Llanelli Scarlets' reign as Celtic League champions was brought to an end by the team that now look set to usurp them as standard-bearers in Welsh rugby.
Fresh from a demolition of Harlequins in the Heineken Cup, the Neath-Swansea Ospreys oozed with confidence and piled on the misery for the sinking Scarlets with Shane Williams scoring twice. The Scarlets are already facing an early exit from Europe and yesterday lost their grip on the Celtic League crown as well. More ominously, perhaps, is that they have done so with barely a fight from their ageing pack or toothless backs.
Gareth Jenkins, the Scarlets' director of rugby, said: "We can have few complaints about this result. In the first half we failed to build any sort of platform because we were in three minds, rather than just two, about our kicking game. Then Shane Williams popped up twice with some individual brilliance that broke all the structure and pattern in our defence. After that there was no way back."
A typically bruising west Wales derby was fought out for half an hour. Gavin Henson's two penalties were the only marks on the scoreboard before the game exploded into life in the space of two minutes before the break. Jon Mills popped out of a ruck to score a surprise try before a moment of inspiration from Williams, who beat four men from deep, then eventually saw his Barry score in the corner minutes later.
"We're delighted with the win, there was a lot of pride at stake," the Ospreys' coach, Lyn Jones, said. "At half-time we felt they were creaking at the seams and in the end there was only one team in it."
Shane Williams flashed through the defence early in the second half in a move that culminated in James Bater driving over for a third before Williams danced over from close range for his second and the bonus point after Chris Wyatt had been sent to the sin bin for stamping.
Neath-Swansea Ospreys: Tries S Williams (2), B Williams, J Bater; Conversion M Jones; Penalties G Henson (2). Llanelli Scarlets: Try J Mills; Conversion G Bowen.
Neath-Swansea Ospreys: A Durston; E Seveali'i, S Parker (D Tiueti, 80), G Henson, S Williams; M Jones (D Bishop, 67), J Spice (R Rees, 74); D Jones, B Williams (capt; R Hibbard, 76), A Millward (A Jones, 63), B Cockbain, J Thomas (A Newman, 74), J Bater, R Jones (A Lloyd, 70), R Pugh (A Jones, 16-25).
Llanelli Scarlets: G Evans (capt); T Selley, M Watkins, S Finau, A Havili; G Bowen (A Thomas, 21-32), D Peel (M Phillips, 74); P John, R McBryde (M Rees, 50), D Hewett (J Davies, 73), V Cooper, C Wyatt (B Griffiths, 74), D Hodges (A Powell, 29), D Jones, J Mills.
Referee: N Whitehouse (Wales).Reuse content