Biggar steals points for Ospreys
PRO14 REPORT: Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar kicked a dramatic late drop-goal to give Ospreys an excellent win over Cardiff Blues in the last fixture of the regular season.
An excellent first half saw Alun Wyn Jones grab the first try of the match before Gareth Anscombe and Garyn Smith responded with two classy tries at Principality Stadium.
The capital outfit led at the break but Biggar then grabbed Ospreys’ second score to level things up, with he and Anscombe trading penalties to make it 23-23 heading into the final five minutes.
Ospreys worked their way upfield and Biggar duly knocked over a quickfire drop-goal, sealing the win to end a run of two Guinness PRO14 defeats.
The match started with Ospreys showing their attacking intent right from the off as Hanno Dirksen broke upfield, minutes later Biggar got the first points of the game with an easy three-pointer.
On 14 minutes though Anscombe, at fly-half for the match, made it 3-3 with a long-range shot from in front of the posts.
Ospreys continued with their attacking instincts and after an excellent break from Jeff Hassler through the middle the ball eventually worked its way to Jones, who shook off the last tackle to touch down out wide.
Biggar knocked over the conversion but five minutes later his opposite man scored one of the tries of the game – receiving the ball just past halfway and slaloming past the Ospreys defence all the way to the line.
The Blues soon had their second try as Steve Shingler poked a kick into the opposition 22, leaving midfield partner Smith to collect and dive over next to the posts.
The Blues led 20-13 after an entertaining first half but Ospreys were in no mood to submit and after the break began battering away at the opposition line, going close with an effort adjudged to have been held up over the line.
Determined to bring the scores level though the Ospreys ran through the phases until Biggar scored a brilliant effort, somehow wriggling through the line when the defence seemed to be closing all around him.
The Wales No.10’s conversion went over to level it up at 20-20 but on 68 minutes Anscombe knocked over a tricky penalty to nudge his side ahead.
The visitors weren’t to be outdone though and worked another penalty opportunity on 74 minutes that Biggar knocked over in a continuing battle of the fly-halves.
And it would be the Ospreys man who had the last laugh as his neat drop-goal with three minutes remaining edged his side ahead to seal the points on Judgement Day.
For Cardiff Blues:
Cons: Anscombe 2
Pens: Anscombe 3
Tries:AW Jones, Biggar
Cons: Biggar 2
Pens: Biggar 3
Cardiff Blues: 15 Matthew Morgan, 14 Aled Summerhill, 13 Garyn Smith, 12 Steven Shingler, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Gareth Anscombe (captain), 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Josh Turnbull, 7 Olly Robinson, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 James Down, 4 Damian Welch, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kirby Myhill, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Dillon Lewis, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Alun Lawrence, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Harri Millard, 23 Max Llewellyn.
Ospreys: 15 Dan Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Hanno Dirksen, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Tom Habberfield, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Cross, 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 Giorgi Nemsadze, 21 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Ashley Beck.
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Dan Jones (Wales), Shane Kierans (Ireland)
TMO: Neil Hennessey (Wales)