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).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones