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Ospreys almost throw it all away until dramatic last-minute score

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 10, 2012

By stephen ware

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THE OSPREYS kicked off their LV=Cup campaign with a sensational last-gasp victory over Gloucester at the Liberty Stadium last night.

An unremarkable match looked to be drifting towards its conclusion before bursting into life in the final eight minutes.

With the hosts leading 24-13, Gloucester scored two late tries and looked to have snatched an unlikely win.

But in injury time the Ospreys battled back, with No. 8 Morgan Allen crashing over to score a dramatic final try and seal a see-saw match.

It was a chance for supporters to see the next generation of stars coming through at the Liberty Stadium as coach Steve Tandy gave youth a chance.

Debutants

Swansea back-rower Sam Lewis skippered a side that contained two debutants in prop Marc Thomas and wing Will Price, while none of the replacements had appeared for the region before.

One man on the bench was Sam Davies, whose dad Nigel returned to South Wales with Gloucester after leaving his position as head coach of the Scarlets.

Another familiar name to Welsh fans was Ross Moriarty, son of Paul, who began in the visitors' back row.

The Cherry and Whites also turned to their academy for the game, though their XV was peppered with more experienced campaigners.

George Stowers was one more senior member of the home side, while Wales Under-20 scrum-half Tom Habberfield was included in a match squad for the first time since injuring his ankle in August.

The Ospreys went into the match on a run of six wins from their last seven games and were looking to build on last Sunday's gritty victory over Leinster without their Welsh squad members who had been summoned for autumn international duty.

Gloucester visited Swansea sitting fourth in the Aviva Premiership, having slipped a place after last weekend's defeat to leaders Harlequins.

The Ospreys are hoping to escape from a pool that also includes Bath, London Welsh and Northampton Saints, with other matches to come against the Dragons, Exeter and Harlequins.

Having missed an early kick at goal, Morgan slotted over a penalty for the Ospreys 10 minutes in.

That came immediately after Billy Burns, brother of Gloucester team-mate Freddie, had done the same to open the scoring.

Burns managed another penalty before Morgan kicked the first of two drop-goals.

Gloucester grabbed the first try in controversial fashion on 26 minutes when prop Thomas crashed over after receiving short pass from hooker Tommasco D'Apice and Burns added the extras.

The home crowd were unhappy with that score, which came from a quick tap penalty awarded along with a yellow card for James King.

But Morgan continued to head up the Ospreys' resistance.

He kicked another drop-goal to keep Tandy's men on their opponents' tails before nudging them in front at the break with two more penalties.

The Ospreys seemed to move up a gear at the start of the second period and might have extended their lead just before the hour.

After a sustained period camped on the Gloucester line, Allen stretched and fell just short before George Stowers touched down.

Referee David Rose went to TMO Neil Ballard, whose decision was no try.

Back came the Ospreys, who did manage to creep further in front thanks to another Morgan penalty following a Gloucester knock-on by Peter Buxton, for which he was sin-binned.

Morgan made way for Davies, but the kicking pattern continued as the young fly-half sent a penalty over to put his dad's side three points further adrift.

And it was Davies who supplied a superb pass to set Tom Grabham free on the wing to score the Ospreys' first try.

As Gloucester searched for a way back into the game, Dan Murphy scrambled over from close range to set up a tense finale.

That score was converted by Dan Robson, and as Gloucester pushed forwards again, the rookie Ospreys defence creaked.

They conceded a penalty try, which was converted by Robson.

That looked to have settled matters until a thrilling final twist.

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