Pro12: Ospreys 26-9 Connacht

Ospreys (12) 26

  • Tries: Walker, Tipuric, Thomas, Fotuali'i
  • Cons: Biggar (3)

Connacht (6) 9

  • Pens: Parks (3)

Ospreys stepped up their Pro12 title defence with a fourth consecutive league win as the champions eased to a bonus-point victory over Connacht.

Impressive Wales under-20 wing Eli Walker opened the scoring after a patient Ospreys build-up before Wales flanker Justin Tipuric powered over.

Jonathan Thomas intercepted a Dan Parks pass to run away for Ospreys' third.

Kahn Fotuali'i's quick thinking to take a tap penalty and power over from 10 yards earned the Welshmen the bonus.

Dan Biggar added six points with the boot but the usually reliable Ospreys fly-half, who won a Wales international recall in midweek, did miss a conversion and a penalty.

Ospreys, without British and Irish Lions duo Adam Jones and Ryan Jones, turned their early dominance into points when full-back Richard Fussell put young Walker over for the opening try, which Biggar converted.

Two penalties from experienced fly-half Dan Parks allowed Connacht an early foothold in the game as the visitors punished Ospreys for their indiscipline.

But the Welsh region responded with a second try just before the break.

Biggar found Fussell with a long pass and the full-back turned provider again to put Tipuric over in the right corner but Biggar's conversion attempt failed.

The home side opened up a 13-point lead two minutes into the second-half when Wales international Thomas picked off Parks's loose pass and ran in unopposed from 30 metres out, a score which Biggar converted.

A third Parks penalty cut the Connacht deficit to 10 points but Ospreys almost immediately hit back as the impressive Walker nearly scored a spectacular try.

He burst out of his own 22 and into Connacht's before deciding to pass outside him rather than head to the line himself, with the move breaking down because of a knock-on.

The Ospreys did secure the bonus-point eight minutes from time when scrum-half Fotuali'i went over from a tapped penalty after a collapsed five-metre scrum by Connacht and Biggar kicked his third conversion..

TEAMS:

Ospreys: Richard Fussell; Hanno Dirksen, Andrew Bishop, Ashley Beck, Eli Walker; Dan Biggar, Kahn Fotuali'i (Rhys Webb, 79); Ryan Bevington (Duncan Jones, 50), Richard Hibbard, Aaron Jarvis (Joe Rees, 74), Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Ian Evans (James King, 70), Joe Bearman, Justin Tipuric, Jonathan Thomas.

R eplacements not used : Matthew Dwyer, George Stowers, Matthew Morgan, Tom Isaacs.

Connacht: Darragh Leader; Tiernan O'Halloran, Robbie Henshaw, Mata Fifita (Danie Poolman, 31), Fetu'u Vainikolo; Dan Parks, Kieran Marmion (Dave Moore, 50); Brett Wilkinson (Rodney Ah You, 60), Jason Harris-Wright (Adrian Flavin, 63), Nathan White (capt); Michael Swift, George Naoupu; John Muldoon, Willie Faloon (Johnny O'Connor, 50), Eoin McKeon.

Replacements not used : Ronan Loughney, Dave Gannon, Miah Nikora.

Referee: George Clancy (IRFU)

Assistant Referees: TBC, Simon Rees (both WRU)

Citing Commissioner: John Charles (WRU)