Ospreys raise glass to James' singular double

Scarlets 14 Ospreys 21

Try-scoring heroes do not come in a more unlikely shape than Paul James but it was the Ospreys loosehead prop whose tries decided this derby. The purists may argue there was no better protagonist given that no player has pulled on the Ospreys jersey more than the 28-year-old front-row.

Having managed just two tries in his previous 136 appearances, James doubled his tally with a shock double in the space of 11 minutes either side of half-time. However it was the Ospreys' defence and ill-discipline of the Scarlets that proved just as influential on the result.

The Scarlets dominated territory and possession against their wealthier neighbours yet could not find a way to make either count. Not until the eighth minute of injury time, after James and the boot of Dan Biggar had put the game beyond their reach, did the Scarlets finally unlock the door through Johnathan Edwards.

Ospreys coach Sean Holley said: "It was fantastic to see Paul get his reward for great service to the club with those two tries but it was probably our defence that won us the game. We were outstanding on our own goal line. The Scarlets really pounded our line but we were disappointed to concede that late try after that effort."

The Ospreys defence has been moulded during various European exchanges and fuelled frustration within the young Scarlets ranks. However it was two moments of silly indiscipline that really hurt the home side and sparked an exchange of words between head coach Nigel Davies, team physio Brad Harrington and the fourth official on the touchline. Looking back though, the Scarlets could have few complaints.

Trailing 12-9 midway through the second half, scrum-half Martin Roberts was heard by referee Nigel Owens making some off-the-cuff jibe at Biggar as he ran up and missed a penalty. Biggar was allowed to kick again and sent the ball sailing between the posts. If it was not bad enough, moments later the Scarlets saw a kickable penalty reversed for Vernon Cooper's off-the-ball foul in a ruck.

Davies said: "I'm proud of the team's effort and the way we competed but the key thing was our discipline in key parts of the game. There was a six-point swing with those two penalties and that makes me very disappointed. We're fighting an uphill battle with our position in the League and with key players absent through injury and you just can't afford things like that."

Ospreys director of coaching, Scott Johnson, described this fixture as the last example of "tribal rugby" remaining in their fixture list and it proved an old-fashioned game for the modern era. The names may have changed but the historic rivalries between the west Wales towns of Llanelli, Swansea and Neath remain as deep rooted and it made for a wonderful encounter.

There was another throwback to the past when Stephen Jones, having missed his first penalty attempt, converted his second after six minutes to surpass Scarlets legend Phil Bennett's tally of 2,532 points for the club/region. Jones ended the game 59 points behind leading scorer Andy Hill.

Ospreys got the first break when Marty Holah's loose tap from an attacking lineout missed the intended receiver but bounced into the hands of James. The Scarlets lineout parted like the Red Sea and James put his foot on the gas like a dump truck to rumble over on 32 minutes. Jones and Rhys Priestland hit back to hand the Scarlets a 9-7 lead at half-time but two phases after Nikki Walker's chip and chase, James was waiting on the wing to grab a second on 43 minutes. Biggar missed the conversion but struck three more times as the Ospreys defence held firm.

Scarlets R Priestland; M Stoddart (E Williams, 71), S Lamont, J Davies, A Fenby; S Jones, M Roberts; P John, K Owens, D Manu, L Reed, D Day (V Cooper, 52), S Easterby (R McCusker, 58), D Lyons (capt), J Edwards.

Ospreys G Owen (L Byrne, 45); T Bowe, A Bishop, J Hook (S Parker, 39), N Walker; D Biggar, R Januarie; P James, H Bennett (R Hibbard, 52), C Mitchell (A Jones, 38), I Gough, A W Jones (J Thomas, 44), J Collins, R Jones (capt), M Holah.

Referee: N Owens (WRU).

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot