George North scored the opening try of the Ospreys’ first game in 184 days, but seven minutes later saw red in the 20-20 draw with the Dragons at the Liberty Stadium. It means the Wales and British & Irish Lions wing faces the prospect of another month or more on the sidelines ahead of Wales’ scheduled Six Nations clash with Scotland at the end of next month.
North barged two men off to score the first try of the Guinness Pro14 contest in the seventh minute but then got his timing wrong as he challenged opposite number Ashton Hewitt at the kick-off following the Dragons wing’s 20-metre dash to the home try line moments earlier.
As Hewitt jumped high to catch the ball, North got underneath him and sent the Dragons’ player into a complete somersault before landing on his neck.
Referee Adam Jones had no option other than to dismiss the Wales wing for the first time in his career after replaying the incident on the big screen.
The day after the Scarlets had beaten the Blues in Llanelli, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac was allowed to run his eye over the rest of his home-grown talent.
However, it was an import – former England outside half Stephen Myler – who got the scoreboard moving.
The new recruit from London Irish bagged the first points under the Ospreys’ new head coach Toby Booth with a third minute penalty and then added the extras to the North try.
Hewitt’s quick response was converted by Ospreys old boy Sam Davies and then the Dragons went ahead. Giant prop Leon Brown crashed through one tackle, raced 20 metres and then carried Dan Evans over the line to claim a rare try and make it 12-10 to the visitors.
Myler slotted another penalty before Kieran Williams created the space to send hooker Scott Otten racing 20 metres to the posts for a second home try that Myler again improved.
On the stroke of half-time Davies cut the gap to five points with a penalty, to keep the game hanging in the balance.
The Ospreys’ 14 men were denied a try at the start of the second half when a forward was held up over the line and Myler was wide with a reasonable penalty shot.
It looked as though another former Ospreys player, full-back Dafydd Howells, had levelled the scores with a 71st-minute try. However, after studying the video the officials found he had lost control of the ball as he went over the line and ruled out the score.
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) August 23, 2020
The Dragons continued to press home their numerical advantage and it finally told in the 79th minute when they worked Hewitt over for a try in the left corner.
That levelled the scores and Davies’ conversion was just wide to leave the spoils shared.
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