Newport-Gwent 24 Ospreys 14: Ospreys' season hits new low after mauling by Dragons

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The Independent Online

The Ospreys' season lurched from one crisis to another after collapsing to a fourth successive defeat that effectively ended their reign as Celtic champions.

Back to back defeats against Leicester killed off any last hopes of progressing in Europe, now a loss to the Newport Gwent Dragons - thanks to tries from Ian Gough, Michael Owen and Gareth Chapman - has left the defending champions one place off the foot of the table with little going their way.

The Ospreys will appeal against Gavin Henson and Ian Evans' savagely long suspensions but that prolonged process will hardly offer the immediate tonic they so badly need.

Already without injured British Lions duo Ryan Jones and Brent Cockbain for the rest of the season, Lyn Jones had expected a positive response from his team. That came in the shape of a try inside five minutes from Shaun Connor after Shane Williams' clever off-load. Yet the players soon faded.

Jones said: "We're very disappointed. There are individuals who are just not performing and really need to take a hard look at themselves. The party from last year's Celtic League is well and truly over."

Opposite number Paul Turner could not have asked for a better start to the New Year for the cash-strapped region. He said: "It's been a hard Christmas with a small squad and a lot of injuries but we dug in."

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