Ospreys’ miserable season continued as Cheetahs registered a hard-fought 18-13 Guinness Pro14 victory at the Gnoll.
The defeat came at the end of a forgettable few days for the Welsh region who parted company with head coach Allen Clarke earlier in the week.
Ospreys had led 10-8 at half-time but failed to back that up in the second half as they slumped to a sixth successive defeat in all competitions.
Cheetahs scored tries through centre William Small-Smith and hooker Wilmar Arnoldi with Ruan Pienaar and Tian Schoeman contributing the rest of the points with the boot.
For Ospreys, prop Ma’afu Fia crossed with fly-half Luke Price kicking eight out of a possible 14 points.
Continue reading below…
After a dreadful week on the coaching and PR front, Ospreys welcomed back Wales trio Dan Evans, captain Dan Lydiate and Luke Morgan from injury.
Carl Hogg and Matt Sherratt had taken training this week after the side had won just one match all season and following a 44-3 mauling at the hands of Saracens in the European Champions Cup.
Ospreys were playing a league match at the Gnoll for the first time in 14 years – their last visit was in 2005 they beat Edinburgh 29-12 to seal the Celtic League title.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 30, 2019
But they did not make the best of starts to their return after the Cheetahs went into the lead after eight minutes with a try for Small-Smith, who went over in the right corner after good work from a line-out by prop Boan Venter. Pienaar missed the conversion attempt.
Both sides swapped penalties through Price and Pienaar before Ospreys began to show some form.
The home side were sparked into life by a break and kick chase by Scott Otten. He earned a five-metre scrum when the Cheetahs were forced to kick dead and from the set-piece, Fia burrowed his way over under the posts for a try that was converted by Price.
Ospreys could have extended their 10-8 lead but Price missed a penalty from in front of the posts.
Four minutes into the second half Pienaar also failed to make the most of a relatively straightforward penalty shot after a high tackle from Lloyd Ashley.
Ospreys were handed another penalty chance just after the hour but again Price was wayward.
It took until the 65th minute for the South Africans to regain the lead, with Arnoldi crashing over for a converted try to make it 15-10.
That set up an exciting finale as Ospreys went in search of a try that would give them a chance of a draw or the win.
Price’s penalty reduced the deficit to two points but Schoeman responded soon after with a penalty of his own, making it 18-13 to Cheetahs heading into the final five minutes
Visiting lock Sintu Manjezi was yellow carded in the final minute but Ospreys’ driving maul was held up at the end to seal the Cheetahs’ win.
Former England international Andy Goode recently came out of retirement for one night and one night only:
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now