Ospreys kept their unbeaten record in this year’s RaboDirect PRO12 with a 26 – 43 bonus point victory win over Connacht at the Sportsground tonight.

The home side didn’t make it easy for the visitors but in the end, the Welsh outfit, captained by British & Irish Lions Alun Wyn Jones, proved too strong.

23-year-old Craig Ronaldson, who was handed his first start this week by Head Coach Pat Lam, opened up the scoring from the kicking tee before five minutes.

But moments later, a pass from the outhalf was intercepted by his opposite number Dan Biggar who ran the 40 metres to touch down. The Welsh international converted his try to give Ospreys the lead, one which they never relinquished.

Another period of pressure proved fruitful for Steve Tandy’s side and fullback Richard Fussell managed to burst through a gap in the Connacht backline and cross for the five points. Biggar’s conversion kick was successful and Ospreys looked to have the perfect start to this game.

A third try came for the visitors on the half hour mark through winger Eli Walker who dove in at the corner, fighting off a tackle from Gavin Duffy. Biggar’s conversion kick went wide.

Ronaldson added six points with the boot either side of that try to reduce the deficit to 10 points. And a further penalty each for Biggar and Ronaldson kept it at that margin going into half time.

Half time score: Connacht 12 – 22 Ospreys

Connacht fans were treated to a thrilling second half as Connacht came out strongly after the break and were rewarded on 50 minutes with some brilliant play and passing from lock Aly Muldowney to put winger Danie Poolman through for the try.

Dan Parks, who replaced an injured Ronaldson, added the conversion to bring Connacht within three points, trailing 19 – 22.

The visitors, however, responded immediately when Man of the Match Tito Tebaldi dodged defenders to touch down under the posts for his first try in Ospreys colours and the fourth of the evening to secure the bonus point. Biggar added the conversion to his side back to a ten-point lead.

Almost immediately, Connacht fought back with a try from scrum half Kieran Marmion, helped by his team mates Eoin Griffin and Danie Poolman.  Parks conversion kick was on target to bring it back to a three-point game with less than 20 minutes on the clock.

Both sides fought hard to take points in the last quarter but it was Ospreys who removed any doubt when their winger Jeff Hassler crossed for try number five. Biggar, who tonight crossed the 1, 000 RaboDirect PRO12 point mark, kicked his side further into the lead.

Ospreys were out of sight when their captain Alun-Wyn Jones scored the sixth try for his side just two minutes from full time. Biggar was there again with the conversion kick to secure the win and put Ospreys at the top of the league table, joint on points with Glasgow.

Full time score: Connacht 26 – 43 Ospreys


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