Edinburgh 20 - 9 Ospreys: Edinburgh climb to top

Edinburgh's Greig Tonks (centre) drives forward. Picture: SNS Group
Edinburgh's Greig Tonks (centre) drives forward. Picture: SNS Group
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EDINBURGH made it three wins from three to move top of the Guinness Pro12 last night but they were made to work hard by an awkward Ospreys side missing a dozen players to World Cup duty.

Tries from stand-off Phil Burleigh and prop John Andress and a man-of-the-match display by goal-kicking full-back Greig Tonks made the difference for the home side on an evening devoid of thrills.

It took 25 minutes for Edinburgh to make any serious inroads into the Ospreys half during a low-key opening which was characterised by scrappy play and punctuated by penalties, almost exclusively against the home side. Visiting stand-off Sam Davies scored two and missed another couple for a 6-0 lead.

If Edinburgh had failed to get going in that first quarter, then it was equally true that the Welsh side were not exactly threatening to do much with the bulk of possession they enjoyed.

The last 15 minutes of a low-key half saw the home side finally get the bit between their teeth and start to bear down on the opposition line. The driving maul got going and the penalty count swung dramatically in the home side’s favour as the Welsh eight began to feel the heat. Scrums were opted for instead of shots at goal and the infringements kept coming, with the Edinburgh stalwarts on the touchline baying for a penalty try.

In the end there was no need for the ref’s assistance on that score as stand-off Burleigh spotted a hole in the defence down the right channel and squeezed in at the corner, Tonks converting to give Edinburgh the lead. However, just before half-time the home forwards leaked another penalty and Davies slotted left-footed from 40 metres wide on the right to give the visitors a two-point advantage at the break.

Tonks was quick to get Edinburgh’s noses back in front with a straight-forward penalty shortly after the resumption and stretched the lead out to four points in the 64th minute following a period of home pressure that was blunted by an inability to retain possession for long enough to turn the screw.

That changed as the game entered the final ten minutes as, finally, some sustained phase play had the Welsh rocking. Hamish Watson and Roddy Grant came agonisingly close to conjuring an opening before Andress finished off a forward drive for the relieving try, sub Jack Cuthbert adding the extras.