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Foutali'i leads Ospreys into play-offs

Fri, 22 Mar 2013 21:39
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Kahn Fotuali'i had a hand in four of Ospreys' seven tries against Newport Gwent Dragons, scoring one as they marched into the Pro12 play-off places with a 52-19 bonus-point win.

* In another game on Friday tries either side of half-time from Liam Williams and Joe Snyman kept the Scarlets' Pro12 play-off charge on course with a 24-10 victory against winless Zebre.

* And in the third of Friday's games Stuart McInally's second-half try helped Stevie Scott and Duncan Hodge get off to the perfect start to life as Edinburgh interim coaches, triumphing 14-8 against Ulster.

We bring you all Friday's drama!

Zebre 10-24 Scarlets

Tries either side of half-time from Liam Williams and Joe Snyman kept the Scarlets' Pro12 play-off charge on course with a 24-10 victory against winless Zebre.

The accuracy of Owen Williams' boot was equally important for the visitors - his 14 points helping their cause for a top-four berth and upping the pressure on third-placed Leinster.

The hosts meanwhile remain bottom, but had returning Six Nations star Giovanbattista Venditti on the scoresheet as well as South African Dries Van Schalkwyk.

But it was Liam Williams, returning from Wales Six Nations duty, who proved the difference, with his namesake Owen crucially keeping the scoreboard ticking over which helped prevent a repeat of their nerve-racking 22-13 triumph in the reverse fixture at Parc y Scarlets in November.

Zebre began brightly though, dominating territory, and got their rewards when No.8 Van Schalkwyk stretched out and touched down under pressure from three Scarlets tacklers.

That 13th-minute lead wasn't extended however, Paolo Buso missed the conversion for the Italians.

Scarlets' first points on the board came from the boot of Owen Williams - captain Rob McCusker won a penalty for the visitors and the flyhalf duly converted.

In a fast-paced opening to the game Mauro Bergamasco was forced off and replaced by Filippo Cristiano, before Owen Williams notched another three-pointer just after the half hour mark.

The hosts were still pressing and they could have gone into the lead had Buso converted a 38th-minute penalty, but the Welsh side responded with seconds remaining in the half.

Wing Liam Williams crossed in the corner despite the challenge of Sinoti Sinoti and, after checking with the TMO, referee Peter Fitzgibbon gave the try - Owen Williams missed the conversion but the Scarlets still went into the interval with an 11-5 advantage.

The visitors began to pull away after the break, Owen Williams kicked his third penalty of the evening in Parma on 45 minutes.

Then, just two minutes later, they all but ended the contest when lock Snyman crashed under the posts.

Owen Williams converted with ease then added another penalty to give the Scarlets an unassailable 24-5 lead.

But Zebre are made of stern stuff, and battling for pride Venditti, playing at centre, led the way forward for the Italians with their second try just before the hour mark, although Alberto Chiesa missed the conversion.

Aaron Shingler, who like Liam Williams was making his first start since returning as a Six Nations winner with Wales, dampened his evening somewhat when he received a late yellow card but it made little difference as Simon Easterby's men saw out the remainder of the game.

The scorers:

For Zebre:
Tries:
Venditti, Van Schalkwyk

For Scarlets:
Tries:
Williams, Snyman
Con: Williams
Pens: Williams 4

Yellow card: Aaron Shingler (Scarlets, 75)

Teams:

Zebre: 15 Alberto Bennettin, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Matteo Pratichetti, 12 Giovanbattista Venditti, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Paolo Buso, 9 Alberto Chillon, 8 Andries Van Schalkwyk, 7 Mauro Bergamasco, 6 Emiliano Caffini, 5 Josh Sole, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (captain), 3 David Ryan, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Andrea Manici, 17 Andrea De Marchi, 18 Luciano Leibson, 19 Michael Van Vuuren, 20 Filippo Cristiano, 21 Tito Tebaldi, 22 Luciano Orquera, 23 Roberto Quartaroli.

