31st August 2018, 10:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th September 2018, 2:20 am
Edinburghs Mark Bennett takes on Owen Watkin. Picture: Alex Davidson/INPHO/REX/Shutterstock (9842543p)

Edinburgh’s Pro14 season started off with a defeat at Ospreys as Wales winger George North enjoyed a two-try dream debut in the Welsh club’s 17-13 win at the Liberty Stadium.

North turned the game in the space of ten second-half minutes as Ospreys came back from 6-3 down in a largely defence-dominated encounter. Edinburgh took the game down to the wire with a converted try for full-back Blair Kinghorn, but they fell short.

Along with North, Scott Williams and Aled Davies made their competitive Ospreys debuts, while Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones started despite not being involved in pre-season matches.

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New captain Justin Tipuric led a side that also included former Cheetahs prop Tom Botha and Luke Price, preferred at outside-half to Sam Davies who started on the bench.

Edinburgh named four debutants, including former New Zealand Under-20 skipper Simon Hickey. Richard Cockerill’s side included 11 Scotland internationalists.

After a largely cagey and defence-dominated first half, the sides were locked at 3-3.

Ospreys dominated proceedings in the opening quarter but solid Edinburgh defence stopped them in their tracks.The home side had the chance of a score when Dan Evans chased Scott Williams’ kick over the line but Henry Pyrgos won the race to the ball. A deliberate knock-on from Matt Scott gave Price a chance to open the scoring with a penalty but he hooked his kick wide. Both North and Scott Otten went close to going over in the right corner as Edinburgh’s defence was further tested.

Edinburgh had conceded the opening five penalties of the match and did not get their hands on the ball until the 20th minute but the Ospreys defence proved just as impressive.

The stalemate was not broken until the 31st minute when Hickey converted a penalty after Botha had got in the way of an attempted pass from Pyrgos. Ospreys replied only three minutes later with a Price penalty from an Edinburgh ruck offence.

Price limped off with a knee injury shortly before half-time, with Sam Davies replacing him. Davies then had a chance to give Ospreys the lead with the final kick of the half but his penalty shot fell short.

Edinburgh dominated the opening minutes of the second half and probably deserved more than Hickey’s 55th-minute penalty which saw the Scottish outfit edge 6-3 in front.

But the match turned on two converted North tries in the space of 10 minutes.

First Williams and Dan Evans combined to feed North who darted over from 10 metres. Sam Davies converted to see the home side lead 10-6.

That became 17-6 as North ran in from 60 metres after Edinburgh had pressed but coughed the ball up in the Ospreys 22. Davies converted again.

Despite having an 11-point deficit, Edinburgh responded with Kinghorn crossing with four minutes remaining, and Jaco van der Walt’s conversion turned it into a four-point game. Ospreys were forced to earn the spoils as Edinburgh had an attacking line-out in the final minute, with the home side holding out