Ross Harries is joined by Gareth Delve and Martyn Williams for a look back at the latest Pro12 action. Plus a visit to thriving North Wales club Nant Conwy.
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As we enter the final third of the season the focus sharpens for those
in the Pro12. The summit was inside for two of the top sides. Could the
ospreys maintain their winning run? The Six Nations returns next weekend
and Scotland are wary of Wales's wrecking ball. You do not fancy
being on the end of one of those Moriarty specials. Not particularly!
And we take a trip north to see how Nant Conwy fared in the National
played quarterfinals. First world champion. At darts, that was.
The Six Nations has taken a break this weekend,
but we've had plenty of rugby to keep us entertained.
Martyn Williams and Gareth Delve are here with us to look back.
But what better place to start than the Liberty Stadium,
as the Ospreys put their 13-game unbeaten run on the line.
, set some hard yards for the ospreys. Taking the Roman road over
the ten. Sam Davies, great handoff, what a start by the ospreys. Davies
onto Ashley Beck. Wriggling up to the 22. Twinkling tones from the
Kiwi. What a try. Brilliant individual score. Haberfield
dictating the base. Ospreys getting possession at will. Options either
side. Quick again. Davies, Ashley Beck, he counters in. Is there a
hint of a forward pass? Definitely forward. Off the top of Joe Callahan
and on the wraparound, off the training paddock by Munster. Jack
O'Donoghue. Duncan Williams. Marshall, lovely hands. Saili, great
finish by the Centre. And eventually given by the referee. Ospreys piling
on the pressure. Lovely take and give, tidied up, Giles and Ashley
Beck, into the corner, there is a flag up for the touch, and another
one for the TMO. He certainly hit the post but what about Saili not
using his arms? 22, no try. They are asking for the tackle. Not
impressed. They go for more, Munster in close. The forwards driving. A
little flash and dash, over the line, can he get it down? The
referee going to the TMO again. Looks a bit short.
More caveman staff from Munster, this is what they love. Williams. A
little bit stodgy again. The rumble on once more. Has he managed to get
over? The try is awarded. A chance for Munster to get ahead for the
first time. This is a last chance for the Ospreys. They have got to
keep possession, they have got to get off the field. They cross
halfway. Bit of a gap. Munster with hands in the air. Conway takes it
out of the park that is the drama at the death? Was that tackle on
Brendon Leonard and five? Double tackle. Kevin O'Byrne was the main
culprit, I have seen those given. But not this time. Their unbeaten
run finally at an end. I'm sure some travelling fans wondering how on
earth they left Liberty Stadium with a victory. What a match. Brilliant
game. You look at the name not involved yesterday on international
duty for the good having a drop-off in quality but two of the best squad
is probably in the league. The Ospreys well ahead out on stage,
Steve Gandhi said he was a bit aggrieved at some of the refereeing
decisions. I think rightly so. With Ashley Beck, the second disallowed
try, maybe the last tackle from Saili but credit to stay, he also
said the Ospreys have more than enough opportunities anyway. And the
Ospreys have been one of the best attacking side in the league. If not
the best attacking side. The first 20 minutes yesterday some of the
rugby they played was the best I have seen. First try here, Ashley
Beck standing ready flat, Underhill as well was superb. The support
lines they were hitting, they were outstanding. Great support line by
James King. Just veering away from the defender instead of running
straight. That was a taster of what they did, then they have some really
key poor decisions. Baldwin, hold onto the ball. Don't give somebody
like Munster the opportunity. In control of the game. They win the
turnover, they have stayed alert and this is what happens. The Ospreys
have just gone 20-11, they put it out on the full. So they are 20-18
and that gives Munster and left. Key decisions at key moments. Interns
are some of the standout press, Ashley Beck, and of course his
contribution was brilliant. He has been injured so much but he has the
strength to get over the gain line. Some brilliant touches as well. Does
not even have to break stride. He was superb yesterday. Somebody like
Brian O'Driscoll on social media, we have looked at it a couple of times
yesterday. Still an unbelievable effort. If he can stay fit he should
definitely go on the summer tour. High praise indeed from Brian
O'Driscoll, he has been so one fortunate over the years but he has
had a run now in the side. The staking his claim with players away
on international duty. Ashley paid so much Red Bee from a young age and
in the last couple of years he has had injuries so it is just a case of
him showing how classy years. He has the time, that is very special, the
most important quality. He goes up the middle and makes his tackles.
