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Hibbard, Walker star in Ospreys romp

Sun, 22 Sep 2013 06:25
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Jackson impresses for Ulster
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Eli Walker and Richard Hibbard both grabbed doubles as Ospreys put Edinburgh to the sword in a comfortable 44-10 win that lifts them to second in the Pro12 table.

The Ospreys have now won their last 10 home games in the league and it was a welcome sight for the Welsh region who welcomed back their full contingent of British & Irish Lions players.

* In the other Saturday fixture Ulster picked up their first win of the new Pro12 season by seeing off fellow Irish province Connacht 18-7 in Galway.

Last year's runners-up overcame a strong Connacht start to triumph, in large part thanks to the work of young flyhalf Paddy Jackson.

We look at Saturday's drama!

Ospreys 44-10 Edinburgh

Eli Walker and Richard Hibbard both grabbed doubles as Ospreys put Edinburgh to the sword in a comfortable 44-10 win that lifts them to second in the Pro12 table.

The Ospreys have now won their last 10 home games in the league and it was a welcome sight for the Welsh region who welcomed back their full contingent of British & Irish Lions players.

The Welshmen have been away on their travels so far this season, but boosted by the return of skipper Alun Wyn Jones, in his first appearance of the season, alongside fellow Lions Adam Jones, Hibbard, and Ian Evans and Justin Tipuric it was a six-try romp.

Jeff Hassler marked his first start for the region with the first try of the game with only three minutes on the clock, the wing diving over after a well-worked wrap around move from a rolling maul.

Dan Biggar added the conversion and two more penalties from the Wales flyhalf meant that the hosts were 13-0 to the good with less than 20 minutes on the clock.

Harry Leonard responded with a penalty of his own to finally get the visitors on the board around the half hour mark.

But before half-time Walker skipped clear down the left wing and the Ospreys were in total control, Biggar missing the conversion but his side went in 18-3 up at the break.

Any hopes Alan Solomons might have had of turning the game around after the interval at the Liberty Stadium soon disappeared when Hibbard barged over in only the 42nd minute to make it 23-3.

The Scots needed a response and they got it when Tim Visser came in off his wing to burst through a gap and motor over for the Scots' first try of the night, Leonard adding the conversion for 23-10.

But that was about as good as it got for Edinburgh as, despite Tipuric being sent to the sin bin for his involvement in a scuffle, Hibbard crossed for his second try and the bonus point score for Steve Tandy's men.

Walker then got back in the action, finishing of a fine team move to grab his second and with Biggar converting both scores it was now 37-10 to the hosts.

Both sides emptied their benches with the result now a foregone conclusion and it was an Ospreys replacement Matthew Morgan who had the final say.

The 21-year-old, on for Biggar at flyhalf, made a bursting run from deep and his momentum carried him over the try-line in the left corner before he dusted himself down to add the conversion and seal an impressive victory.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Tries:
Walker 2, Hibbard 2, Hassler, Morgan
Cons: Biggar 3, Morgan
Pens: Biggar 2

For Edinburgh:
Try:
Visser
Con: Leonard
Pen: Leonard

Yellow card: Justin Tipuric (Ospreys, 50)

Teams:

Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Andrew Bishop, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Morgan Allen, 7 Sam Lewis, 6 Tom Smith, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Tyler Ardron, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Tom Grabham, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Aisea Natoga.

Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Dougie Fife, 12 Nick De Luca, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Harry Leonard, 9 Sean Kennedy, 8 David Denton, 7 Roddy Grant (captain), 6 Dimitri Basilaia, 5 Izak van der Westhuizen, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Wicus Blaauw, 18 WP Nel, 19 Ollie Atkins, 20 Hamish Watson, 21 Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, 22 Michael Tait, 23 Jack Cuthbert.

Referee: Claudio Blessano (Italy)
Assistant referees: Gwyn Morris (Wales), Greg Morgan (Wales)
TMO: Paul Adams (Wales)

Connacht 7-18 Ulster

Ulster picked up their first win of the new Pro12 season by seeing off fellow Irish province Connacht 18-7 in Galway.

