EDINBURGH’S players ended the game huddled in a circle on the pitch after this humiliating defeat. No doubt tough words were being spoken to make up for the lack of toughness on the pitch during the match.
SCORERS: Ospreys - Jones, Webb, Baker, Biggar, Hassler, Spratt, Dirkson, Grabham, Ardron tries; Biggar pen; Biggar 4 cons, Davies 3 cons. Edinburgh - Watson try, Heathcote con, 2 pens
The tackling of the Scottish side was feeble in the extreme, to be polite, a record defeat in the Pro12 with nine tries also a record number to concede. There was no silver lining, no consolation. This was simply capitulation with poor tackling to start and non-existent tackling at the finish. A faulty lineout helped sow the seeds of destruction as well, with plenty of handling errors added to the mix.
Perhaps appropriately for the home of Deacon Brodie, this was very much the Hyde part of Edinburgh’s Jekyll and Hyde season after winning in Munster to start it off – or maybe ‘hide’ would be a better way of describing the defence.
There were no excuses. The Ospreys are unbeaten this season and certainly did not play badly, but this was no team of Toulon-style all-stars.
There were flickers. Outside half Tom Heathcote took the ball to the line effectively in the opening exchanges, wing Tim Visser showed his predatory skills have not been dimmed by injury as he created their only try out of nothing.
The service of Sam Hidalgo-Clyne was also slick in the opening period, but these are straws to clutch at for a team who did not deliver. There were body blows at the start of the game and then again at the start of the second half, but most teams show a little bit more grit when their backs are up against the wall.
Edinburgh now have just five days to lick their wounds, do their recovery and prepare for a home game against the Scarlets on Friday night.
Edinburgh were up against it from the opening minute. Both sides got involved in kicking ping pong in the middle of the pitch before Ospreys full back Dan Evans took matters into his own hands and made a half break.
Scrum half Rhys Webb had the pace to sprint past the surprised Edinburgh forwards, then took advantage of an Edinburgh defence who kept trying to ankle tap him instead of tackling. Webb finished his run under the posts having found it far too easy.
Having run 50 metres for his first try, he soon added a second from about 50 inches. Ospreys back rower James King had been denied a try by the TMO, but the Ospreys stayed on the attack with Webb burrowing over round the edge of a ruck.
Edinburgh outside half Tom Heathcote slotted a penalty from in front of the posts when Edinburgh did launch an attack deep into the Ospreys 22, but it was the Welsh region who dominated the opening exchanges.
Whenever Edinburgh did find themselves in the Ospreys half, they soon found themselves defending again – often because of a wayward lineout throw from hooker James Hilterbrand. The Ospreys looked threatening from each turnover they won or were gifted.
A scrum near half way brought a penalty for the Ospreys for tighthead Willem Nel twisting in rather than driving straight, Biggar put the ball into the Edinburgh 22. Then the Ospreys set up a driving maul which encountered precious little resistance as they did a rapid trundle all the way to the line,
No 8 Dan Baker scoring the try.
Try machine Tim Visser turned provider for Edinbugh, chasing up his own fly hack ahead and then giving a delayed pass to flanker Hamish Watson for him to finish off the fortuitous move. Heathcote converted from near touch. Howeverm Biggar added a penalty just before half-time so the Ospreys were all smiles and laughs as they went off for the half-time break.
No wonder as despite a Heathcote penalty the Ospreys soon had the bonus point fourth try in the bag. Right wing Jeff Hassler cut through on the left and was stopped just short of the posts. However it was easy for the Ospreys to spread the ball wide for Biggar to score with several men outside him in case. He also converted.
Hassler had obviously got a taste for this running lark and once again it was a gift from Edinburgh to set him loose, the ball being spilled inside the Ospreys 22 and Hassler able to go the length of pitch to the opposite corner. It was proving to be no hassle for Hassler.
Edinburgh already just had pride to play for and they did launch one last attack which led to a yellow card for home flanker Justin Tipuric for obstruction of a quickly taken tap penalty.
However that was it in terms of encouragement for the visitors as they succumbed poorly after that. First centre Jonathan Spratt was able to work his way over in the corner, then left wing Hanno Dirksen went through beside a ruck, replacement wing Tom Grabham got an interception and finally replacement second row Tyler Ardron was able to stroll over wide out.
The increasingly common denominator was the lack of any serious tackling from the visitors and they crumbled completely in the closing minutes.
Ospreys: D Evans; J Hassler, J Spratt, J Matavesi, H Dirksen; D Biggar, R Webb; N Smith, S Baldwin, A Jarvis, A W Jones (capt), R Bernardo, J King, J Tipuric, D Baker. Subs: S Parry for Baldwin 62, D Jones for Smith 58, D Arhip for Jarvis 49, T Ardron for Jones 60 , M Allen for Baker 58, M Roberts for Webb 65, S Davies for Biggar 62, T Grabham for Hassler 62.
Edinburgh: J Cuthbert; N McLennan, P Burleigh, A Strauss (capt), T Visser; T Heathcote, S Hildago-Clyne; A Dickinson, J Hilterbrand, W Nel, F McKenzie, A Bresler, T Leonardi, H Watson, C du Preez. Subs: N Cochrane for Hilterbrand 62, R Sutherland for Dickinson 62, J Andress for Nel 50, O Atkins for Bresler 50, R Grant for Watson 62 , G Hart for Hildalgo-Clyne 50, S Beard for Strauss 62 , G Tonks for Heathcote 62, Hilderbrand for Cochrane 73.