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Page last updated at 13:46 GMT, Saturday, 11 September 2010 14:46 UK

Ospreys welcome four-point reinstatement


Boss Scott Johnson insisted "justice prevailed" as the Ospreys had their four point Magners League deduction overturned by a disciplinary appeal.

But this season's four point penalty, imposed after the Welsh region failed to fulfil a fixture at Ulster in March, has been suspended for two years.

And as his side beat Italians Treviso on Friday, Johnson's Ospreys enjoyed a nine-point league swing.

"I wish there was more of them, it takes the pressure off," said Johnson.

A three-man independent Celtic Rugby disciplinary appeal panel overturned their four-point deduction but upheld the £100,000 misconduct fine against the Magners League champions.

The Ospreys claimed they had not had the front-row cover to fulfil the 19 March fixture at Ravenhill.

But the double boost of the point reinstatement and a 32-16 bonus point-win over Treviso at the Liberty Stadium ensured the Ospreys went from bottom to second in the embryonic Magners League table in one day.

"Justice prevailed and we got on with business and do what we get paid to do," said Johnson after the Ospreys' 10th successive home triumph.

"It is nice and great when you look at the table as it is a little different then it was - but we're comfortable and the boys have their heads screwed on."

Edwin Glasgow QC chaired the independent appeal committee in London and a Magners League statement insisted on Friday: "The appeal committee's decision is final and there is no further right of appeal for either party."

Scott Johnson
It is nice and great when you look at the table as it is a little different then it was

Ospreys coach Scott Johnson on their four point reinstatement

The original disciplinary panel in Glasgow in May found the Liberty Stadium region had "breached the tournament rules and consequently their actions amounted to misconduct".

In May's hearing, the Ospreys stated they had never agreed to the 19 March date for the Ulster match, which was originally called off on 8 January due to bad weather.

The Ospreys claim they did not want the 19 March date because they had already given the players and management leave between 12 and 22 March and had given Ulster three alternative dates which had been turned down.

Scott Johnson's side insisted they did not have any front-row players of sufficient quality to honour the fixture and were not prepared to use semi-professional players from their feeder clubs - Aberavon, Neath and Swansea - in the Welsh Premiership.

Front-rowers Adam Jones, Huw Bennett and Paul James were all in Wales' match-day squad for their final Six Nations game against Italy in Cardiff on 20 March, while fellow forwards Duncan Jones and Richard Hibbard were injured.

A Magners League statement read at the time: "This rule was introduced for health and safety reasons and Celtic Rugby could not sanction a match in these circumstances.

"The reason for the postponement is that Ospreys are unable to supply suitably experienced front-row players in their match squad as is required under the Magners League rules and International Rugby Board rules."

The Ulster fixture at Ravenhill was finally played on 13 April and the Ospreys won 38-27 to help them into the end-of-season play-offs.

The decision to impose the points deduction for this season rather than last angered some, particularly Glasgow Warriors.

It meant that the Scottish side had to travel to the Liberty Stadium for their Magners League play-off semi-final, rather than having a home match against the Ospreys.

The Welsh side won the semi 20-15 and went on to defeat Leinster in the final in Dublin to claim a record third Magners League crown.

The Ospreys lost 27-26 in Ulster in Friday's opening fixture of the 2010/11 season and were propping up the table on minus three points - but the reinstated points catapults the Ospreys up to seventh in the embryonic league table.

* Catch Ospreys coach Scott Johnson on Scrum V as the team analyse all of the weekend's Magners League action on BBC TWO Wales and online on Sunday at 1800 BST

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see also
Ospreys 32-16 Benetton Treviso
10 Sep 10 |  Welsh
Ulster 27-38 Ospreys
13 Apr 10 |  Irish
Ospreys punished for postponement
13 May 10 |  Ospreys
Ospreys-Ulster fixture postponed
12 Mar 10 |  Ospreys
Magners League 2010/11
02 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
RaboDirect Pro12 table
09 Aug 06 |  Tables
Regional rugby archive
07 Jul 03 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh

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