Scarlets: 15 Gareth Owen, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Adam Warren, 11 Andy Fenby, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Aled Davies, 8 Rob McCusker (captain) 7 Johnathan Edwards, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Johan Snyman, 4 George Earle, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Matthew Rees, 1 Phil John.
Replacements: 16 Emyr Phillips, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Jake Ball, 20 Sione Timani, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Aled Thomas, 23 Scott Williams.

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Stefano Pennè, Stefano Roscini (both France)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (France)

Ospreys 52-19 Newport Gwent Dragons

Kahn Fotuali'i had a hand in four of Ospreys' seven tries against Newport Gwent Dragons, scoring one as they marched into the Pro12 play-off places with a 52-19 bonus-point win.

The 30-year-old, scrumhalf who will leave the Liberty Stadium for Northampton at the end of the season, set Ospreys on their way with a fine individual effort after just four minutes.

He then played a role in Tom Habberfield and Ashley Beck's tries in the first half and Tom Isaacs' after the break before Dan Biggar added a fifth, Dimitri Arhip a sixth and Justin Tipuric a seventh.

Biggar was perfect with the boot, converting five tries and a penalty, while the Dragons had Dan Evans and Toby Faletau tires and nine points from Steffan Jones to show for their efforts.

The win moves reigning Pro12 champions Ospreys up a place from fifth to fourth in the table, leapfrogging Welsh rivals Scarlets who won 24-10 on their travels against Zebre.

Three-and-a-half minutes of constant pressure from Ospreys was rewarded when a quick tap and go from Fotuali'i caught the Dragons cold and he burst through to score.

Biggar kicked an easy conversion in front of the posts to make it 7-0 and was called upon to repeat the trick, this time from the touchline, as Ospreys doubled their advantage.

Scrumhalf Foutali'i started a move that went through five sets of hands with wing Habberfield adding the final touch in the corner with just eight minutes on the clock.

Jones got the Dragons up and running five minutes later with a penalty in front of the posts before narrowly sending a good effort wide shortly after as they grew into the game.

However Ospreys scored their third try of the evening in the 21st minute with Fotuali'i again involved, running the angle before slipping to centre Beck who eased through.

Biggar made it three successful kicks from three with the conversion and then slotted his first penalty on the half-hour mark as Ospreys moved into a 24-3 lead against their Welsh rivals.

The Dragons weren't giving up though as Jones kicked a second penalty of the evening however two minutes after the restart and Ospreys grabbed a fourth try for the bonus point.

After Tipuric pounced on a Dragons turnover, Jonathan Spratt fed Richard Fussell with the full-back breaking clear before offloading to Fotuali'i who passed to Isaacs for the score.

Biggar went five from five with the conversion but the Dragons responded almost immediately with their first try of the match, full-back Evans finishing in the corner.

Jones missed the conversion from a tight angle as the Dragons pulled back to 31-11 but he didn't miss an easy penalty in front of the posts in the 55th minute after Ospreys were caught offside.

He hit the post with another attempt five minutes later before Ospreys grabbed their fifth try as Isaacs and then Fussell broke with Biggar going after as they pressed.

Biggar maintained his perfect kicking record with the conversion however he couldn't fend off Faletau who picked up a loose ball from a scrum moments later to score.

Evans, overtaking kicking duties with Jones replaced by Hallam Amos, couldn't convert as it stayed 38-19 while Ospreys grabbed a sixth try on 73 minutes, Arhip credited with it as they drove over.

Matthew Morgan, on for Biggar, converted before slipping as he soon broke away however from that Beck picked out Tipuric in space on the right wing with a fine kick.

He went over in the corner and Morgan neatly converted and, try as they might, the Dragons couldn't have the final say as Ospreys coped with their pressure at the death.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Tries:
Fotuali'i, Habberfield, Beck, Isaacs, Biggar, Arhip, Tipuric
Cons: Biggar 5, Morgan 2
Pen: Biggar

For Newport Gwent Dragons:
Tries:
Evans, Faletau
Pens: S Jones 3

Yellow card: Dimitri Arhip (Ospreys, 78)

Teams:

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Tom Habberfield, 13 Jonathan Spratt, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Tom Isaacs, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James King, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Dmitri Arhip, 19 Lloyd Peers, 20 George Stowers, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Ben John.

