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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 20:43 GMT 21:43 UK
Borders 15-23 Ospreys
CELTIC LEAGUE
Gavin Henson was a key figure for Ospreys
Borders: (9) 15: Pens: Hore 4. Drop Goal: Warnock
Ospreys: (9) 23: Tries: R. Jones, Newman. Cons: Henson 2. Pens: Henson 3.
Att: 1,500
Borders' Celtic League misery deepened as they were beaten by the table-topping Ospreys.

But this defeat was no disgrace for the Scottish side, for whom Charlie Hore kicked four penalties and Ally Warnock notched a drop goal.

They put up a brave and stubborn display for an hour before the Welsh created two crucial tries from Ryan Jones and Andy Newman.

The remainder of the Ospreys points came from Gavin Henson's boot.

The Scots had the better of the opening tussles and quickly broke the deadlock with a 40-metre penalty by centre Hore after the visitors were guilty of handling on the deck.

Hore hooked his second attempt from virtually the same spot as the Borders kept up the momentum - but stand-off Warnock made amends with a slick drop-goal following a charge-down by hooker Ross Ford.

That was the cue for Ospreys to come to life and they got off the mark with a confidently-struck penalty by Henson following illegal ruck handling by the home side.

The referee was very critical at the ruck
Ospreys assistant coach Sean Holley
Hore was wide with another attempt at goal, with the Welshmen immediately capitalising on their reprieve by levelling the contest via the boot of Henson.

And the outside half repeated that feat midway through the half when Warnock was harshly adjudged to have felled an opponent with a high challenge.

Borders responded in positive fashion and Warnock tested the Ospreys defence with a superb high crossfield kick.

Adrian Durston did well to pull off the catch, but he was penalised for failing to release in contact - leaving Hore to square the match from close-range.

Ospreys stepped up the tempo after the restart and pinned the Borders back inside the danger zone.

Henson was wide with a penalty and their patience was further stretched when Shane Williams let the ball squirm from his grasp just short of the line.

The home defence was performing heroics, but the inevitable happened in the 57th minute.

From a five-metre scrum, Jones scooped up the ball and, despite being held, he managed to ground it with his arms at full reach. Henson slotted the goal.

Hore completed his penalty treble to keep the Borders in with a shout - but any prospect of a real fightback was snuffed out as the visitors carved out another touchdown.

They took a quick free-kick close to the target and substitute Newman was driven across by his pack mates. Henson again landed the conversion.

Hore posted another penalty as the Borders tried to salvage a consolation bonus point, but they could not close the gap any further.

"It was a disappointing display from us, but credit must go to the Borders and at the end of the day it's an away win," said Ospreys assistant coach Sean Holley.

"We found it difficult to break down their dogged defence and the referee was very critical at the ruck, meaning we gave away a lot of penalties and failed to gather momentum."


Borders: S Moffat; J Steel, C MacRae, C Hore, N Walker; A Warnock, B McKerchar; P Thomson (capt), R Ford, B Douglas, S MacLeod, M Blair, S Gray, W McEntee, K Brown.

Replacements: S Scott, G Cross, C Stewart, A Miller, I Fairley, S Cranston, G Morton.

Ospreys: A Durston; R Mustoe, D Bishop, Sonny Parker, S Williams; G Henson, J Spice (capt); D Jones, H Bennett, A Jones, B Cockbain, L Tait, J Bater, R Pugh, R Jones.

Replacements: A Williams, M Jones, E Seveali'i, P James, M Davies, A Newman, N Bonner-Evans.

Referee: David Keane (IRFU).




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