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RaboDirect PRO12: Ospreys edge out Cardiff in difficult conditions
- Ulster reign over brave Zebre
- Edinburgh hold off Leinster
- Connacht enjoy Parks ride
- Munster leave it late
Dan Biggar shone with a 17-point performance as the Ospreys maintained their recent outstanding record against Cardiff Blues with a 22-19 RaboDirect PRO12 victory at Cardiff Arms Park.
The uncertain future for Welsh rugby, with the regions yet to meet the WRU's end-of-year deadline to recommit to their participation agreement, hung over the first of the holiday derbies, but a decent crowd defied a treacherous weather forecast to attend.
The Blues went into the game boosted by their Heineken Cup double over Glasgow, but the Ospreys could take heart from the fact that they completed a PRO12 double over the capital city outfit in each of the past two seasons.
After an early Leigh Halfpenny penalty had put the home side ahead, the Ospreys quickly drew level in bizarre fashion. A poor pass from young scrum-half Tom Habberfield flew high and wide of Biggar, who stretched, but could only knock it backwards.
The Wales fly-half then turned, grabbed the loose ball, and calmly slotted over a drop goal.
The Blues were lucky to avoid conceding a try after both half-backs had clearance kicks charged down, but a Biggar penalty gave them the lead before Halfpenny, of all people, totally mis-hit a simple effort from in front of the posts.
Biggar, who scored all of Ospreys' 55 points in their European group, promptly showed Halfpenny how it was done.
It was no use and Halfpenny missed again, although this time the swirling wind at the River Taff end was largely responsible.
But the Lions full-back made amends with a storming run from inside his own half which led to a try for hooker Kristian Dacey. This time Halfpenny put the ball firmly between the posts.
After opting to go for a fruitless lineout from their next penalty, the Ospreys decided to take the points when French referee Jerome Garces continued to clamp down on Blues illegalities and two more Biggar kicks put the visitors into an interval lead.
Halfpenny cut the deficit early in the second period, but the Ospreys piled on the pressure and flanker Justin Tipuric found a gap to dart over, Biggar judging the wind perfectly with the conversion.
Halfpenny also ignored the conditions with a penalty from halfway and there was a further blow for the visitors when replacement prop Marc Thomas was sin-binned following a collapsed scrum.
The Ospreys promptly conceded another Halfpenny penalty, but survived the rest of the punishment and were able to maintain their three-point advantage until the final whistle.RaboDirect Pro 12. Click here to bet.
Guinness PRO12 Table
|Friday 6th March|
|19:35||Cardiff Blues vs Connacht|
|19:35||Glasgow Warriors vs Zebre|
|Saturday 7th March|
|14:40||Ospreys vs Munster|
|17:15||Scarlets vs Leinster|
|18:00||Treviso vs Edinburgh|
|Sunday 8th March|
|16:00||Dragons vs Ulster|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:35||Leinster vs Glasgow|
|19:35||Ulster vs Cardiff Blues|
|Saturday 28th March|
|TBC||Benetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D'gons|
|TBC||Ospreys vs Zebre|
|14:40||Scarlets vs Edinburgh|
|17:15||Munster vs Connacht|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:35||Glasgow vs Cardiff Blues|
|19:35||Benetton Treviso vs Ospreys|
|Saturday 11th April|
|TBC||Edinburgh vs Munster|
|TBC||Zebre vs Scarlets|
|14:40||Connacht vs Ulster|
|Sunday 12th April|
|16:00||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Leinster|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:35||Edinburgh vs Zebre|
|19:35||Ulster vs Leinster|
|Saturday 25th April|
|TBC||Munster vs Benetton Treviso|
|TBC||Cardiff Blues vs Ospreys|
|TBC||Newport Gwent D'gons vs Scarlets|
|TBC||Connacht vs Glasgow|
|Saturday 9th May|
|15:00||Ulster vs Munster|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Connacht 53 - 5 Treviso|
|Zebre 23 - 17 Dragons|
|Cardiff Blues 21 - 15 Edinburgh|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Munster 22 - 10 Glasgow Warriors|
|Friday 27th February|
|Ospreys 9 - 9 Leinster|
|Ulster 25 - 20 Scarlets|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|Dragons 25 - 30 Connacht|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Glasgow 19 - 16 Ospreys|
|Scarlets 25 - 25 Munster|
|Friday 20th February|
|Edinburgh 17 - 20 Ulster|
|Leinster 29 - 8 Zebre|
|Benetton Treviso 40 - 24 Cardiff Blues|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Leinster 14 - 16 Newport Gwent D'gons|
|Zebre 10 - 54 Glasgow|
|Scarlets 32 - 14 Connacht|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Munster 33 - 16 Cardiff Blues|
|Friday 13th February|
|Edinburgh 24 - 16 Ospreys|
|Ulster 43 - 3 Benetton Treviso|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com