Ospreys see off Leinster
PRO14 REPORT: Dan Evans scored two tries as Ospreys won their third Pro14 game on the bounce and saw off Conference B leaders Leinster 32-18.
The Welsh side improved their hopes of finishing in the Champions Cup spots in Conference A, while Leinster failed to capitalise on Scarlets’ defeat at Munster Rugby earlier in the day.
Fullback Evans scored twice in the first half as a strong opening from Ospreys proved to be crucial in the outcome of the match.
Tom Habberfield added another try for the hosts, but Barry Daly pulled one back for Leinster just before half-time.
Justin Tipuric scored Ospreys fourth try on 49 minutes, but Leinster hit back once more with Rory O'Loughlin getting in on the act.
Ross Byrne put the first points on the board with a Leinster penalty after excellent work from centre O’Loughlin.
But Ospreys soon hit back, with Evans crossing for an historic score, the 712th in a regular Pro14 season, beating the previous record of 711 set during the 2016/17 campaign.
Dan Biggar collected a high ball among a crowd of players and set the Welsh side on the attack.
The ball made its way to the left flank where Tipuric made some metres down the wing before passing inside to Hanno Dirksen and on to Evans for the try.
After 25 minutes, Ospreys and Evans had extended the lead, this time profiting from some excellent forward work and 13 phases of play before the ball was fed down the backline.
An excellent offload from Kieron Fonotia presented Evans with the opportunity and he grabbed the ball at the second attempt, touching down in the corner, with Biggar adding the conversion.
Leinster struggled to find a way into the game, with Ospreys dominating the first half, and the Welsh side scored again shortly before the interval.
Ashley Beck turned provider this time, stepping inside the Leinster defence and passing the ball to his left where Habberfield was on hand to score under the posts.
But Leinster found time for a try of their own on the stroke of half-time, as an excellent Adam Byrne carry and a strong Sean Cronin carry presented Daly with a try-scoring chance in the corner.
Ospreys picked up the bonus-point try nine minutes into the second half as the centres, Fonotia and Beck combined beautifully to get behind the Leinster defence and Tipuric had an easy finish under the posts.
But Leinster kept themselves in the game with O’Loughlin showing great desire and pace to reach Luke McGrath's grubber kick through before the ball went dead.
The two sides exchanged penalties, but Ospreys managed the game well and secured their third win in succession.
Tries: Evans 2, Habberfield, Tipuric
Cons: Biggar 3
Pens: Biggar 2
Tries: Daly, O'Loughlin
Pens: R Byrne, Carbery
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 Sam Cross, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Olly Cracknell, 5 Alun Wyn Jones (captain), 4 Bradley Davies, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Scott Otten, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Ifan Phillips, 17 Rhodri Jones, 18 Ma’afu Fia, 19 Adam Beard, 20 Rob McCusker, 21 Matthew Aubrey, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Owen Watkin.
Leinster: 15 Joey Carbery, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Rory O’Loughlin, 12 Noel Reid, 11 Barry Daly, 10 Ross Byrne, 9 Luke McGrath (captain), 8 Jack Conan, 7 Jordi Murphy, 6 Josh Murphy, 5 Scott Fardy, 4 Ross Molony, 3 Andrew Porter, 2 Seán Cronin, 1 Jack McGrath.
Replacements: 16 James Tracy, 17 Ed Byrne, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Ian Nagle, 20 Max Deegan, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Dave Kearney, 23 Adam Byrne.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Andrew Brace (Ireland), Frank Murphy (Ireland)
TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland)