Match Report: Ospreys Development 24 Leinster ‘A’ 54
September 20, 2019 / Dave Mervyn
Leinster Rugby ‘A’ maintained their winning run in this season’s Celtic Cup with a 54-24 victory over the Ospreys Development tonight. Steffan Thomas reports from St. Helen’s in Swansea.
The defending champions remain four points clear at the top of the table after five rounds, with Ulster ‘A’ (21 points) and Connacht Eagles (18) their closest challengers. Noel McNamara’s youngsters were very impressive as they ran in eight tries. On his first start at out-half, James Tarrant landed seven conversions for a 14-point haul.
The Ospreys Development XV were reduced to 14 men early on when flanker Morgan Morris was sent to the sin-bin for deliberately slowing down Leinster ‘A’ attacking ball inside the home side’s 22.
Leinster ‘A’ began to lay siege to the Ospreys line and following a period of sustained pressure, Ireland Under-20 international Ronan Watters powered his way over from close range. Tarrant converted the 15th-minute opener.
The visitors, who host Dragons ‘A’ at Energia Park next Saturday (kick-off 3pm) continued to pile on the pressure, and the Ospreys soon had another man in the bin with prop Rhys Davies shown a yellow card for a professional foul.
Leinster ‘A’ opted to go for the corner from the resulting penalty with Dan Sheehan crashing over as a result of a well-worked driving lineout. By now the province were rampant and after the forwards had gone through the phases, the ball was spun wide for Adam La Grue to touch down in the far right corner.
With two minutes before the interval, Watters grabbed his second try as the industrious openside showed tremendous strength to plough over the line, meaning the visitors turned around with a very healthy 26-0 advantage and another try-scoring bonus point in the bag.
To their credit, the Ospreys Development XV never let their heads drop and came out firing in the early stages of the second half. Following a couple of wasted opportunities, the Welsh region got their first points of the night when outside centre Tom Williams showed his pace to touch down at the corner.
However, their comeback was short-lived with young centre Liam Turner scoring the visitors’ fifth try after a some nice interplay between backs and forwards. Their sixth was the pick of the bunch as Paddy Patterson burst through the home defence to run in unopposed from 35 metres out, taking the scoreline to 40-5.
Josh Moore managed to claw back a try when the replacement hooker squeezed in at the corner, only for Leinster ‘A’ to cross again in the 66th minute courtesy of Gavin Mullin who used a burst of pace to touch down.
Fast-breaking full-back Rob Russell completed the scoring for the visitors, taking them onto 50 points or more for the third time in the tournament. Keiran Williams, who capitalised on a loose pass, and George Gasson claimed late consolation tries for the gallant hosts.
REFEREE: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)