Two-try North inspires Ospreys to win over Edinburgh

Scott Williams takes on Edinburgh for Ospreys

Guinness Pro14: Ospreys v Edinburgh
Ospreys (3) 17
Tries: North (2) Cons: S Davies (2) Pens: Price
Edinburgh (3) 13
Try: Kinghorn Cons: Van der Walt Pens: Hickey (2)

Wales wing George North inspired his new Ospreys side to victory over Edinburgh with a two-try display on his competitive debut.

North has moved back to Wales from Northampton and showed his class with a second-half double.

A poor first-half saw the scores level at 3-3 before North shone in the second-half.

Edinburgh are still waiting for their first win in Swansea since 2009 despite a late Blair Kinghorn try.

There had been pre-match excitement as Wales trio North, Scott Williams and Aled Davies made their competitive Ospreys debuts.

Justin Tipuric led the side expertly after taking over the captaincy from Alun Wyn Jones, while Luke Price was preferred at outside-half to Sam Davies.

Richard Cockerill named four Edinburgh debutants, including former New Zealand Under-20 captain and fly-half Simon Hickey, South African prop Pierre Schoeman, Scotland’s Henry Pyrgos and Welsh-born Luke Hamilton.

Former Scarlets centre Williams almost made an immediate impression at his new club with a deft kick but Pyrgos denied Dan Evans the try.

Fellow new recruit North followed suit with a smart pick-up and injection of pace before he was brought down in the corner and then showed his defensive prowess with clever cover alongside Tipuric.

The Ospreys dominated the opening early exchanges with territory and possession but could not turn that superiority into points with Price missing a penalty.

Edinburgh grew into the game and finally opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a Hickey penalty.

Price, named at outside-half after Dan Biggar’s departure to Northampton, immediately responded.

Price was forced off the field with a knee injury just before half-time following a Pyrgos tackle. The scores were level at 3-3 at the interval after replacement Davies missed a penalty.

Edinburgh were in command after the break and Hickey slotted over his second penalty after Ospreys were caught offside.

This prompted an immediate reaction from the hosts and finally there was some quality from North as he sidestepped his way to the try line leaving Blair Kinghorn and Duhan van der Merwe floundering. Davies converted.

Williams continually turned the Edinburgh defence with useful chips, while Sam Davies launched some more fluid Ospreys attacks.

Edinburgh temporarily broke the shackles with an incisive break from Scotland flanker Hamish Watson who was returning from a four-month injury lay-off.

An expansive period of play saw both sides counter-attack before Tipuric released North to sprint away to score from the halfway line.

Edinburgh threatened to overturn the deficit in the final 10 minutes with Kinghorn crossing and replacement Jaco van der Walt kicking the conversion.

Cockerill’s men almost snatched victory in the end with a driving lineout but the Ospreys survived and turned over possession to clinch the win with referee John Lacey ruling there was no infringement.

Ospreys: Evans; North, Williams, Watkin, Dirksen; Price, A Davies; Smith, Otten, Botha, B Davies, A Jones, Lydiate, Tipuric (capt), King.

Replacements: Baldwin, R Jones, Jeffries, Beard, Cross, Habberfield, S Davies, Thomas.

Edinburgh Rugby: Kinghorn; Fife, Bennett, Scott, Van der Merwe; Hickey, Pyrgos; Schoeman, McInally (capt), Berghan, Toolis, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Watson, Mata.

Replacements: Ford, Dell, McCallum, McKenzie, Ritchie, Kennedy, Van der Walt, Johnstone.

Referee: John Lacey (IRFU)

Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (IRFU), Wayne Davies (WRU)

TMO: Tim Hayes (WRU)

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