Heineken Cup: Ospreys 38-17 Treviso

Wing Eli Walker scores a memorable opening try for the Ospreys against Treviso as the 2012/13 Heineken Cup gets underway
Wing Eli Walker scores a memorable opening try for the Ospreys against Treviso as the 2012/13 Heineken Cup gets underway

The Ospreys began their Heineken Cup Pool 2 campaign with a gritty bonus-point win over Treviso in Swansea.

After two tries from Hanno Dirksen and a memorable solo score by Eli Walker, centre Ashley Beck went over with the final move.

Walker's opening try was the highlight of an uncompromising encounter in which Dan Biggar kicked 18 points.

Manoa Vosavai and Luke McLean crossed for Treviso, Kris Burton adding seven points with the boot.

Having lost 12-6 to the Italians amid poor conditions in their opening Pro12 encounter in August, the Welsh side went into the encounter all too aware of Treviso's threat.

But the hosts' steady opening was rewarded by the three Biggar penalties that gave them an early cushion.

Biggar's fly-half opponent Kris Burton had kicked all the points in their first encounter of the season.

And when he opened his side's account in Swansea, Burton reminded the Ospreys of the damage he and his team were capable of.

But soon afterwards, the Ospreys took a decisive step towards victory.

Ospreys' Ryan Jones
Ospreys flanker Ryan Jones had said ahead of the match that expectations were "sky high"

Wing Walker was freed on the left and had a lot to do from 30 metres out - but he did it in style.

The 20-year-old side-stepped and powered his way past four defenders, displaying poise and pace on the way, and Biggar converted.

Treviso did not disappoint in their appetite for hard graft up front.

And when Wales prop Adam Jones became embroiled in a bout of fisticuffs with Treviso skipper Antonio Pavanello the double sin-binning disrupted the game's flow.

Visiting number eight Manoa Vosawai went the same way for some illegal breakdown work in the 33rd minute.

That left the hosts with a dilemma over whether to kick for goal or go for the try.

They opted for the latter and after being repulsed, the Ospreys ended the half 16-3 ahead.

But the Ospreys were not to be denied at the next opportunity, this time right wing Hanno Dirksen making the most of his chance, Biggar converting from the touchline.

However, Treviso ensured that was not the opening of the floodgates.

They fought back with a try by Vosawai after the Fijian's powerful charges helped set up the field position for him to strike.

Burton converted and when Justin Tipuric was penalised for crossing in front of Richard Fussell, even worse was to follow for the hosts.

Treviso spurned the chance to kick for goal and launched an attack that ended with McLean cruising through the home defence and Burton's conversion left them 23-17 down.

Biggar kicked a fourth penalty to halt Treviso's momentum and the initiative returned fully to the hosts when the pressure they applied in ended with flanker Simone Favaro's sin-binning in the 69th minute.

With their resources depleted there was only so much Treviso's resolute defence could achieve.

And after they were stretched left and right, scrum-half Kahn Fotuali'I's cross kick found Dirksen unmarked for an unopposed stroll to the line.

The Ospreys also had to work hard for their final score, Beck finally earning their midfield's reward for persevering against a gutsy defensive line to break free.

Biggar added the final points.


Ospreys: Richard Fussell; Hanno Dirksen, Andrew Bishop, Ashley Beck, Eli Walker; Dan Biggar, Kahn Fotuali'i; Ryan Bevington, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Ian Evans, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Jonathan Thomas.

Replacements: Rhys Webb for Fotuali'i (74), Duncan Jones for Bevington (64), Aaron Jarvis for Adam Jones (57), George Stowers for Alun Wyn Jones (76).

Not Used: Dwyer, Lewis, Morgan, Isaacs.

Sin-bin: Adam Jones (25)

Treviso: Luke McLean; Ludovico Nitoglia, Tommaso Benvenuti, Alberto Sgarbi, Tommaso Iannone; Kristopher Burton, Tobias Botes; Alberto De Marchi, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Jacobus Roux, Antonio Pavanello (capt), Valerio Bernabò, Simone Favaro, Alessandro Zanni, Manoa Vosawai.

Replacements: Fabio Semenzato for Nitoglia (21), Andrea Pratichetti for Sgarbi (74), Ignacio Fernandez-Rouyet for De Marchi (46), Enrico Ceccato for Ghiraldini (46), Pedro Di Santo for Roux (35), Giovanni Maistri for Bernabo (74), Francesco Minto for Derbyshire (40), Robert Barbieri for Vosawai (74).

Sin-bin: Pavanello 25, Vosawai 33, Favaro 69

Att: 8,746

Referee: Neil Paterson (Scotland)


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