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Reds and yellow cards fly as Ospreys keep Welsh Shield hopes alive

By PA
Ross Moriarty of Dragons during the United Rugby Championship match between Leinster and Dragons at RDS Arena in Dublin. (Photo By Tyler Miller/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ospreys kept alive their hopes of winning the Welsh Shield with a 37-18 bonus-point win over ill-disciplined Dragons.

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The visitors lost Ross Moriarty to a yellow card and then Sio Tomkinson to a red one, both for dangerous challenges on young fly-half Jack Walsh who was forced to leave the game after failing a HIA.

Ospreys’ victory sees them lie five points behind Cardiff with each having two games remaining, one of which is a fixture between the sides.

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Nicky Smith, Dan Lydiate, Morgan Morris, Iestyn Hopkins and Keiran Williams scored tries for Ospreys with Walsh kicking two penalties and a conversion. Luke Scully added two conversions.

Angus O’ Brien and Will Reed each kicked a penalty for Dragons with Jordan Williams scoring a try. They were also awarded a penalty try.

Ospreys began strongly to take a ninth-minute lead. A well-worked lineout move involving Sam Parry and Ethan Roots put the visitors’ defence on the back foot with Smith capitalising by powering over from close range.

Walsh converted and added a penalty as Dragons continued to get on the wrong side of referee Jaco Peyper.

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It took the Gwent region 20 minutes to reach the opposition 22 but on doing so they picked up their first points with a penalty from Reed.

Ospreys responded with a second penalty from Walsh after he was tackled by prop Lloyd Fairbrother without having the ball.

Minutes later, Walsh was on the receiving end of a late challenge from Moriarty, which saw the Dragons’ flanker sin-binned and immediately the hosts looked to have capitalised.

Former Dragon Sam Parry crashed over from a driving line-out but TMO replays showed that the hooker had lost possession before grounding.

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However, Dragons soon suffered another two blows in quick succession. First they lost number eight Ollie Griffiths with a shoulder injury before Lydiate finished off a round of passing before O’Brien kicked a long-range penalty to leave his side trailing 18-6 at the interval.

Two minutes after the restart, Moriarty returned in time to see Morris take advantage of some weak defence from the visitors to score before Tomkinson was sent off for a high tackle in the same passage of play.

Dragons showed some spirit to pick up a try from Jordan Williams but Keiran Williams raced 45 metres to score his side’s fifth.

Dewi Lake collected a yellow card for a high challenge on Bradley Roberts before Alun Wyn Jones departed on what may have been his last appearance for Ospreys on their home ground.

Dragons picked up a late penalty try with Gareth Thomas yellow-carded for collapsing the maul but the home side were convincing winners.

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Flankly 16 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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