James double hands Ospreys a Scarlets victory

Two tries from prop Paul James proved decisive as the Ospreys made it four wins in-a-row in all competitions with a Boxing Day derby success over the Scarlets.

 

But the Llanelli-based side did take something from the game, with flanker Johnathan Edwards’ late converted try secured a losing bonus point.

Man-of-the-match Paul James scored in each half to condemn home side the Scarlets to their seventh defeat in nine outings.


But the Scarlets, in front of 14,800 spectators – the first capacity crowd at their new ground – did sneak a losing bonus point at the death with flanker Johnathan Edwards going over in the final minute.


The Scarlets enjoyed territorial advantage in the first half and they deserved to go in at the interval with a 9-7 lead.


It was a typical Boxing Day derby with no quarter given – and a lack of Christmas friendship, with tempers often overflowing – but the cards stayed in referee Nigel Owen’s pocket.


While the Scarlets had the bulk of possession, they found it hard to break down the Ospreys defence as Alun Wyn Jones, Jerry Collins and Ian Gough put in some big hits.


The Scarlets opened the scoring in the sixth minute with a penalty goal for Stephen Jones after recent Ospreys signing Ricky Januarie was caught in possession.


The Ospreys had a chance to level matters with their own penalty attempt but Dan Biggar was wide of the target – his first miss in 19 attempts in the last three matches.


But it mattered little for the Ospreys, who scored from their first serious attack. First Tommy Bowe and Biggar made good ground and, from a loose ball at the subsequent lineout, experienced front rower James went over unopposed for his first try.


The Scarlets responded well at the end of the first half. Rhys Priestland put over a penalty from the halfway line and, in injury-time, the talismanic Jones gave his side a two-point lead at the break with his second penalty.


But the Ospreys produced a key moment three minutes into the second half when James, taking up a position on the right wing, went over for his second and the most important try of the game.


The Ospreys, boosted by the introduction of the fit-again Lee Byrne who came on for his first appearance for two months, opened up an 18-9 lead with two Biggar penalty goals in the space of five minutes.
Biggar missed his first attempt but he was allowed to retake it, 10 metres closer to the posts, because Scarlets scrum half Martin Roberts put him off.


The Scarlets twice threatened the Ospreys line with concerted attacks, but five minutes from time Biggar landed his third penalty to take the visitors’ tally to 21 points. Edwards’ consolation try came from the final play of the game.


Final Score Scarlets (9) 14 Ospreys (7) 21


Scorers


Scarlets
Try: Edwards.
Pens: S Jones 2, Priestland.


Ospreys
Tries: James 2.
Con: Biggar.
Pens: Biggar 3.


Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU).


Teams


Scarlets: Rhys Priestland; Morgan Stoddart, Sean Lamont, Jonathan Davies, Andy Fenby; Stephen Jones, Martin Roberts; Phil John, Ken Owens, Deacon Manu, Lou Reed, Dominic Day, Simon Easterby, Johnathan Edwards, David Lyons (capt).


Replacements: Jamie Corsi, Emyr Phillips, Vernon Cooper, Rob McCusker, Lee Williams, Daniel Evans, Gareth Maule.


Ospreys: Gareth Owen; Tommy Bowe, Andrew Bishop, James Hook, Nikki Walker; Dan Biggar, Ricky Januarie; Paul James, Huw Bennett, Craig Mitchell, Ian Gough, Alun Wyn Jones, Jerry Collins, Marty Holah, Ryan Jones (capt).


Replacements: Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Ian Evans, Jonathan Thomas, Jamie Nutbrown, Sonny Parker, Lee Byrne.


With thanks to Magners League

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