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OSPREYS TAKE LIBERTIES AT THE LIBERTY

Neathswanseaospreys: 44 (18) Edinburgh Rugby: 10 (3)



I was always a big fan of fomer Embra legend Mike Pyke, The Cantering Canuck.  I had some time for turncoat Ander Monro.  And I have often, albeit through gritted teeth, given DTH van der Merwe the praise he's richly deserved after cutting the Gunners' defence apart for the upteenth time.

But enough is enough.  When a diminutive winger from somewhere in Alberta, and whose previous club was the rugby powerhouse of the Prairie Wolf Pack, turns up out of nowhere and teaches a club full of internationals how to play rugby, well, I feel a bit miffed about the whole thing. 

If last week showed Alan Solomons that there is potential in this squad, this week showed him - if he didn't know already - that he has a big mountain to climb to get these guys playing to their potential. Edinburgh were awful.  Even for a team that has made shooting itself in the head into an art form, this one required real effort to chuck away.  When you are playing any team, let alone one that is a perennial contender, stuffed full of Lions and playing at home, giving away cheap points is not a great move.  Sadly, the Gunners spent most of this match doing just that.  In defence, they gave away idiotic penalties; in attack, they blew the few decent attacking opportunities they had with criminally basic errors. I am an advocate of playing the game in enemy territory, so kicking ball away when you are in your own 22 is not a bad thing.  It only becomes that if, as happened with monotonous regularity, you kick the ball away but chase so poorly that the enemy simply run it back to where it was, only this time they also have possession.  By contrast, the Ospreys kick chase proved much more effective; as effective as Edinburgh were poor under the high ball in defence.

Edinburgh were absolutely blown away at the breakdown, as they have been so far this season.  When Edinburgh attacked, it was ponderous stuff, which the eager home defence had little difficulty subduing.  When the men in balck attacked, it was with urgency, with an eye for the offload, with vision and pace.  They showed great patience in putting together the phases and simply waited for the inevitable Gunner errors in order to strike.  They scored six tries, all of which were peaches in their own right, from Hassler's after three minutes to young Matthew Morgan's outstanding solo effort from virtually his own line on the stroke of no side, his searing pace far too hot for Edinburgh to handle.  In between, both hooker Hibbard and nippy winger Walker notched a brace, Hibbard's all action performance earning him the Man of the Match award.

Visser did manage to cross for what was a pretty easy on the eye effort in itself, lovely timing of the pass from Kennedy saw the big man blast inside for a converted try early in the second half.  Yet while Tipuric was then carded for a dangerous tackle on Kennedy - provoking a mass dust-up that was probably a highlight from the Embra point of view - it was actually the Ospreys who scored during the power play, putting the game out of sight.  The story of this match.  And it could have been much worse had the home side not visibly taken their foot off the gas around the hour mark.

So, a bit of a setback. That said, winning at the Liberty would be a challenge even were the Gunners firing on all cylinders.  The one saving grace about next Friday's fixture, against the Scarlets at Murrayfield, is that they are only marginally less hopeless than Edinburgh right now, so one would expect to see a much improved result.  This is going to be a long and winding road, though, so some patience is going to be required.