Ospreys sink talons into Edinburgh in Swansea

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CENTRE Nick De Luca was sent off for a tip tackle as Edinburgh slipped to a tenth straight defeat in all competitions.

Scorers: Ospreys: Tries: M Allen (2), R Webb ; Pen: M Morgan; Cons: M Morgan (2). Edinburgh: Try: H Watson; Con: H Leonard.

The Scottish side went down 24-7 to three tries to one at the Liberty Stadium with De Luca shown a red for the up-ending of Ospreys replacement wing Tom Grabham four minutes from time.

Coach Michael Bradley said: “Nick was upset by it. He knows the rules but there was no malice in it,” said Bradley. “The Ospreys player went off the ground. He just flipped. It was more that than just him (De Luca) physically putting him into the ground.”

Edinburgh never recovered from going down 14-0 within the first 22 minutes with two tries for man of the match Morgan Allen.

It did not start well for Edinburgh even before the kick-off. They were forced into one late change with Andy Titterrell replacing injured hooker Steve Lawrie.

Edinburgh were on the back foot early on not helped that they gave away some cheap penalties. And with the momentum the Ospreys scored the opening try on six minutes when lock Jonathan Thomas put over Allen for the score, confirmed by the Television Match Official. Matthew Morgan converted to give the home side a 7-0 lead.

A break by centre Ben Atiga following a line-out helped earn Edinburgh a penalty but fly-half Harry Leonard was off target with his 30-metre effort.

It was not Edinburgh’s night again. They hammered at the Ospreys’ line but De Luca knocked on in contact three metres from the left corner, and from a free kick from the resulting scrum the Ospreys cleared up to halfway.

Edinburgh continued to be indisciplined and it was a penalty conceded by captain Sean Cox at a ruck which led to the Ospreys’ second try for Morgan, who rumbled across the line after a five-metre line-out. Morgan converted to make it 14-0 on 21 minutes.

The Scots’ cause was not further helped that they lost two wings – Lee Jones and Tom Brown – through injury in the space of only three minutes.

The penalty count continued to rise for Edinburgh, but they were fortunate from their latest infringement as the Ospreys knocked on trying to take a quick tap. But the big surprise of the half was that Edinburgh actually got on the scoreboard in the final minute of the first half when openside flanker Hamish Watson exploited an overlap on the left to go over with Leonard adding the extras.

It was the Ospreys turn to be wasteful as Morgan was wayward with a very kickable penalty in first-half injury time.

Edinburgh had the chance of the first score in the second half but Leonard was just wide of the mark with a 45th-minute penalty shot. And Morgan was also off target with a 50th-minute penalty effort after Edinburgh were warned for not rolling away at a ruck.

But Morgan found the target on 54 minutes with a penalty before scrum-half Rhys Webb scored a third try after Edinburgh had lost centre Atiga to the sin-bin. Morgan converted to make it 24-7 after 57 minutes. Edinburgh did a good job in the final minutes, even without De Luca, in stopping the Ospreys getting the try bonus point.

Ospreys: R Fussell; T Habberfield (T Grabham 73), T Isaacs, J Spratt (A Beck 53), K Fotuali’i (capt); M Morgan, R Webb; R Bevington, S Baldwin, C Griffiths (D Arhip 58), L Peers, J Thomas, J King, M Allen (D Baker 77), S Lewis (A Ellis 63).

Edinburgh: G Tonks; D Fife, N De Luca, B Atiga, L Jones (T Brown 21, B Cairns 24); H Leonard, R Rees (C Leck 69); J Yapp (A Jacobsen 56), A Titterrell, W Nel (A Allan 67), P Parker (R McAlpine 67), S Cox (capt), S McInally, H Watson, N Talei.