The Ospreys were given a good run for their money by the four Principality Premiership sides in their region in a highly innovative and attractive night out at The Gnoll.
Steve Tandy selected a young group of players to face the full force of Aberavon, Bridgend, Swansea and Neath in a series of 20 minute matches for the Premier 4x4 trophy. Having been held 0-0 by the Wizards in the opening 20 minutes the Ospreys went on to win their three following sessions.
A first minute try against his allocated club side by full back Ross Jones, expertly converted off the touchline by Sam Davies, was enough to see off battling Bridgend 7-0, while another corner try from centre Ben John earned a 5-0 triumph against Championship side Swansea.
It meant that going into the fourth and final session the Ospreys held a 12 point advantage on the overall scoring system with Aberavon on 0, Swansea on -5 and Bridgend on -7. To win the trophy the home side needed to beat their regional counterparts by seven or more points.
Neath, under the direction of Rowland Phillips once again this season, kept the Ospreys at bay in the early stages before striking after 12 minutes with a try from new back row recruit James Locke. Outside half Rhodri Cole added the conversion and the home fans were dreaming of a notable start to their season.
But Fijian wing Aisea Natoga and then Hanno Dirksen grabbed the winning try. Davies converted both to make it 14-7 in a quarter that finished early because of a worrying injury to Wales Under 20 lock Rory Thornton, who was taken off the field on a stretcher and put into an ambulance to head straight to hospital.
It meant the evening ended up with the Ospreys winning overall with a total of 19 points, Aberavon were second with 0, Swansea third on -5, Neath fourth with -7 (1 try) and Bridgend fifth on -7.
"It's been a good experience for what was largely a very young team, and in particular our young tight five. They experienced something new every 20 minutes and we've learned a lot about some of the younger guys," said a delighted Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy.
"We've already spoken about having to be more ruthless in what we do, stepping up the ladder, but ultimately we are pleased overall. It was a good night for Ospreys rugby and a great event.
"I'm sure that everyone will take something out of this and we are extremely grateful to Neath for hosting tonight and to the other three clubs as well for buying into what has been a fantastic evening.
"It was challenging, and for the younger guys it was an opportunity to experience something different. I don't think it would have been as good if we'd played one team for 80 minutes and I liked the fact that there were fresh teams coming at them.
"It was something different and, all in all, we did keep the ball for large periods, but we should have been more clinical. Our attention now turns to Saracens on Thursday night."
We hear from Dove Men's Player of the Series Dan Biggar in this week's Principality Welsh Rugby Union Podcast. We also speak to scrum half rivals Rhys Webb and Mike Phillips, the Swansea prop who will be a key player for Oxford in the Varsity Match at Twickenham, Ian Williams, plus John Dawes, John Taylor and Peter Morgan pay tribute to Ray Williams.
Ospreys forwards coach Chris Gibbes was desperately disappointed with his side's display after seeing them concede a penalty try in the last minute to lose once again to Benetton Treviso on Italian soil.
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