Gloucester are denied opening LV=Cup win at the death
OSPREYS 33 GLOUCESTER 27
GLOUCESTER thought they had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat before the Ospreys stole an opening LV=Cup victory at the Liberty Stadium.
After falling 13 points behind with 14 minutes left, two late tries in the final seconds earned the Cherry and Whites a slender one-point advantage with no time left.
But referee David Rose found plenty more minutes for the home side to steal over and deny the visitors after the Welsh region had used the battering rain the most effectively.
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Home fly-half Matthew Morgan had the first chance to open the scoring but dragged his 40metre kick wide on three minutes before opposite number Billy Burns showed him how it was done six minutes later.
Almost immediately from the restart the home side won another chance to get on the board which Morgan did not waste to level it up.
However, the Gloucester front row were putting the pressure on in the scrum and from the set-piece the Ospreys could not take it and Burns kicked his team into a 6-3 lead on 17.
Ospreys came back straight away with their forwards taking it to the visitors in their own 22 and that pressure brought a penalty which Morgan ignored to knock through a drop goal on 20.
Then came the first try of the game when Burns ignored the points on offer with a penalty inside Ospreys’ 22 and booted to touch.
The maul was engaged and Ospreys lock James King could not resist coming into the ruck from an offside position and received ten minutes in the bin on 25 minutes.
Burns sent another one to touch with the catch and drive seeing Italian hooker Tommaso D’Apice peeling off and breaking through to metres out before popping to Yann Thomas to dot down.
Despite the home crowd’s whistles, Burns kept his composure to slot the kick and lead 13-6 but two minutes later Morgan ignored his penalty advantage again to knock through another drop goal.
The Welsh ten then squirted a drop goal wide on half an hour with more advantage in hand before making amends to pull within one with the penalty.
King returned and with seconds left Nigel Davies’ men looked to run the clock down with Burns’ goal-line touch clearance.
With ten seconds of the half remaining, the Welsh region went for the catch and drive and Gloucester’s Dario Chistolini got on the wrong side of the maul and Morgan put his side two up at the break, 15-13.
The home side made the best of the conditions at the start of the second period with effective up and unders causing chaos in the Gloucester ranks and putting them on the front foot.
That pressure from the forwards saw Morgan given a sight of goal on 43 but he kicked wide.
His pack then pounded Gloucester’s line and they thought they had scored when they scraped the post padding but the third match official said it was knocked on.
Gloucester did not learn from that warning as they struggled to clear their lines and Morgan knocked through another kick on 59 to lead 18-13.
Gloucester boss Davies then saw his son Sam enter the action for the Ospreys and he was straight into the thick of the action slotting a penalty on 62 to go eight ahead.
The Ospreys forwards then surged forward and sucked defenders in before spinning the ball wide for winger Tom Grabham to score wide but Davies could not convert.
At 13 points down and 14 minutes to go, Gloucester staged what they thought was a match-winning comeback.
Wing Shane Monahan injected some pace when he caught an up and under and shot 40 metres up field before winning a penalty which went to touch but the maul came to nothing.
The backs tried to pierce the defensive line up the middle and with a penalty in hand replacement Dan Murphy picked up and dived over with Dan Robson quickly drop-goal converting.
With six points left and seven minutes to go, the Gloucester scrum won another penalty which Robson sent to the corner before the catch and drive was dragged down.
The referee went under the posts and Robson happily converted with the stadium clock showing no time left.
Gloucester thought they had won it when replacement Dave Lewis booted to touch in his own half but from the lineout Ospreys surged forward and number eight Morgan Allen broke through to score.
It was ironic that Davies junior had the last word by converting and getting one over his dad to seal the win leaving Gloucester with a road losing-bonus point.
OSPREYS: R Jones; T Grabham (Edwards, 69), B John, J Sprat, W Price; M Morgan (Davies, 60), R Webb (Habberfield, 60); M Thomas, M Dwyer, J Rees (Thomas, 67); L Peers (Hughes, 70), J King; G Stowers, S Lewis (captain), M Allen. Replacements: S Otten, N Smith, N Thomas, R Hughes, A Ellis, T Habberfield, S Davies, N Edwards.
GLOUCESTER: M Thomas, S Monahan, D Locke, T Molenaar, I Clark; B Burns (Lewis, 52), D Robson; Y Thomas (Murphy, 44), T D’Apice (Britton, 59), D Chistolini (Heard, 68); E Stooke, W Graulich; R Moriarty, M Cox, P Buxton. Replacements: K Britton, D Murphy, T Heard, E King, B Sparks, D Lewis, G Boulton, S Reynolds.