A record-breaking performance by Tommy Bowe led the Ospreys to a rout in Pool Three of the Heineken Cup.
The Ireland winger scored four tries, more than any other Ospreys player has managed in a Heineken Cup tie, as the Welsh side ran up their highest score in Europe. The Ospreys' class was all too evident as they ran in 10 tries. They could have had even more but passing the half-century and recording their biggest win in Europe was enough to underline the gulf between the teams. The Ospreys' previous best was 48-17 against Ulster last season.
Treviso might have been runners-up in the Italian Championship last season, but they were no match for their hosts. Not even their fluorescent jerseys were of any use – if anything they highlighted where the gaps lay in their defence.
On their arrival here they had recorded just one victory in their last 21 European Cup ties – mind you, that success did take place in Wales, against the Newport-Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade last year. Treviso started as if they were intent on repeating that feat and they rocked the Ospreys with an early try, through the left wing Marius Goosen, in the sixth minute.
Three minutes later, however, the rout began. After the Ospreys had worked themselves into a promising position James Hook, their Wales fly-half, delivered a delicate chip over the advancing defence; Bowe gathered 15 metres out and ran over the line. Hook's conversion, like Andrea Marcato's attempt after Goosen's try, sailed wide. But the Ospreys at last looked to have a sense of purpose as they pressed eagerly upfield in search of further scores.
It took them 10 minutes of graft but they were finally awarded a penalty in the 19th minute. They kicked for touch, won the line-out and drove the blindside flanker Jonathan Thomas over for a try which this time Hook managed to convert. That sparked a spate of scores, the Ospreys running in a further four first-half tries and wrapping up a try-scoring bonus point on the way.
They closed the half 40-8 to the good. The left wing, Nikki Walker, a Scotland international, got in on the act following a great break by the former All Black No 8 Filo Tiatia. The New Zealander burst clear and fed the outstanding Wales full-back Lee Byrne, who drew the cover before sending Walker over the line.
Bowe was then sent over twice in half-a-dozen minutes, the first courtesy of a long pass from the centre Andrew Bishop, another player who was on Wales duty last month. Bowe completed his hat-trick – becoming the first Ospreys player to score three or more tries in a match in the Heineken Cup – thanks to a stunning little reverse pass by Hook that gave the winger a clear run off the fly-half's inside shoulder.
Then it was Walker's turn again, over on the left wing. He benefited from a rumbling charge by the lock Alun-Wyn Jones. Hook converted all four tries and Marcato landed a penalty late in the half after Hook was penalised for a deliberate knock-on.
Sadly, while the kick was being taken Walker was being helped off after suffering a leg injury which denied him the chance of emulating Bowe's feat. But there was to be no let-up for Treviso, because Walker was replaced at half-time by Wales's record try-scorer, the IRB world player of the year Shane Williams.
Byrne started the scoring after the interval, sent over on the right by Hook, who converted. There were further tries by Williams, the replacement hooker Ed Shirvington and, finally, Bowe once again.
Ospreys: L Byrne (D Biggar, 64); T Bowe, S Parker, A Bishop, N Walker (S Williams, 40); J Hook, R Wells (R Webb, 72); P James (capt), R Hibbard (E Shervington, 64), A Jones (C Griffiths, 52-60 & 72), I Gough, A-W Jones (S Tandy, 48), J Thomas (T Smith, 75), F Tiatia (C Griffiths, 60-72), M Holah.
Treviso: B Williams; E Mulieri (A Vilk, 46-60; A Ceccato, 60-68), B de Jager (capt), F Waters, M Goosen; A Marcato, T Botes; F Sbaraglini, G Intoppa (D Vidal, 46), P Di Santo (Ceccato, 46-60; 68), A Pavanello (E Pavanello, 46), C van Zyl, S Orlando (R Barbieri, 35), D Kingi, H Louw (M Gilbride, 68).
Referee: J Garces (France).Reuse content