United Rugby Championship: Edinburgh 19-15 Ospreys – Hosts hang onto tense victory
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United Rugby Championship: Edinburgh 19-15 Ospreys – Hosts hang onto tense victory

Edinburgh rose to fourth in the United Rugby Championship (URC) table after a tense home victory against Ospreys.

United Rugby Championship: Edinburgh 19-15 Ospreys - Hosts hang onto tense victory
United Rugby Championship: Edinburgh 19-15 Ospreys – Hosts hang onto tense victory

The home side utilised the wind to build up a 16-3 half-time lead thanks to a Hamish Watson try and 11 points from Ben Healy.

Ospreys responded with second-half tries from hooker Sam Parry and replacement Morgan Morris to bring the visitors to within a point.

But Healy slotted over a late penalty to clinch the victory.

There was just one point separating these play-off contenders going into the match but an Ospreys defeat means they have slipped one league place to eighth.

Edinburgh were boosted by the release of seven players from Scotland’s Six Nations squad, with WP Nel, Healy, Sam Skinner, Glen Young, Harry Paterson and Watson starting, while centre Mark Bennett made his 100th appearance.

Watson was especially impressive with his try backed up by his dogged defensive work.

In contrast, Ospreys had nobody released by Wales but wing Alex Cuthbert was making his first start in more than a year after coming on as a replacement against Ulster.

Number eight Jeandre Rudolph made his Ospreys debut while fellow on-loan Cheetahs players and Evardi Boshoff and Victor Sekekete also started.

Ospreys gained a couple of penalties from the scrum with Edwards opening the scoring with a penalty, while centre Boshoff was prominent in the early exchanges in attack and defence.

Edinburgh broke through the Ospreys defence with Viliame Mata powering over the gain line and feeding centre Matt Currie, who provided the try-scoring pass to Watson.

Healy converted and slotted over two penalties as the hosts took advantage of Ospreys’ indiscipline at the breakdown.

Rudolph ripped possession from Scotland prop Nel to launch Harri Deaves on a rampaging counter-attack which finished with a Keelan Giles grubber kick and the visitors transgressing again.

Edinburgh proved more clinical as Healy kicked a third penalty as the home side led by 13 points at half-time.

Ospreys rallied in the second half with hooker Parry driven over from a trademark attacking rolling maul.

United Rugby Championship: Edinburgh 19-15 Ospreys - Hosts hang onto tense victory
United Rugby Championship: Edinburgh 19-15 Ospreys – Hosts hang onto tense victory

Ospreys brought on Morris, Rhys Davies and Owen Williams after the trio had recovered from injury.

Scotland flanker Watson continued to disrupt the Ospreys at the contact area, in a man of the match display. Edinburgh’s scrum also started to gain the upper hand and home wing Paterson was the hosts’ most dangerous attack threat.

Centre Keiran Williams denied the hosts a try with an important intervention before Healy’s penalty attempt drifted wide.

Ospreys soaked up the pressure and another clever Giles kick and follow-up from Keiran Williams set up an attacking platform with Morris eventually being driven over.

Replacement fly-half Williams converted but crucially knocked on in his own 22 which eventually allowed Healy to kick his fourth penalty.

Ospreys spurned two late attacking opportunities with a pair of sloppy line-out plays costing them dear.

Edinburgh flanker Hamish Watson: “It was frustrating because we controlled things in the first half. In the second half, our attack got a bit stagnant, they scored a decent try and we gave away a few too many turnovers.

“We knew they are a really good team and are on a roll. We knew it would be tough and they would not go away easily. So credit to the Ospreys.

“It felt a tiny bit like a loss at the end but it is still a win and four points for us.”

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth: “We gave ourselves an opportunity to win it at the end, like we have done many times, so not to get over the line on this occasion is disappointing.

“We have contributed to our own downfall in the first half and have been left wanting and the frustrating thing was some of the stuff was avoidable. The conditions were very difficult in both halves.

“We had a shot to win it but we don’t want to gloss over the problems we had before half-time around our discipline and then we did not capitalise on a few key moments.”

Edinburgh: Emiliano Boffelli; Harry Paterson, Mark Bennett, Matt Currie, Chris Dean; Ben Healy, Ben Vellacott (capt); Boan Venter, Dave Cherry, WP Nel, Sam Skinner, Glen Young, Tom Dodd, Hamish Watson, Viliame Mata.

Replacements: Patrick Harrison, Luan de Bruin, Javan Sebastian, Marshall Sykes, Ben Muncaster, Ali Price, Cameron Scott, Wes Goosen.

Ospreys: Jack Walsh; Alex Cuthbert, Evardi Boshoff, Keiran Williams, Keelan Giles; Dan Edwards, Luke Davies; Nicky Smith, Sam Parry, Tom Botha, James Ratti, Victor Sekekete, Harri Deaves, Justin Tipuric (capt)Jeandre Rudolph.

Replacements: Lewis Lloyd, Rhys Henry, Ben Warren, Rhys Davies, Morgan Morris, Cameron Jones, Owen Williams, Mat Protheroe.

Referee: Chris Busby (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Rob McDowell & Calum Worsley (SRU)

TMO: Colin Stanley (IRFU)

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