In the opening twenty minutes of this match at a rainy Myreside, Edinburgh had plenty of possession but nothing more to show for it than a Duncan Weir penalty.
Conversely, the second part of the first half belonged to the Ospreys who scored a well-worked try created by the impressive Sam Davies and finished by centre Josh Matavesi.
Edinburgh scrabbled hard for turnovers in appalling handling conditions with some success but were almost inevitably turning it over in kind on their own ball. If there was a theme for the night, it was ball retention.
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Rory Scholes may have felt their positions more secure with Sean Kennedy and Tom Brown packed off to Las Vegas for the Sevens but it wasn’t necessarily reflected in the performances as kicks went astray.
Ben Toolis continues to be in the form of his life and has put in Jonny Gray levels of effort these last few matches with little to show for it. Still, not even a brief spell off for a Head Injury Assessment could stop him. If Richard Cockerill can teach the big man – still just 24 – some better tackling technique then he could have a weapon on his hands.
Edinburgh ended the first half camped on the Ospreys try line, a Sam Davies penalty the only further score, but they couldn’t make the passes stick in the conditions and a grateful Ospreys side jogged for the welcome respite of the sheds as George Clancy whistled up.
Half-time: Edinburgh 3-10 Ospreys
Edinburgh, led by Duncan Weir and Cornell du Preez, resumed the match at high intensity but the score remained locked at 3-10 for some time. The Ospreys looked content to soak it up, knowing that was probably the quickest way back home to Swanswea.
With the rain making it difficult from the tee, Weir put a penalty into the corner and the Edinburgh pack stepped up with a series of pick and go attacks as the Ospreys defence looked like it might be testing the patience of Clancy. Unfortunately their momentum was arrested during a maul that might have led to a penalty try but didn’t, and Al Dickinson leaving the field on a stretcher. Surely it all but puts paid to his chances of a place in the Scotland squad next weekend.
The Ospreys escaped and that scoreboard remained stuck where it was.
The home side had their best spell around the hour mark, but even then a clear cut try scoring chance was dropped by Chris Dean and Magnus Bradbury limped off. Dickinson, Bradbury and Cornell du Preez may all have had a chance of a spot on the bench for the Calcutta Cup but only du Preez emerged intact.
Depending on Rob Harley’s performance today for the Warriors, the prospect of both Toolis and Swinson on the bench isn’t so far fetched.
A Duncan Weir penalty after 63 minutes pegged the gap back but Sam Davies moved the Ospreys further ahead just 5 minutes later with a penalty of his own. For all their intent, Edinburgh found it hard to capitalise on the holes they were punching in a dogged defensive line. With 8 minutes to play Weir took another 3 points from in front of the posts.
A win was clearly what they wanted, not the draw. But they needed the ball, and a superb high take from Damien Hoyland followed up by a kick chase gave Edinburgh a chance to pounce. They had the ball and were taken int the Ospreys 22 after a nice angle from substitute Mike Allen.
It was a frantic and muddy battle for every yard in slippery handling conditions and the resolute Ospreys defence held until the almost inevitable knock on came. The win puts them top of the PRO12 table.
Once again it was a game Edinburgh probably could/should have won but were left chasing too hard in the final minutes. As yet they don’t have the killer instinct to make those chases count.
SRBlog Man of the Match: Appiah and McInally made a good impact off the bench, Du Preez and Weir ran themselves into the ground but Ben Toolis was the standout performer for the home side.
Referee: George Clancy