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90pt Welsh derby sees Ospreys keep Champions Cup hopes alive

By PA
Alun Wyn Jones of Ospreys applauds the fans during the United Rugby Championship match between Ospreys and Scarlets at the Swansea.com Stadium (Photo by Athena Pictures/Getty Images)

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The Ospreys kept their Heineken Champions Cup qualification hopes alive with a thrilling 54-36 victory over the Scarlets in Swansea.

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Nicky Smith, Morgan Morris, Keelan Giles, Dewi Lake (2), Michael Collins, Owen Watkin and Sam Parry touched down and Gareth Anscombe kicked 14 points, with the Ospreys piling on 40 points in the second half.

Ryan Conbeer was unfortunate to be on the losing side after running in a hat-trick for the visitors, with Gareth Davies and Kieran Hardy also going over.

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The Ospreys are now five points behind the Scarlets with a game in hand, with the winners of the Welsh Shield qualifying for next season’s Champions Cup.

Toby Booth’s side drew first blood when Anscombe sent Alex Cuthbert through a hole. Cuthbert was brought down, but the ball was recycled with Smith powering over from close range for a try which Anscombe converted.

The Scarlets hit back with a well-crafted try of their own. Sam Costelow was playing so flat he sent dynamic Argentinian openside Tomas Lezana charging towards the Ospreys 22. Lezana found Davies on his shoulder, who touched down for the try.

The Scarlets were full of confidence and when the ball found its way into Conbeer’s hands he brushed aside Mat Protheroe with ease before running in unopposed from 45 metres out. Costelow converted from the touchline, but the Ospreys responded when Giles raced up the touchline.

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The wing was stopped short, but the Ospreys had enough momentum to exploit the Scarlets defence, with number eight Morris showing his power to force his way over the line.

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A well-timed pass from Costelow put Conbeer over for an easy finish meaning the Scarlets held a 24-14 lead at the interval.

The Ospreys came out firing in the second half, with Anscombe slicing through the visiting defence. The Scarlets were at sixes and sevens in defence and Anscombe’s pass sent Giles over for a try.

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This was end to end stuff, with the Scarlets temporarily reduced to 14 men when wing Corey Baldwin got sent to the sin bin for intentionally slapping the ball down as Giles attempted to offload after another electric break.

The Ospreys made the most of their numerical advantage, with Lake scoring two tries in the space of five minutes courtesy of the home side’s driving line-out.

Giles sparked the Ospreys’ next try with a sensational 75-metre break before finding Collins for the try.

Watkin was next on the scoreboard as he charged over from close range, but Hardy claimed one back for the Scarlets.

Conbeer showed his strength to brush off three defenders for his hat-trick, before Parry capped the victory for the Ospreys with their eighth try.

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