Biggar's boot help Ospreys see off Cardiff
PRO14 MATCH REPORT: Dan Biggar showed off his kicking prowess to set up three tries in the Ospreys' 29-28 derby win over the Cardiff Blues in a thrilling Guinness PRO14 encounter.
After Jeff Hassler's intercept try, Biggar's boot made two tries for Rhys Webb and one for Justin Tipuric as the Ospreys earned five points.
However they were pushed all the way as Nick Williams, Owen Lane and Garyn Smith all crossed for the Blues who almost pulled off an unlikely comeback.
The Blues made the perfect start with a penalty in the very first minute after the Ospreys tried and failed to run the ball out of their own 22, Josh Navidi getting over the ball to earn the shot at goal.
Gareth Anscombe made no mistake from in front, and he almost had Cardiff in for a first try with a nice short pass to put Rey Lee-Lo through a gap. Hassler did well to get across and prevent the score.
However it was only temporary respite, from a line-out a minute later Navidi had a charge and was stopped just short of the line. With the defence scrambling Nick Williams picked and went, and from a metre out he was never going to be stopped.
The Ospreys did not take long to respond, Hassler picking off a pass from Matthew Morgan on halfway and racing over, Biggar's conversion made it 8-7.
Once again the Blues earned a penalty from the restart, with Anscombe making no mistake from the right.
In a back-and-forth encounter, the home side responded immediately, Biggar collecting his own chip over the top just outside the Blues 22, then finding Webb to race over for the try. Biggar's conversion made it 14-11.
The two kickers exchanged kicks in the final stages of the first half, with the Ospreys taking a 17-14 lead into the break.
The Ospreys continued in the same vein after the break, with Webb helping himself to a second as he finished off a move started by another Biggar kick.
This time the Wales fly-half chipped across to Ashley Beck. He passed back inside to Justin Tipuric who in turn found Webb whose quick feet saw him beat one man and race over.
The momentum was very much with the Ospreys, and they had the bonus point just after the hour, taking advantage of more quick thinking by Biggar.
After Alex Cuthbert had been sent to the sin-bin as he strayed offside with the Ospreys a metre out, Biggar took the penalty quickly, hoisting a cross-kick to Tipuric who simply had to catch and fall over the line. Biggar missed the conversion but the Ospreys were in complete control at 29-14, with a bonus point in the bag.
However just as it seemed the Ospreys would run away with it, the Blues hit back with a try from Lane. Despite being a man down, they worked their way into the home 22, and then off his wing Lane had enough power and strength to go over in the corner.
Anscombe converted and did the same again when Smith went over for a third Cardiff Blues try, making it 29-28 and setting up a thrilling finish.
The game was then held up by a serious injury to Owen Watkin two minutes from time but after that delay the Ospreys were able to see out the win.
Tries:Hassler, Webb 2, Tipuric
Cons: Biggar 3
For Cardiff Blues:
Tries:Williams, Lane, Smith
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 3
Yellow cards: Gareth Anscombe (Cardiff Blues, 62), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues, 62)
Ospreys: 15 Sam Davies, 14 Dan Evans, 13 Ashley Beck, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Jeff Hassler, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Rob McCusker, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Scott Baldwin, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Otten, 17 Gareth Thomas, 18 Dmitri Arhip, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Will Jones, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 James Hook, 23 Dafydd Howells.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Owen Lane, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Josh Turnbull, 4 Damian Welch, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Kristian Dacey (captain), 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 George Earle, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Tomos Williams, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Matthew Morgan.
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones, Adam Jones (Wales)
TMO: Jon Mason (Wales)