Pro14: Dan Evans' late Ospreys try denies Connacht
|Guinness Pro14: Ospreys v Connacht|
|Ospreys (10) 22|
|Tries: Giles 2, Morgan, D Evans Cons: S Davies|
|Connacht (3) 17|
|Tries: Aki, Butler Cons: Carty 2 Drop-goal: Carty|
Dan Evans' dramatic last-minute try denied Connacht a Pro14 draw as Ospreys won 22-17 in Bridgend.
Up until then, wing Keelan Giles' early brace had been the highlight.
Jack Carty's drop-goal halted home momentum until Harri Morgan's post-break score.
Bundee Aki went over from close range and Jarrad Butler's try and Carty's conversion levelled the scores, only for Evans to profit from Cory Allen's late break and earn a bonus-point win.
Wales flanker Dan Lydiate played the full game, as the only current national squad member to be released to one of the regions this weekend, proving his fitness after a shoulder injury.
Connacht included their Ireland squad quartet with centre Aki, scrum-half Kieran Marmion, prop Finlay Bealham and second-row Quinn Roux starting.
The badly depleted young Ospreys side included scrum-half Morgan and centre Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, both 18.
But 20-year-old Giles was the one to catch the eye in the early stages, using his pace to touch down twice in the opening 10 minutes on his third appearance since being out injured for 12 months.
Carty's drop-goal halted Ospreys' momentum and there was no spark until Cory Allen's intelligent work freed Morgan, whose score on 54 minutes came after the hosts lost number eight Rob McCusker to the sin-bin for a high tackle.
Connacht battled back with two converted tries in the final quarter, as Aki went over from a close-range line-out, before they levelled through Butler's blind-side score from a ruck and Carty's second conversion.
But Carty sent a late drop-goal attempt wide and Ospreys' positive approach in the dying moments paid dividends as Allen broke away.
He was brought down a metre out, but after a knock-on was initially signalled, Scottish TMO Neil Paterson judged the ball had been knocked out of his hands by a defender, allowing Evans to gather and score.
It left Connacht with the consolation of a losing bonus point.
Dan Evans told BBC Sport Wales:
"We fought hard to get back in a position to sneak a win. It was a lovely line by Cory and it was right place, right time (for me).
"I knew it wasn't a knock-on, but it was a bit of luck and overall I think we deserved the victory.
"It's always tough to lose so much experience with so many international players, but as a young squad we showed maturity and composure to grind out a bonus-point victory in the end."
Connacht coach Andy Friend:
"We seemed to be flat when we came out, we talked about it at half-time and felt we solved the problems. But in the second half we started slow again and had to come from 17-3 down.
"We got to 17-all and put ourselves in a position to win, but certainly not one of our better performances.
"Credit to Ospreys, they came out with a bang, turned us round and put pressure on us, but we probably opened the door for them."
Ospreys: Dan Evans; Hanno Dirksen, Cory Allen, Tiaan Thomas Wheeler, Keelan Giles; Sam Davies, Harri Morgan; Rhodri Jones, Scott Otten, Tom Botha, Lloyd Ashley, James King, Dan Lydiate, Olly Cracknell (capt), Rob McCusker.
Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Gareth Thomas, Alex Jeffries, James Ratti, Guido Volpi, Matthew Aubrey, James Hook, Tom Williams.
Connacht: Tiernan O'Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Farrell, Bundee Aki, Cian Kelleher, Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion; Denis Buckley, Tom McCartney, Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Sean O'Brien, Jarrad Butler (capt), Paul Boyle.
Replacements: Shane Delahunt, Conan O'Donnell, Conor Carey, James Cannon, Colby Fainga'a, Caolin Blade, Conor Fitzgerald, Kyle Godwin.
Referee: Mike Adamson (SRU)
Assistant referees: Sam Grove-White (SRU), Mike English (WRU)
TMO: Neil Paterson (SRU)