With the Scarlets Under 18s having scraped a win in North Wales on Sunday, the Dragons and Ospreys meet at Newbridge tonight knowing that only victory, for either side, will keep alive their hopes of reaching the final of this season’s WRU Age Grade Championship.
The Ospreys, who have two games remaining, are six points behind the second placed Scarlets, albeit with a game in hand, whilst the Dragons, who still have three qualifying matches to play, are a further six points behind. Defeat for the Gwent region would bring an end to their hopes of joining the Blues in the play off final.
The Scarlets improved their chances of qualification with a hard fought 28-22 victory over RGC 1404 at Colwyn Bay on Sunday. Despite being outscored by their visitors, in terms of tries, the Scarlets won the day thanks to the metronomic boot of Scott Maynard. The outstanding outside half kicked seven penalties and converted Gareth Thomas’ fifth minute try to finish the day with 23 points.
Showing the same tremendous spirit that has been evident throughout this season, RGC 1404 fought back, firstly through a try from full-back Dion Jones after 25 minutes and then just three minutes later with another from Chris Holmes which was converted by Jones. Lewis Barker added a third try for the North, shortly before half time, but it was Maynard who won the day after the interval to keep the Scarlets on course.
The play-off places at under 16 level have already been decided with Blues North, Ospreys, Dragons and Scarlets, who won 24-20 at RGC 1404 on Sunday, all safely through to the semi-finals. Tonight sees the Blues North at Cardiff Arms Park, against Blues South, whilst the Dragons travel to Llandarcy to take on the Ospreys.
For the Ospreys, victory this evening will all but assure them of top spot in the pool – they are currently four points clear of Blues North. The Eyasses are also hell bent on revenge having suffered their only defeat of the season, 19-8, against the Dragons at Pandy Park back in September.