Pro14: Ospreys 19-12 Scarlets

By Ceri Coleman-PhillipsBBC Sport Wales at the Liberty Stadium
Ospreys Alun Wyn Jones (L) and James King tackle Ken Owens
Ospreys Alun Wyn Jones (L) and James King (R) tackle Scarlets hooker Ken Owens
Guinness Pro14: Ospreys v Scarlets
Ospreys (6) 19
Tries: Morgan Cons: S Davies Pens: S Davies (2) Drop goal: S Davies (2)
Scarlets (9) 12
Pens: Patchell (3) D Jones

Ospreys ended Scarlets' impressive run of 10 consecutive derby victories with a 19-12 win at the Liberty Stadium.

Luke Morgan's seventh try of the season and 14 points from the boot of Sam Davies ensured they reclaimed the bragging rights from their west Wales rivals.

With Hadleigh Parkes a surprise fly-half choice, Scarlets kicked four penalties as their poor form continued.

They were also dealt a blow with Jake Ball suffering a shoulder injury.

Scarlets, who have lost four games in a row this month, have now dropped to third in Conference B behind Leinster and Ulster, while Ospreys are third behind Glasgow and Munster.

With some mouth-watering match-ups of Wales internationals and former team mates, the first half failed to live up to its billing in front of a 13,000 strong crowd.

Full-back Rhys Patchell and Davies exchanged two penalties apiece in an opening quarter which was dominated by kicking battles, with neither side showing a willingness to run the ball.

The Scarlets enjoyed the lion's share of possession and territory for the remainder of the half, but a lack of penetration meant they never really threatened the try line.

They instead settled for another three points from Patchell when Ospreys were penalised at the scrum.

Scarlets wing Johnny McNicholl injected some much-needed pace into the game after shrugging off a tackle from former team mate Scott Williams, but a scramble defence stopped him and support runner Gareth Davies short of the line.

McNicholl's opposite number Luke Morgan also showed his threat, latching onto a grubber ball from Williams, but was unable to gather at full speed.

Scarlets went in at the break with a three point lead, and should have been further ahead, while Ospreys were left to rue their indiscipline.

Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams
Former Scarlets team mates Hadleigh Parkes and Scott Williams

Wales lock Jake Ball did not return in the second-half after suffering a knock to the shoulder, an injury that sidelined him for most of last season, with Lewis Rawlins packing down for the Scarlets in his place.

A limping Patchell joined him down the tunnel a short time later, and was replaced by Steff Evans who slotted in on the wing with McNicholl dropping to full-back.

Ospreys took advantage of the disruption and rallied by the home fans enjoyed a spell of pressure in the Scarlets' twenty two, with the defence initially holding firm.

Morgan finally broke the deadlock by chipping through a loose ball and outpacing McNicholl to the try line.

Davies added the extras after some deliberation by the TMO, before extending the lead with a well-taken drop goal on the hour.

Brad Mooar takes a picture at Liberty Stadium
Scarlets coach-elect Brad Mooar was at Liberty Stadium to see the game - he will take over from Wayne Pivac next season

With Ospreys on the ascendency, Scarlets continued to ring in the changes, with Dan Jones replacing Parkes at outside-half and Parkes taking a more familiar position in the centre.

In another phase of attack, man of the match Davies returned to the pocket for another successful drop goal to put the game beyond a score.

Scarlets rallied in the dying minutes and after several phases of play came to within inches of the try line, but Ospreys were awarded a penalty which ended Scarlets' hopes of a draw.

Ospreys head coach Allen Clarke said: "We feel we're a team on the way up and they [the Scarlets] have set the standard and today is another step on that journey.

"We were physically and mentally fresh and the boys really targeted this game and you could see what it meant to them at the end. I'm delighted for everyone associated with the Ospreys."

Scarlets heads coach Wayne Pivac said: "It was a typical derby match. I thought it was very physical and you can tell that by looking in our changing room - there's a few sore bodies.

"The try was a massive point in the game and their 10 managed the game well.

"They took their scoring opportunities and those drop kicks were probably the difference between winning and losing."

Ospreys: Dan Evans; George North, Scott Williams, Owen Watkin, Luke Morgan; Sam Davies, Aled Davies; Gareth Thomas, Scott Baldwin, Tom Botha, Adam Beard, Alun Wyn Jones, Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric (capt), James King.

Replacements: Scott Otten, Rowan Jenkins, Alex Jeffries, Lloyd Ashley, Sam Cross, Tom Habberfield, James Hook, Keelan Giles.

Scarlets: Rhys Patchell; Tom Prydie, Jonathan Davies, Kieron Fonotia, Johnny McNicholl; Hadleigh Parkes, Gareth Davies; Rob Evans, Ken Owens (capt), Samson Lee, Jake Ball, David Bulbring, Ed Kennedy, James Davies, Will Boyde.

Replacements: Ryan Elias, Wyn Jones, Werner Kruger, Lewis Rawlins, Dan Davis, Kieran Hardy, Dan Jones, Steff Evans.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Assistant referees: Nigel Owens (WRU), Simon Rees (WRU)

TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

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