Newport Gwent Dragons: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Adam Hughes, 13 Pat Leach, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Ross Wardle, 10 Steffan Jones, 9 Wayne Evans; 8 Lewis Evans (captain), 7 Nic Cudd, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Adam Jones, 4 Andrew Coombs, 3 Nathan Buck, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Owen Evans.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Phil Price, 18 Dan Way, 19 Ian Nimmo, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Will Harries, 23 Hallam Amos.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant Referees: Ian Davies, Wayne Davies (both Wales)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

Edinburgh 14-8 Ulster

Stuart McInally's second-half try helped Stevie Scott and Duncan Hodge get off to the perfect start to life as Edinburgh interim coaches, triumphing 14-8 against Ulster.

Scott and Hodge, who returned from their coaching commitments with Scotland in the Six Nations, took charge of their first RaboDirect PRO12 game for the club they represented over 250 times between them as players and ended Edinburgh's 11-game losing streak in all competitions.

McInally's try was the difference, but so was the defensive discipline and the nerve of RaboDirect PRO12 debutant Sean Kennedy at scrumhalf.

Ulster, who scored through Andrew Trimble, have now failed to win four of their last five games in the league but remain in second place although they could lose ground if Leinster pick up something at home to leaders Glasgow Warriors on Saturday.

Ulster began on the front foot but Edinburgh were first off the mark on 15 minutes when referee Leighton Hodges pulled play back for a high tackle on Piers Francis, the fly-half duly converting the resulting penalty.

The visitors were again asking questions in and around the Edinburgh 22 but failed to break what was proving to be a resolute home defence.

Midway through the half a break from Lee Jones, after Ben Atiga's dummy, saw Francis in space but his flick pass failed to find its destination.

But on the half hour mark Francis made amends by slotting home his second penalty of the night, after Paddy Jackson was adjudged to be offside, from in front of the posts.

The visitors did get on the scoreboard before the half was up though, a soft penalty allowed Jackson to kick from distance and reduce Ulster's half-time arrears to 6-3.

Just three minutes after the restart Jackson had two chances to level the scores, his first - a drop goal - slipped wide of the right-hand post but knowing he had the advantage of a penalty he tried his luck from long range and narrowly missed his target.

He missed his third attempt moments later from out wide, then the Ireland international was off target with another three-pointer as the hosts began to believe their luck was about to change.

He was made to pay on 56 minutes when Edinburgh, who had soaked up relentless pressure, saw McInally barge his way over after good work from No. 8 Netani Talei.

Talei brushed off Luke Marshall and fed a flat pass to the onrushing McInally to extend the hosts' lead to 11-3. Francis missed the conversion.

Ulster responded, and despite being held up on the line shortly after, they eventually broke down Edinburgh on 64 minutes after a neat grubber kick from Jared Payne gave Trimble the chance to touch down in the corner. Jackson was again wayward with his kick and it left the visitors 11-8 adrift.

Edinburgh's Francis came within inches of added a try to his tally, but on 75 minutes he slotted home his third penalty of the evening to give his side breathing space.

The scorers:

For Edinburgh:
Try:
McInally
Pens: Francis 3

For Ulster:
Try:
Trimble
Pen: Jackson

Teams:

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Lee Jones, 13 Dougie Fife, 12 Ben Atiga, 11 Tom Brown, 10 Piers Francis, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox (captain), 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Steven Lawrie, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Ross Ford, 17 John Yapp, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Perry Parker, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Richie Rees, 22 Harry Leonard, 23 Tim Visser.

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Stuart Olding, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Paul Marshall, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Mike McComish, 6 Dan Tuohy, 5 Lewis Stevenson, 4 Johann Muller (captain), 3 John Afoa, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Calum Black, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Nick Williams, 20 Ali Birch, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Ricky Andrew, 23 Peter Nelson.

Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant Referees: David Changleng, Graeme Marshall (both Scotland)

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