It was a rain soaked evening that saw the European Champions welcomed to the home of the Rabo Direct PRO 12 champions. In what should have been one of the most fiercely contested games of the season, poor scheduling and international call ups saw both sides having to field largely second string squads.
It was the visitors that started the brighter, with fly half Madigan opening the scoring with a penalty. A fumble by wing Fionn Carr saw a try go begging for Leinster but in the following phases a Rhys Webb charge down saw Leinster’s Auva’a score for them to take a 10-0 lead.
The Ospreys, with older heads such as Jones and Thomas to look to for experience, started to fight their way back into the game, and after a couple of quick penalties, young fly half Morgan had managed to cut the score to 6-10 and added three more points just before half time to leave the Ospreys trailing by just one.
The second half started with the home side again on the front foot, yet handling errors from both sides prevented any progress. Experienced prop Duncan Jones saw himself yellow carded for an offence at the breakdown and it looked like Leinster would take the most of their one man advantage to extend their lead.
However the Ospreys put in a superb defensive effort, especially at a scrum five meters out from their try line. It swung all the momentum back into the Welsh regions’ favour and full back Fussell took the most of his opportunity to go on a superb run, evading Leinster defenders at ease to send speedster Walker over for an excellent try.
Morgan added the extras and for the first time in the match the Ospreys were ahead.
When back up to their full complement the Ospreys were clearly in the ascendency, and only a dubious knock on by Walker saw them disallowed another try.
Leinster to their credit kept attacking and attempting to get themselves back in the game, but having not scored since the 9th minute, it was an uphill struggle that was not aided by poor handling and decision making.
To make matters worse for Leinster, the Ospreys forwards, after a spell of good play worked their team into a position for a drop goal which Morgan neatly slotted over, taking the losing bonus point away from their visitors.
The Ospreys withstood another late wave of attack to see out the game as deserving victors and will be pleased to see how their younger players coped. Leinster on the other hand will be kicking themselves that they let a losing bonus point go begging.
Full time: Ospreys 19 – 10 Leinster
Ospreys: Fussell; H. Dirksen, Isaacs, Bishop, Walker; Morgan, Webb; D. Jones, Dwyer, Rees, Peers, J. Thomas, Stowers, Lewis, Bearman.
Replacements: M. Thomas for Lewis (54), Fotuali’i for Webb (57), King for Peers (59), Lewis for M. Thomas (62), Allen for Bearman (77).
Sin Bin: D. Jones (51).
Leinster: D. Kearney; Conway, Macken, Goodman, Carr; Madigan, Boss; Van der Merwe, T. Sexton, Hagan, Browne, Toner, Ruddock, Jennings, L. Auva’a, Marshall.
Replacements: Marshall for Browne (26), Murphy for Marshall (65), Moore for Hagan (68), Tracy for Auva’a (77), J. McGrath for Van der Merwe (77)