Dafydd Howells' hat trick secured a win over the Dragons
Rising star Dafydd Howells scored a hat trick in a convincing victory for the Ospreys U18 over the Dragons.
The home side ran in five tries, Dan Brooks and Jed Evans also crossing, as they cruised to a 31-10 victory.
On a cold night at Llandarcy, the Ospreys were in a determined mood as they looked to get a much needed win before the age grade tournament breaks up over Christmas. And they did just that, starting the game well and putting the Dragons' defence under pressure from the kick-off.
With only three minutes on the clock, scrum half Brooks crossed the whitewash to open up the scoring. Fly-half Luke Price failed to add the difficult conversion from out wide but his side were off to a fast start.
The early score gave the home side confidence and they moved the ball around the pitch with great accuracy. This soon led to another try minutes later, again scored out wide by winger Evans.
Price failed to add the extra two but the young Ospreys then went up another gear with some great ball carrying by lock Rory Thornton and loose head prop Chris Forshaw. The forward dominance provided a great platform for the Ospreys with Howells making the most it.
The Wales academy winger ran in three tries of his own before half time and had his side kicked their goals, they would have been out of sight. As it was, all five conversions and a penalty were missed but the home side went in at half time 25-0 up.
With a significant deficit to overcome, the Dragons started the second half in determined mood as they looked to get back into the game. Outside half Angus O'Brien got the visitors back into things, crossing the line with a well worked try though he failed to add the conversion. Given heart by the score, the Dragons went up a gear and minutes later, lock Deryn Jones went over. Again the conversion was missed but the Dragons trailed by 15 points with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Both sides were playing entertaining rugby and were not afraid to move the ball around.
The young Ospreys failed to crack the Dragons defence, switching tactics to play for territory.
This led to two penalties in the Dragons 22. Centre Joe Thomas stepped up to take the kicks, scoring twice from the boot bringing the score 31-10.
The Dragons still would not crack but the Ospreys' defence held strong to seal the win.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.