Great handling skills. Potential option for Wales in the future. We
could guarantee he is adding to his tally of Welsh caps sooner rather
than later. So while the Ospreys had been hoping
to return to the summit, their west Wales rivals the Scarlets
were hoping to cement their place in the top four when Zebre
came to town. COMMENTATOR:. Will Boyd up to the
try line. James Davies tries to work his way over, Jonathan Evans, they
are so close now. Kept it alive and flicked on, just about enough room
for Evans to squeeze in the corner. Fine finish by Stefan Evans and
Scarlets are on the board. Great pass to Billy needs and he gets in
the corner. -- Bellini. Very effective rugby from Zebre.
Jonathan Evans. It is as easy as that. Hacked through, anybody
chasing after it. Tom Williams takes it on the half volley. Great
breakaway try. He will jog along and hard about the hacked downfield but
the pace and presence of Tom Williams gives Scarlets breakaway
third try. The line-outs. Make sure they do not get driven over the
touchline. Plenty of forwards to choose from. Aaron Shingler the
first of them. Taken over by Tom drives. Bonus point try. There is a
penalty try in this. Tremendous, no doubt at all, could not gets there
under their own steam but referee under the posts for the penalty try.
Elias slips it back. Not tackle. Will Boyd straight through and
underneath the posts more or less. STUDIO: Handsome win in the end and
the mission was to get a bonus point because they want to cement their
place in the top four so it was job done. Mission accomplished, it is
difficult sometimes against the Italian sides to be at the top of
the game. Bonus point and move on. By their own admission it was
sloppy, they said at the end of the game they will need to tighten up.
Dad says it is difficult sometimes to go out there and, but some of
their execution and passing was really poor. They just had too much
quality in the end. One man with quality in abundance, Stefan Evans
has not played for about four weeks. He looked hungry. In the last 12
months he has really stood up, such a balanced runner, give him space,
he will beat people. I like this. He comes off his wing as well, looking
for work. Just the balance, he has lost a bit of weight, bitter puppy
fat. He is in the shape of his life and he can finish. Out and out
winger. Did not get his opportunity last week but no doubt, maybe not in
this Six Nations but going forward he is definitely international
quality. He has worked hard. I have been really impressed, he runs
really good supporting lines, that is what the All Blacks do well.
Cutting a nice tight line and taking it on.
He's put his hand up for selection for Wales next week,
We spoke to the WRU today and they said he is back in training but I'm
sure Evans is on the sidelines waiting for his chance.
And with that Scotland game less than a week away,
we caught up with John Barclay, who's relishing the prospect
of lining up against his Scarlets team-mates.
The game in Paris you perhaps could have won but ultimately a pretty
brutal French pack. In my mind that stands out as there with the most
physical Test match I have played in. We had five guys with head
knocks, Greg got injured, not offering you Synod. The post match
lunch nine guys did not go. Pretty brutal. What did you make of the
Wales- England game. It was brutal, that was my first impression. I
thought Wales handed with 77 minutes on the clock. But on the state. That
shows you the nature of international rugby.
Your record against Wales is not the prettiest. Scotland have not beaten
them since Warren Gatland took over in 2008. Wales record has been
pretty damn good. I said at the start if we play well, if we feel
like we can play well, we can beat teams. In terms of the opposition
you bite face in the back row, what did you make of Ross's performance?
He was pretty physical. He is a young, physical specimen. The way he
was throwing himself about, he was on fire when he played. You don't
fancy being on the end of one of those specials? Not particularly.
When I came down here, I thought it would be awesome to play against the
boys and be a different experience to play against my team. He did not
happen for three and a half years. There has always been a bit of
winding up going on. A bit of fun, a bit of banter with the boys. Which
Scarlet International would you like to silence? Rob Evans? The guys know
how much goes into it. I hope they do.
That will be a bumper weekend. It starts on Friday.
