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Ospreys made to work for win over gutsy Zebre Parma

By PA
Sam Parry

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The Ospreys picked up a fourth successive home victory in the United Rugby Championship but were made to work for their 27-22 win by a spirited Zebre Parma outfit.

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The Italians arrived in Swansea without six players on international duty and had not won a game in any competition for more than a year, but they collected their second point of the campaign after running their hosts close.

Sam Parry, Morgan Morris and Will Griffiths scored tries for the Ospreys, while Stephen Myler converted all three and added two penalties, but Toby Booth’s men missed out on a bonus point.

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Zebre’s points came courtesy of five Antonio Rizzi penalties and a converted try from Liam Mitchell.

Myler gave the home side – who welcomed Dan Lydiate back to the starting XV for the first time in more than a year – an early lead with a simple penalty, before Rizzi struck a post with Zebre’s first chance for points.

Rizzi made no mistake with his next opportunity from 30 metres to leave the scores level at 3-3 at the end of a featureless first quarter.

The Italians produced the first threatening attack when, following a neat round of passing, Fijian wing Asaeli Tuivuaka made ground down the right flank before the Ospreys were penalised, with Rizzi kicking a straightforward penalty.

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It took 32 uninspiring minutes for the first try to occur. Following a penalty award, the Ospreys opted for a driving line-out and were rewarded with a touchdown from Parry.

Three minutes later, the Welsh region had another when a strong run from Keiran Williams put the defence on the back foot and Rhys Webb’s pass sent Morris over. Myler converted both for the Ospreys to lead 17-6 at the interval.

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Ten minutes after the restart, Rizzi kicked a third penalty before Zebre scored their only try. Tuivuaka should have applied the finish himself but lacked the pace to avoid a cover tackle from Michael Collins. However, the visitors recycled for Mitchell to score.

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Rizzi converted and added a penalty to give his side a 19-17 advantage at the end of the third quarter. At that stage the Ospreys changed four players, with former Wales hooker Scott Baldwin appearing for the first time since returning to the region from Worcester.

Myler put the hosts back in front with a simple penalty before Zebre full-back Jacopo Trulla was yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on.

The Ospreys soon capitalised with a try from Griffiths, but a fifth penalty from Rizzi gave his side a deserved bonus point.

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