Pro14: Cardiff Blues 29-20 Ospreys – BBC Sport

Cardiff Blues (17) 29
Tries: Harries, Adams Cons: Tovey 2 Pens: Tovey 5
Ospreys (13) 20
Tries: D Evans, L Morgan Cons: Myler, Protheroe Pens: Myler 2

Cardiff Blues finished the delayed Pro14 season at their temporary Rodney Parade home with a resounding victory over struggling Ospreys.

Fly-half Jason Tovey kicked 19 points to complement tries from Josh Adams and Jason Harries.

Ospreys could only respond with tries from Dan Evans and Luke Morgan’s late effort, plus 10 points from the boot.

Toby Booth’s side completed their campaign with two wins in 15 league games to finish bottom of Conference A.

It has been the most unsuccessful campaign in Ospreys’ history and Booth will be aware of the transformation required at the region after his second game in charge.

Blues’ ‘home’ match was held at Rodney Parade in Newport because their Arms Park ground is currently part of the Principality Stadium field hospital.

Tovey was always going to feel at home at the Newport ground, thanks to his status as the Dragons’ record points scorer with 1,009 points in 178 games in three spells between 2008 and 2019.

Wales back-rower Josh Navidi captained Cardiff Blues as one of 13 changes from the side that lost 32-12 against Scarlets, with only Josh Turnbull and Adams surviving in the starting side.

Ospreys made six changes to the side that drew 20-20 with Dragons, with Wales Under-20s wing Dewi Cross replacing the suspended George North who is serving a four-match ban for a dangerous tackle on Ashton Hewitt.

Centre Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, prop Rhodri Jones, hooker Scott Otten, second-row Bradley Davies and back-rower Gareth Evans started.

Jason Harries' acrobatic effort claimed Cardiff Blues' first try
Jason Harries’ acrobatic effort claimed Cardiff Blues’ first try

Ospreys fly-half Myler slotted over two early penalties, with Tovey responding with one for Cardiff Blues who scored the opening try.

Right wing Harries scored in the opposing left corner after clever work from centre Max Llewellyn, Navidi and Adams.

Harries then provided a try assist for Adams who latched on to a chip kick, with Tovey again providing the extras.

Ospreys retaliated with captain Justin Tipuric gathering a chip kick that laid the platform for full-back Evans to cross, although Cardiff Blues still held a 17-13 half-time lead.

With foraging flanker James Botham, grandson of England cricket legend Sir Ian, and Shane Lewis-Hughes to the fore, Cardiff Blues dominated after the interval, with Tovey slotting three early second-half penalties to extend the lead to 13 points.

Ospreys were temporarily reduced to 14 men by referee Adam Jones when flanker Olly Cracknell was yellow-carded for a ruck offence.

Adams was denied a second try following a knock-on, before Tovey slotted over his fifth penalty to complete the win.

Wing Morgan did score a late consolation try after good work from Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones and Tipuric, but the ill-disciplined Ospreys were well beaten.

This was the final league game of the 2019-20 season for the Welsh regions, with Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Edinburgh securing the Pro14 semi-final spots.

Scarlets and Dragons will be in European action with Challenge Cup quarter-finals against Toulon and Bristol in mid-September.

Cardiff Blues and Ospreys will have to wait to return to action until the first weekend of October for the start of the new league campaign.

Cardiff Blues head coach John Mulvihill: “After last week we had to front up and the boys did that. The win was based on sheer hard work with a real simple game plan.

“Jason Tovey showed his experience and I thought he and Lloyd Williams really controlled the game.”

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth: “It was disappointing and you could see the body language of the group at the end. It was a bit of a reality check which is never a bad thing.

“We knew we were approaching these two games in a certain way and we would be short in some areas and it came home to roost today.”

Teams

Cardiff Blues: Matthew Morgan; Jason Harries, Garyn Smith, Max Llewellyn, Josh Adams; Jason Tovey, Lloyd Williams; Corey Domachowski, Liam Belcher, Dmitri Arhip, Seb Davies, Josh Turnbull, Shane Lewis-Hughes, James Botham, Josh Navidi (capt).

Replacements: Ethan Lewis, Brad Thyer, Scott Andrews, James Ratti, Sam Moore, Lewis Jones, Ben Thomas, Ioan Davies.

Ospreys: Dan Evans; Dewi Cross, Owen Watkin, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, Luke Morgan; Stephen Myler, Rhys Webb; Rhodri Jones, Scott Otten, Tom Botha, Bradley Davies, Alun Wyn Jones, Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric (capt), Gareth Evans.

Replacements: Dewi Lake, Nicky Smith, Nicky Thomas, Adam Beard, Morgan Morris, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Mat Protheroe, Kieran Williams.

Match officials

Referee: Adam Jones (WRU)

Assistant referees: Nigel Owens, Dan Jones (WRU)

TMO: Sean Brickell (WRU).

Watch extended Pro14 highlights on BBC Two Wales, Monday 31 August, 19:00 BST; for the latest rugby union news follow @bbcrugbyunionexternal-link on Twitter.

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