Ospreys ended their LV= Cup campaign with a hard-fought victory over London Wasps at the Brewery Field.
There was little between the sides but better goal-kicking – from Dai Flanagan and then Dan Biggar – saw the Ospreys home despite the visitors scoring the game’s only tries through Mark van Gisbergen and Tom Varndell. With the Liberty Stadium unavailable due to the Swansea v Cardiff Championship football match, a crowd of 4,800 turned out to witness the spectacle.
Wasps lacked control at half-back and failed to make enough use of impressive wings, Richard Haughton and Varndell, who troubled the Ospreys’ defence whenever they were in possession. The visitors should have held a comfortable lead by half-time but missed chances and poor goal-kicking cost them dear.
The second half was shaded by the Ospreys in terms of possession and territory but they rarely threatened the visitors’ try line and had to rely on kicks for all their points. In centre Tom Isaacs, they had the most determined runner on show and he easily outshone the Wasps combination of Dominic Waldouck and Riki Flutey.
The hosts took an early lead when Flanagan kicked a third-minute penalty after Wasps were penalised at a scrum 40 metres out. Wasps soon responded and a long pass from Varndell saw Haughton hauled down narrowly short of the Ospreys’ line.
The visitors then had a succession of attacking five-metre scrums but could not capitalise on them. Wasps should have drawn level but Dave Walder made a dreadful hash of a 25-metre penalty attempt, and they were made to pay for their inaccuracies after 28 minutes when Flanagan extended the Ospreys’ lead with a well-struck angled penalty.
Almost immediately, though, Wasps responded with the first try of the game. They moved the ball sweetly along the line for Haughton to evade the tackle of Gareth Owen and provide the inside scoring pass to the supporting Van Gisbergen. Walder’s conversion attempt from the touchline again went horribly astray.
Just before the interval the fly-half again had a chance to give his side a deserved half-time lead but his long-range penalty attempt fell short to leave the Ospreys 6-5 ahead at the interval. Wasps suffered a blow within four minutes of the restart when the lively Van Gisbergen left the field with an injury.
The Ospreys then produced their most fluid move of the game. Isaacs started the momentum with a fine angled run out of defence and it was continued by Justin Tipuric and Craig Cross. The visitors conceded a penalty and Flanagan was successful with a simple kick to extend his side’s lead.
Another fine run from centre Isaacs put the Ospreys on the attack once again and, when Wasps offended, Flanagan kicked his fourth penalty to give his side a 12-5 advantage going into the final quarter.
Biggar was introduced to replace Flanagan just before the hour mark but it was Wasps who collected the next score when Walder was eventually on target with a 20-metre penalty. However, that score was soon cancelled out when Biggar dropped a neat goal.
The Welshman nearly extended the Ospreys’ lead soon after, only to be narrowly beaten to the touchdown after a kick and a chase, but he then added another penalty to give the hosts a 10-point cushion. Wasps scored a late consolation try through Varndell but again Walder missed the kick and the Ospreys held on for victory.