Ospreys 49 Gloucester 19: Inspired Henson leads Ospreys rout

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The Independent Online

At last the dream showed signs of coming true for coach Lyn Jones as the Ospreys romped to victory over Gloucester in the opening round of the EDF Energy Cup last night.

Sonny Parker went over twice while Justin Marshall, Shane Williams, Barry Williams and Gavin Henson, who kicked 19 points, also scored as the Ospreys drew first blood in the Anglo-Welsh rivalry. For Gloucester, Peter Richards' consolation try leaves them already facing a battle to qualify from the pool stages.

The victory may have come against second-string opposition but Jones will not care a jot as his expensively assembled stars finally lived up to the weight of expectancy.

Given their contrasting fortunes in their respective leagues, it was little wonder that the Ospreys showed the greater hunger in the opening exchanges that saw them establish a 12-3 lead inside 15 minutes.

After a series of dour performances, Jones' new faces merged with the established names to make Gloucester pay for a half-hearted first-half display.

Williams scampered over after just 62 seconds following Duncan Jones' thrust and Lee Byrne's quick hands. Sensing an advantage against a poor Gloucester pack, Henson kicked successive penalties into touch from where hooker Williams was shoved over the line. Henson converted and added three penalties before the break.

Parker scored twice after the break to seal the result before Marshall and Henson went over to ensure maximum points.

Gloucester coach Dean Ryan offered no excuses, admitting: "We didn't turn up with enough intensity." But Jones was happy with a "powerful performance".

Ospreys: Tries Parker (2), S Williams, B Williams, Marshall, G Henson; Cons Henson (5); Pens Henson (3). Gloucester: Try Richards; Con Mercier; Pens Mercier (4).

Ospreys: Byrne (Selley, 73); Walker, Parker (Connor, 73), Bishop, S Williams; Henson (J Marshall, 79), Marshall (J Spice, 73); D Jones (capt, P James, 70), B Williams (Shirvington, 73), P James (A Jones, 51), B Cockbain (Bateman, 75), I Evans, A W Jones, R Jones (Thomas, 64), S Tandy (Thomas, 59-64).

Gloucester: O Morgan (Thirlby, 70); Foster, Adams, Allen, Bailey; Mercier (B Davies, 73), Lawson (Richards, 54); P Collazo (Wood, 59), M Davies (Azam, 47), Forster, James, Eustace, Balding (Merriman, 53), Narraway, Boer (capt).

Referee: H Watkins (WRU)

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