Ospreys boosted their chances of qualifying for the semi-finals of the LV= Cup with a comfortable 29-7 ictory over an inexperienced Cardiff Blues line-up.
Cardiff forged ahead through centre Gavin Evans’ early try but the Ospreys quickly hit back as Matthew Morgan kicked four penalties in the first half, with a penalty try and a Morgan touchdown helping them into a healthy half-time lead. Hanno Dirksen completed the scoring for the Ospreys late on.
A healthy 10,320 crowd turned up on a chilly night but saw the home side battered up front and unable to score a single point in the last 78 minutes of the game. While the Ospreys, too, were missing their current international stars, their squad could still boast 146 caps, while the Blues had just the one, earned four years ago by Evans.
It was Evans who rounded off a neat move by hurling himself over the line to give his team a second-minute lead, 18-year-old Joe Griffin converting from wide out. It was a short-lived advantage. Two penalties by Ospreys’ talented fly-half Matthew Morgan were followed by a controversial penalty try to put the visitors ahead midway through the first half.
A brilliant offload by centre Gareth Owen allowed Morgan to break and his kick ahead forced Blues full-back Dan Fish to carry the ball over his own line. When the home side collapsed the resultant five-metre scrum, English international referee Dave Pearson dispensed with the usual warning and ran straight to the posts.
Morgan converted and added another penalty before blood replacement Allen marked his Ospreys debut with a dart from the back of a scrum to score. Wing Kristian Phillips was denied by the television match official as the Ospreys’ domination continued, but Morgan’s fourth penalty put them comfortably head at the break.
The Blues were given an early boost on the resumption when former Wales lock Ian Evans was sin-binned and prop Cai Griffiths soon followed him to the touchline, but the Ospreys’ six-man scrum were still able to push the home eight off the ball and the visitors survived their penalty period without conceding.
As the inevitable flood of replacements came on the game lost its shape, but one newcomer, former Blues fly-half Dai Flanagan, produced a superb miss-pass to send American wing Dirksen over in the corner to complete the scoring.