Pro12: Zebre 22-39 Ospreys
Last updated on .From the section Rugby Union
|Zebre (12) 22|
|Tries: van Zyl (2), Violi Cons: Violi, Padovani Pens: Canna|
|Ospreys (22) 39|
|Tries: Hassler, Walker, Tipuric (2), Spratt Cons: Davies (4) Pen: Davies (2)|
Justin Tipuric played a starring role as Ospreys claimed a bonus-point win away to Zebre in the Pro12.
The Wales and Lions flanker scored two tries and had a hand in two others as Ospreys underlined their improved form.
Jeff Hassler, Eli Walker and Jonathan Spratt scored the other tries with Sam Davies kicking 14 points.
Zebre wing Kayle van Zyl crossed twice with scrum-half Marcello Violi also scoring, but they were comprehensively outplayed.
It was a third successive league win for the Ospreys after a poor opening to the season them saw win only once in their opening six Pro12 games.
The Italian team provided stubborn resistance early on, but two tries in a minute just after the half-hour mark put Ospreys in complete control.
Ospreys made a late change to their starting line-up with Wales international Dan Baker omitted to attend the birth of his child.
His place at number eight was taken by James King who moved from blind-side with Olly Cracknell promoted from the bench.
Zebre's team also showed a change from the one announced on Friday, with Andries van Shalkwyk included at number eight and Paul Derbyshire dropping to the bench.
And van Shalkwyk played a big hand in the opening score, intercepting Sam Davies' pass and sensibly feeding wing van Zyl who outpaced the cover.
It was a blip in an otherwise dominant start by the Welsh region, who dominated the opening half and were rewarded with tries by Canada international Hassler, Wales wing Walker and Tipuric.
The British and Irish Lions open-side played a big part in Walker's try, finding the wing with a pin-point long pass and then taking full advantage when Van Zyl failed to field a speculative kick by Davies.
Zebre struck back on the stroke of half-time when Violi exploited a huge gap on the narrow side following a good driving line-out.
Davies and Carlo Canna exchanged penalties early in the second half, but Tipuric's outstanding individual try clinched the bonus point after 56 minutes, and the flanker again tore the defence to shreds before combining with Josh Matavesi to put Spratt over between the posts.
Van Zyl atoned for his earlier mistake with a good finish for his second try, but it was little more than a consolation.
Ospreys coach Steve Tandy said: "I thought it was a really impressive performance. We were able to rest a lot of senior players and the less experienced ones stepped up really well.
"We are building nicely with this coming off the back of a good win against the Blues last week. We're in good shape and working hard to get better."
Zebre: Mils Muliaina; Dion Berryman, Tommaso Boni, Gonzalo Garcia; Kayle Van Zyl, Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi; Andrea Lovotti, Andrea Manici, Dario Chistolini, Valerio Bernabo, George Biagi (capt), Jacopo Sarto, Johan Meyer, Andries van Shalkwyk.
Replacements: Oliviero Fabiani, Andrea De Marchi, Guillermo Roan, Marco Bortolami, Federico Ruzza, Guglielmo Palazzani, Giulio Bisegni, Edoardo Padovani.
Ospreys: Dan Evans; Jeff Hassler, Jonathan Spratt, Josh Matavesi, Eli Walker; Sam Davies, Tom Habberfield; Paul James, Sam Parry, Dmitri Arhip, Lloyd Ashley, Tyler Ardron, Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric (capt), James King.
Replacements: Scott Otten, Nicky Smith, Ma'afu Fia, Alun Wyn Jones, Martin Roberts, Dan Biggar, Hanno Dirksen, Rory Thornton.
Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)
Assistant referees: Elia Rizzo, Luca Trentin (Italy)
Citing commissioner: Stefano Marrama (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Penne (FIR)