We will analyse everything. John Barclay keeping his cards close to
his chest. The news of his injury, a 50-50 call but they have had a fair
few injury worries. They are pretty significant injury worries. They
haven't got the strength and depth that the likes of England have
shown. They are still a well drilled unit. I think they will take a lot
of heart even though they lost in France. Murrayfield has become a
real fortress for them. A real tough challenge next week. How much will
they miss Leader? He is their main harvester of points. He has done
really well at Gloucester. He has been the blue that has pushed them
on and it's amazing with Scotland, they have all these nines. History
of captaincy at nine. In terms of Wales, Rob Harry will wrestle with a
few selection dilemmas. As discussed, Ross Moriarty had a
storm. Plenty of debate whether he should be taken off when he was. He
has made himself an drop ball but you have a situation with file et al
back in the mix. It's a nice headache to have. All four, top
players. Moriarty were sensational. It was the same in New Zealand, he
was outstanding. I would keep the same back row, it is working. The
luxury of Faletau. You can't drop somebody like Moriarty. Just keep
them going. So far, so good in this tournament so I would keep it the
same and then you have Faletau off the bench. It wasn't so long ago
that we were saying who is the next Faletau? It is a fantastic headache
to have. You feel sorry for the coaches when we would never thought
we'd see the day where they would get stick for getting to be of the
bench. Out of the three on the part, they were all playing well against
England but he should have been there until his legs dropped off. He
was going great. We do stick with the same three and then Faletau on
the bench? Ross is one of the three. It's a straight shoot out between
the sevens. In terms of that psychological record, the fact that
Wales haven't lost to Scotland since Warren Gatland came on board, as
players does that play on your mind? It does in a way. Subconsciously the
Scottish boys don't know what it is like to beat the Welsh side. Looking
at the back row, D1 I think who is in danger is to correct. What this
Welsh team have done is out muscle Scotland. Sam and Ross, they really
outmuscled them because that is where Scotland have struggled, on
physicality. It will play a major part on Saturday. They did struggle
against France in Paris. Do you think Wells macro Wilson is a
vulnerability there? They go into it confidently because of the back of
the performance against England, there is a fair bit of Walsh
knowledge in that Scottish camp. John Humphrys coaching the forwards.
I think on its merits, we will have to be at the top of our game to get
the result. We asked you to pick your lines and I must stress this is
as if the first test was this weekend. Who have you gone for? Who
would I pick? A lot of players were injured. I suppose the one who
stands out is Fraser Brown. He has been really eye-catching around the
park. Ken Owens has been superb. At the moment, Hartley and best third
and fourth for me. How can you leave Moriarty out? I tried to mix the
squad really. It's a decent back row and whoever they pick, the back five
of the scrum, such a difficult selection but that is my side. Any
differences? I am going to treat him now. I think it is good. With that
back row, there is balance. You need the carriers, the Thatcher and your
defensive dog and all the best back rows in history has had that
balance. It will not necessarily be the three best players, it will be
the best balance. Indeed. We have had some sad news today as well.
Many of you will have heard that Dan Vickerman was found dead in his home
in Sydney this morning at the age of 37. He survived by his wife Sarah
and his two sons. Our deepest condolences to his family from
everyone here. So from the Six Nations,
to the WRU National Plate. Nant Conwy have been enjoying
a fine season so far at the top of National League One
North. How would they get on against
St Peter's in the plate? We sent Garin Jenkins
on a road trip to find out. There is a certain bias above North
Wales rugby today. And what about a good old-fashioned cup tie to see
what it is about. We are a young club but what there is here is a
hunger and passion for the game. Junior is, youths, women's,.
Grassroots rugby is on its way out. We're working hard and growing the
game from schools all the way through to the senior team. All the
players today in the squad have come through the youth ranks. They are
all local lads. Della Wyn Jones and outside-half to watch? I think so.
He has a good boot on him as well. A good guy. Mr Jones looks big. What
are you feeding him on? Lots of chicken. The first half has been
really good but probably Nant Conwy looks fitter.
Leighton Rees, first world champion. A lot of 50-50 decisions going to
Nant Conwy. Really exciting. I used to
passionate about it? We seem to be able to get it for the big games so
hopefully we can hang in there. It is a volatile atmosphere. My
daughter plays for the under 15s and we have had a success with our under
18s girls team. A club like Nant Conwy are ambitious and they are
working hard. If you start to think of it, they have a bus stop outside
the club where the kids can get off the bus and come straight to the
club. They have a different way of engaging people to their clubhouse.
They are embracing the whole side of the community. Hopefully we will see
you in Cardiff in May. The trip north has been worth it. Didn't
disappoint. What a great day, spills, thrills, passion, excitement
and some great finishing from both sides. The cup is still alive. Many
congratulations to Nant Conwy. Let's round up the rest of the results.
Quinn is too strong in the end. 19 winners there. Nant Conwy victory
over Saint Peters. Let's move back to the protocols and
the Dragons were hoping to banish their awayday Blues.
when they travelled into the lair of the defending champions.
