Williams weaves magic as Ospreys take flight

Ospreys 27 London Irish 16

Brilliant Williams’ scintillating solo score helped inflict only a second defeat of the season on Aviva Premiership leaders Irish.

And the visitors could have few complaints as Williams’ fellow Lions wing Tommy Bowe claimed an early touchdown before fly-half Dan Biggar kicked four penalties.

Centre James Hook, who moved to 10 when Biggar went off injured early in the second period, added a conversion and penalty, while Irish mustered a Sailosi Tagicakibau interception try, plus 11 points from Ryan Lamb.

There was a ruthless nature about Ospreys’ first attack as Hook sliced through the Irish defence before sending Bowe over.

Biggar could not add the extras, and it was his opposite number Ryan Lamb who settled Irish down, booting two penalties in quick succession. Biggar responded with a successful penalty from just inside his own half.

Williams then set off on a 50-metre run which almost resulted in a try before he fell attempting to hurdle Irish’s last line of defence, and there was no sign of Ospreys taking their foot off the pedal. Scrum-half Mike Phillips was then called back by referee Peter Fitzgibbon after appearing to score a perfectly good close-range try.

Biggar kicked three penalties during an eight-minute spell to give the Ospreys a thoroughly deserved 17-6 interval advantage.

Irish’s response came inside a minute when Tagicakibau intercepted Ospreys full-back Lee Byrne’s pass for a 70-metre breakaway score. Hook, clinging to the Samoan’s shirt for the final 10 metres, tried his utmost to bring him down, but with Lamb adding a touchline conversion, Irish were firmly back in contention.

The Ospreys needed a flash of inspiration to get them going again, and it arrived from the mesmeric Williams.

After receiving the ball 10 metres inside his own half, he kicked cleverly into space, gathered the bounce and then scorched clear without an Irish defender touching him. And when Hook booted a 49-metre penalty shortly afterwards, Irish looked down and out at 27-13 adrift.

Lamb’s third successful penalty maintained chances of a losing bonus point, and Ospreys flanker Jerry Collins’ sin-binning proved immaterial to the outcome.

Scorers for Ospreys: Tries: Bowe, Williams. Cons: Hook. Pens: Biggar 4, Hook.

Scorers for London Irish: Tries: Tagicakibau. Cons: Lamb. Pens: Lamb 3.

OSPREYS: Byrne, Bowe, Bishop, Hook, Williams, Biggar, M. Phillips, James, Hibbard, A. Jones, R. Jones, A. Jones, Collins, Holah, Thomas.

Replacements: N Walker for Biggar (43), Bevington for James (67), Bennett for Hibbard (59), Mitchell for A Jones (78), Gough for R Jones (77), Tipuric for Holah (58).

LONDON IRISH: Ojo, Joseph, Mapusua, Bowden, Tagicakibau, Lamb, Hodgson, Dermody, Buckland, Rautenbach, Kennedy, Casey, Roche, Hala’ufia, Stowers.

Replacements: Seveali’i for Joseph (71), Malone for Lamb (68), Allinson for Hodgson (77), Paice for Buckland (60), Corbisiero for Rautenbach (61), Garvey for Casey (60), Johnson for Hala’ufia (69).

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland).

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