Ospreys 29-28 Cardiff: Steve Tandy's men register vital PRO14 derby win
By Michael Cantillon
Last Updated: 06/01/18 8:45pm
The Ospreys held off a thrilling Cardiff Blues fightback at the Liberty Stadium to record a 29-28 PRO14 derby victory on Saturday.
The Blues started the game the better and hit the front through an early Gareth Anscombe penalty and Nick Williams try from close range.
A Jeff Hassler intercept try and wonderful Rhys Webb effort, after a superb piece of skill from Dan Biggar, had the Ospreys 17-14 ahead at the break, somewhat against the run of play.
The second half was far more assured from the home side, and further scores from Webb and Justin Tipuric - both created by Biggar - opened up a 15-point lead with a little over 15 minutes to go.
Blues tries from Owen Lane and Garyn Smith reduced the gap to a single point in a tremendously exciting climax to the match, but the Ospreys hung on for a bonus-point success.
It was Blues that started the stronger, opening up an 8-0 lead helped with a Gareth Anscombe penalty goal from in front of the posts after only two minutes.
A Rey Lee-Lo break set up a good position for Cardiff's opening try and, from the resulting lineout, Josh Navidi went close before No 8 Williams crashed over.
The home side came right back five minutes later when Hassler picked off a Matthew Morgan pass and ran over despite a last-ditch tackle from Alex Cuthbert.
An Anscombe penalty gave Cardiff a four-point cushion but almost from the restart Ospreys claimed their second try.
Biggar chipped over the midfield, regathered and put Webb over with a neat pass before adding the extras.
In the space of two minutes Anscombe and Biggar swapped penalties, before the Ospreys produced a brilliant try 12 minutes into the second half.
Ashley Beck took a cross-kick from Biggar, stepped inside and found Tipuric, who then offloaded out of contact to Webb. From there, the scrum-half showed great feet and a hand-off to dance to the tryline.
Ospreys' attacking pressure for the bonus-point try eventually forced Cuthbert offside and he was yellow-carded by referee Nigel Owens.
With the penalty on the left-hand side, Biggar spotted Tipuric free on the right and the fly-half put in a perfect cross-kick for the Wales flanker to dot down.
At that stage Ospreys looked comfortable, but in dramatic fashion Cardiff scored two tries in the space of three minutes to trail the home side by just a point going into the final few minutes.
First Lane slid over in the right corner for a try converted by Anscombe before Smith also went over after good play from replacement Steve Shingler.
The Blues sensed a remarkable victory was on the cards and after Ospreys chose to kick to the corner with a late penalty, rather than take the points, the Blues were handed one last chance to attack from deep.
Two penalties allowed them field position in the Ospreys' half, but a Josh Navidi knock-on ultimately ended the contest.