Max Healy has room to move. Skate in for the try after a relentless four
minutes of action. Blade with a pick-up and blade goes all the way
for try number two, just 13 minutes played. Laid a late call-up and the
Dragons suffering. This is better from the Dragons, putting a feud
phases together. It's hard work into this wind. Can they get the overlap
here? Morgan out to Howard. Great attack. Shot the winner in half and
the Dragons get a penalty. Look for the flags, up they go and 14-9. Dig
it out. O'Brien looks to send it long and looks for the outside.
Tyler Morgan tries to crash his weight over but well held up by the
Connacht defence. Just a floating pass gave them time to reorganise.
The shelf that we expected. That is just a killer moment for the
Dragons. I am proud of the team in the way they limited the game plan.
The breakdown work is something we focused on. The set piece defence in
particular was excellent. But there was a failure to be more patient
around the try line, that is probably the difference on the
scoreboard. STUDIO: Philosophical, but remarkably Connacht were 14-0 up
after 12 minutes but did not score another point. Watching of last
night I thought it could have got messy for the Dragons. We say it
every week about the Dragons, you cannot fault their commitment and
effort. It is just you asked me earlier whether Scotland can get
over the line against Wales, it is like the Dragons, they do not know
how to win. They lack that bit of maturity. And as we mentioned it is
the awayday Blues, they can put on a show at Rodney Parade, but on the
road they have this woeful record. 19 oh in all competitions.
Psychologically that becomes an issue. And it does. -- 19 in a row.
They need to break that down, that includes Italian teams. It is not
enough just to get wins at home. I think the Dragons as a young team,
let's hope they can reach the tipping point. Compared to the way
you is lead by storm last season they are disappointing this season.
You do not want to take anything away from last year, in a World Cup
year that was a huge advantage, they did not lose players like the rest
of the teams. But they lost Robbie Henschel, a lot of quality, so they
probably where you would expect Connacht to be in the normal run of
things, similar to Leicester City. Still a dangerous side. Goodwin last
week against the Blues. Long shot to be in the top six.
They were desperate to get back to winning ways after defeat
They welcomed Treviso to the Arms Park yesterday afternoon.
COMMENTATOR: Nick Williams picks up, all the way to the line, though one
going to stop the big man from a distance. Williams assesses his
options, with another powerful surge towards the line. The ball comes
back quickly. Gdansk, lovely off-load. Dacey, Anscombe, nice
floated pass. Real goose-step, puts Matthew Morgan into space. With a
field in front of them. Lovely give and take. Steve Schindler has a
clean run to the line. Try number three for the Blues. They are
beginning to pull away. Anscombe, Matthew Morgan. Straightened up
nicely. Two men outside, Sean Bennett there and nobody will lay a
finger on the openside flanker. The Blues beginning to run rampant. Back
to Matthew Morgan, first instinct is always to attack. Past the first
three tackles. The Treviso defence is so porous, can Matthew Morgan go
away? Lovely unselfish pass. They see on hand and the Blues well in
front now. Sloppy ball. He has done well there. Matthew Morgan out, so
much space. What a try this would be. Desperate tackle of the off-load
was good. The Blues edge past the 40 point mark. Anscombe floats past.
Matthew Morgan over the line, the easiest try of the afternoon. The
clock ticking down. Will he need the support? His pace takes him all the
way to the line. Alex Cuthbert scoring a try at the end and setting
up another, how difficult has this week been for him? He is a good pro,
here's thick-skinned, he knows what he has got to do. We saw the
response and the character of Alex Cuthbert. I do not know many players
who could come out and play like he did. His job today was to come and
play outstandingly for Cardiff Blues and he was one of the best players
on the pitch today. Handsome win in the end for the Blues. They are
still in seventh place. The top looking ever more congested. Munster
back on top. Just one point celebrating Munster and the Ospreys.
But Ulster have a game in hand. Level on points now with Edinburgh.
Danny Wilson they're talking about Alex Cuthbert, who has had his fair
share of abuse of social media in the last week, how pleasing was it
in that kind of irresistible form. It was out of order some of the
criticism but yesterday, I was down there, he was hungry. He has had a
tough week. That shows his mental strength. Could easily have had a
week off. Which is the old Alex Cuthbert. Great for him yesterday.
Brilliant to see the Cardiff players there. They made a beeline for him.
