Pro12: Ospreys 29-7 Connacht
|Guinness Pro12: Ospreys v Connacht|
|Ospreys (14) 29 Tries: Baker, Cracknell, Smith, Beck Cons: Davies 3 Pens: Davies|
|Connacht (0) 7 Tries: O'Brien Cons: Cooney|
Ospreys climbed to the top of the Pro12 with a convincing bonus-point win over reigning champions Connacht.
The hosts made a flying start, with Dan Baker and Olly Cracknell scoring excellent team tries to give them a commanding 14-0 half-time lead.
Prop Nicky Smith powered over for a third try, before Sean O'Brien earned Connacht a late consolation score.
Even with fly-half Sam Davies in the sin-bin, Ospreys sealed the bonus point with Ashley Beck's last-minute try.
That gave Steve Tandy's men a Pro12 double over Connacht for the season, and added a final gloss to their eighth successive victory in all competitions.
Starting the game in third place and two points behind leaders Munster, Ospreys blew Connacht away with a high-octane first quarter.
The home side attacked with purpose and pace, fly-half Davies setting the tempo and the forwards carrying powerfully.
It was that combination which paved the way for the opening score, as Davies' perfectly-timed flat pass allowed flanker Cracknell to gallop deep into Connacht's half.
Ospreys maintained that momentum with a slick sequence of phases, and number eight Baker was on hand to plunge over from close range.
They had a second try with just 15 minutes gone, with Cracknell picking another fine angle and accelerating clear to touch down.
Davies in the sin-bin
After encountering a little more Connacht resistance in the second half, Ospreys scored their third try as Smith wrestled his way over.
They were already 24-0 up when Davies was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on John Cooney, rendering O'Brien's score from a turnover a mere consolation for the visitors.
Ospreys' confounded their numerical disadvantage to score their bonus point-securing fourth try with the final play of the game, as Beck squeezed over in the corner.
Ospreys: Dan Evans; Dafydd Howells, Ashley Beck, Josh Matavesi, Hanno Dirksen; Sam Davies, Tom Habberfield; Nicky Smith, Sam Parry, Ma'afu Fia, Lloyd Ashley, Alun Wyn Jones (capt), Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric, Dan Baker.
Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Paul James, Rhodri Jones, Adam Beard, Sam Underhill, Brendon Leonard, Dan Biggar, Kieron Fonotia.
Connacht: Tiernan O'Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Rory Parata, Peter Robb, Matt Healy; Jack Carty, John Cooney; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Quinn Roux, James Cannon, Sean O'Brien, Jake Heenan, Naulia Dawai
Replacements: Dave Heffernan, JP Cooney, John Andress, Lewis Stevenson, Eoin McKeon, Caolin Blade, Danie Poolman, Ciaran Gaffney
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Gary Conway (Ireland), Ben Whitehouse (Wales)
TMO: Neil Paterson (Scotland)