Last year's runners-up overcame a strong Connacht start to triumph, in large part thanks to the work of young flyhalf Paddy Jackson.

In front of watching new Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, Ulster's Irish international scored a try and kicked a further eight points to help his side to victory at the Sportsground.

Schmidt would also have been pleased to see the return to action of wing Craig Gilroy who appeared for the first time since last April following a lengthy layoff due to a groin injury.

The game also saw Dan Parks become the first man to pass 1,500 points in the league's history following a 10th-minute try, but the Scotsman was eventually overshadowed by opposite number Jackson.

In the sixth minute, Connacht were the first to threa10 but Eoin Griffin and Gavin Duffy were unable to combine at the last moment, a knock-on denying a try-scoring chance.

Parks passed the landmark points tally in the 10th minute when a spell of sustained pressure finally told.

Connacht were proving patient in their build-up and when Parks spotted a gap he easily brushed off a number of Ulster challenges to stretch over to the right of the posts, the Scot adding the conversion for a 7-0 lead.

It didn't take long for the visitors to respond, however, as within five minutes they grabbed a try of their own sparked by an intelligent break from Jackson as wing Michael Allen touched down in the corner, though Jackson failed to add the extras.

Ulster continued to press but found stubborn resistance from the home side's defence.

Parks had the chance to relieve some pressure in the 28th minute but he pushed a penalty wide of the posts.

And opposite number Jackson was at this point failing to find his range with a penalty miss of his own.

With the last action of the half Ulster pushed for a try but Connacht held firm once more to force an error close to the try-line and take a 7-5 lead into the break.

Gilroy was introduced from the bench at half-time and would have enjoyed a second half during which the visitors were largely on the front foot.

Jared Payne thought he had given the Ulstermen the lead for the first time in the game shortly after the break as they continued in the ascendancy, but he was ruled to have been held up.

In the 55th minute Jackson, who had impressed with the ball in hand throughout, finally kicked successfully for the first time of the night after Connacht were penalised for collapsing the scrum, gifting Ulster the lead for the first time at 7-8.

And they ex10ded the lead soon after with a fine Jackson try. A breakaway almost put Darren Cave through but the centre was tackled just before the try-line. Play was recycled well by Luke Marshall - who had made the original break - and he found Payne who cleverly put Jackson through for Ulster's second try of the game which he duly converted himself.

Shortly after the hour Jackson's penalty enhanced Ulster's continued dominance as they went 7-18 ahead.

And the deficit proved too much for Connacht to claw back as their losing run against their fellow Irish provinces that goes back to April 2012 continued.

The scorers:

For Connacht:
Try:
Parks
Con: Parks

For Ulster:
Tries:
Allen, Jackson
Con: Jackson
Pens: Jackson 2

Teams:

Connacht: 15 Gavin Duffy, 14 Fionn Carr, 13 Robbie Henshaw, 12 Eoin Griffin, 11 Matt Healy, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 John Muldoon, 7 Willie Faloon, 6 Jake Heenan, 5 Craig Clarke, 4 Michael Swift (captain), 3 Nathan White, 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Brett Wilkinson.
Replacements: 16 Sean Henry, 17 Rodney Ah You, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Aly Muldowney, 20 George Naoupu, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Craig Ronaldson, 23 Danie Poolman.

Ulster: 15 Jared Payne, 14 David McIlwaine, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Michael Allen, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Ian Porter, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Chris Henry, 6 Roger Wilson, 5 Iain Henderson, 4 Johann Muller (captain), 3 Declan Fitzpatrick, 2 Rob Herring, 1 Tom Court.
Replacements: 16 Niall Annett, 17 Kyle McCall, 18 Ricky Lutton, 19 Lewis Stevenson, 20 Robbie Diack, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 James McKinney, 23 Craig Gilroy.

Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Kieran Barry (Ireland), John Carvill (Ireland)
TMO: Kevin Beggs (Ireland)

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