They know how tough it is. And as Martin said he could have been
forgiven for going into his shell but as far as I'm aware he went to
Danny Wilson earlier in the week and said he wanted to play. That says
something for him. That is what you need to do, get out and play and get
some enjoyment back. When he's running in tries like that there is
not many people in the Welsh game like that. He needs a smile on his
face, enjoy the good times. That he is a quality player. It is getting
back to that level. You yesterday and it looks like a romp when you
read the newspapers that up until half-time it was tight. Classic
Italian game, first half they were in it and the Blues weren't great,
they were struggling, bad loss against Connacht but they were
brilliant in the second half. Again the Italian teams in it until
half-time and then they just fold like a deck chair. It was a bizarre
game. Matthew Morgan was dangerous with ball in hand. Just what you
expect when the Welsh team plays in the Italian team at home. It was
pleasant watching back the montage, take nothing away from the Blues.
You can only beat what is in front of you but it was turnstile defence
in the second half. It is something I suppose they need to knock-on the
head in terms of the need to be competitive. We were talking about
back in a day at least you had Bergamasco running around, the
rampant Italian attitude. Some of the games this season they have not
had that. Couple of big hits and a bit of a scrap, they lack some
spark. Hopefully things will improve before the end of the season. Most
of us in Wales dream on pulling it on -- dream of pulling on the
feathers. Just over a decade ago,
James Bird was a Cardiff schoolboy dreaming of playing
fly-half for Wales. Unlike his schoolmate
Sam Warburton, it didn't But a job opportunity in the US
led him across the Atlantic. And three years later, James Bird
became a fully-fledged US Eagle. New York and America, it feels like
home now. Elliot Daly, Cuthbert chases him down. Elliot Daly... I
guess I was never McAnuff to pull on the Welsh jersey. -- never lucky
enough. Life does not always go like you expect, but to be here in
America and appeal to play internationally for them is a huge
honour. If at myself at 15 I would have an American cup I would have
laughed in my own face. I have just loved it, it was the best experience
I have ever had in rugby. Playing in a stadium with 20,000 people against
Argentina. It was awesome. The Welsh identity people there, you are
wearing the American shirt and that is the way it is. I grab in
Thornhill, Cardiff, the first time I picked up a rugby ball was probably
in the garden playing with my brother. Then from six or seven
playing at Rhiwbina. The first memory I have of Sam is in a
Tottenham Hotspur shed, Frank was the rugby coach and headmaster, and
he tried to get me to get Sam and then in the rugby because they
weren't interested. Then they came to training and the rest is history.
I saw him in the Millennium Stadium five years ago -- Tottenham Hotspur
assured. It was good to catch up with him. This is pre-Tuesday night
training, snow on the ground has just been cleared. We are in the
Robert Kraft Stadium, pretty novel playing on an American football
field. You add in snow and it is a bit different. I miss Tuesday and
Thursday down there. In November I was in Chicago at the New Zealand-
Ireland match and I didn't feel great, woke up with a stabbing pain
and realise my appendix burst. Coming back from injury it is about
getting back to where I was before the injury and working towards the
June Test matches. Trying to get in the best shape I can. That is my
goal, trying as best I can to put myself in contention for the World
Cup in 2019. We have to qualify first, we have a couple coming up
against Canada. I have thought about playing Wales, it would be
incredible. We were lucky enough to play together. It might happen, if
it does it would be amazing. STUDIO: Incredible story if he was to face
Wales, and we should say congratulations to the US, James did
not play after his injury but they beat Canada yesterday, 51-34. There
is a longer version of the story online. We have about a minute left
so focus back to Scotland and Wales, we talked about the match, but I
didn't ask your predictions. I am confident, as in Scotland have
improved and they have that X factor of that with the injuries, we have a
clean bill of health and I expect us to win. Not comfortably but by two
scores, put it that way. It'll be an entertaining game that Wales win. It
is always an entertaining game when Wales play against Scotland, and we
have had some humdinger is over the years and some special tries as well
but none perhaps as special as this one you are about to see, caught by
the Master Phil Bennett 40 years ago. Difficult to believe. Hopefully
we will be celebrating a famous Welsh victory next week.
COMMENTATOR: J PR, Carmichael. What is he doing there? You can see Phil
Bennett, out to back inside to Fenway and Bennett, this is going to
be the try of the championship. That was absolute magic.
Every night, about 40 people find themselves sleeping rough
You start losing faith in people and faith in the system.
How do they cope? You find little ways to make yourself stand out
so people smile when they actually notice you.
I've been on the street so long now, I've give up.
I'm going to be on the street for the rest of my life, I think.
Ross Harries is joined by Gareth Delve and Martyn Williams for a look back at the latest Pro12 action. There is a visit to thriving North Wales club Nant Conwy, who host St Peter's in the quarter-final of the plate. Plus a look ahead to next week's Six Nations match against Scotland.