Dominant forwards send Ospreys to victory over Dragons

rugby25 March 2023 14:57
By:Rhodri Evans

Ospreys recorded a forward-dominated 37-18 (18-6) victory over their Welsh rivals Dragons RFC as Morgan Morris inspired his side to five-try win in Swansea on Saturday.

A red card to Sio Tomkinson sealed Dragons’ fate early in the second half but the visitors never gave up, scoring through Jordan Williams’s individual score and a penalty try.

The home side controlled the game from the outset though as Ospreys’ forwards ran riot in the first half with their backs adding gloss to the scoreline in the second.

Tries from Nicky Smith, Dan Lydiate, Morgan Morris, Iestyn Hopkins and Kieran Williams ensured their side are still in the mix for the Welsh shield and an outside shot at play-off qualification.

Ospreys started the better of the two sides and went ahead after eight minutes thanks to captain Nicky Smith’s quick pick, forcing himself through the helpless Dragons defence.

The west Walian region had the edge at the breakdown, with Ethan Roots, Sam Parry, and Dan Lydiate winning turnovers at key moments of Dragons ascendency.

Will Reed’s boot kept Dragons in the game as ill-discipline crept into Ospreys’ game.

Dragons struggled to impose themselves in the opening half an hour, conceding three scrum penalties as Smith and Tom Botha asserted their renowned set piece dominance.

Indicative of the Dragons’ afternoon was the performance of flanker Ross Moriarty. Often at the heart of his side’s good moments, his carrying and tackling was a lone bright spark.

However, as his is teammates made more mistakes around him, frustration reared its ugly head and the 56-cap Wales international was sent to the bin for a needless late shoulder charge.

With a man advantage in the pack, Ospreys played some rare, stylish rugby before the break.

A 22m lineout saw Roots spin back down the short side, offload to Morgan Morris who found Lydiate powering over the line for the try. A score made entirely by the Ospreys backrow was symptomatic of where the home side’s ascendancy came.

Angus O’Brien’s monster boot was the only thing keeping the away side within touching distance after a limp first period.

Ospreys picked up where they left off at the start of the second half as Morgan Morris found space down the blindside and showed off some quick feet to go over.

The situation went from bad to catastrophic as the TMO, Marius Jonker, spotted Sio Tomkinson’s dangerous high tackle on Walsh in the build up to Morris’s try.

Direct contact with the head meant Jaco Peyper had no choice but to send off the New Zealand-born centre and leave Dragons with 14 men.

Space in the wide areas gave Iestyn Hopkins his first try for Ospreys before Jordan Williams’ chip and chase immediately replied for the visitors.

The one-time Wales international’s individual score was the only ray of sunshine for the beleaguered Dragons in the second period.

Another Dragons error – this time a lineout overthrow – gave the returning Dewi Lake a chance to power over the gain line before feeding Kieran Williams to steam over the try line for a fifth score.

A late penalty try was all Dragons had to show for a period of control resulting from Dewi Lake’s yellow card.