Pro14: Ospreys 14-16 Southern Kings
|Pro14: Ospreys v Southern Kings|
|Ospreys (0) 14|
|Tries: M Morris, Dirksen Cons: Hook, Price|
|Southern Kings (13) 16|
|Tries: Cronje Cons: Van Breda Pens: Van Breda 3|
Southern Kings held out for a first away win in the Pro14 as they stunned Ospreys in Swansea.
Kings' Scott van Breda kicked the first points, a penalty, before the visitors launched a superb move for centre Erich Cronje to score.
Van Breda added the conversion and penalties either side of the break to set a tough target for the hosts.
After a glut of changes, Ospreys fought back with tries by Morgan Morris and Hanno Dirksen, but it was not enough.
The fightback against the South African team came after Ospreys produced a dreadful opening period.
Full-back Van Breda kicked the opening points with a penalty and having seen number eight Elrigh Louw denied an opening try by a knock-on, they were not to be denied at the next opportunity.
Kings launched an attack out wide from deep, and with Ospreys' cover defence in short supply, Cronje went over for Van Breda to convert.
A penalty followed to end a miserable first 40 minutes for the hosts, whose directionless efforts were exacerbated by some poor handling in awful conditions.
Coach Allen Clarke's action underlined his view of what had taken place as he sent on veteran fly-half James Hook for Luke Price to start the second period.
Prop Ma'afu Fia, hooker Sam Parry and wing Tom Williams joined Hook in bringing fresh minds and legs to the home effort.
The initiative paid dividends as Ospreys showed attacking poise, rewarded when number eight Morgan Morris drove over from close range for Hook to convert.
However, the former Wales fly-half was forced off for a head injury assessment, allowing Price to return to the fray with the momentum favouring the hosts.
The pressure eventually told with Ospreys changing their direct approach, ending with Price's perfectly-timed fingertip pass sending Dirksen over for the starting 10 to convert.
Between the try and conversion, the hosts suffered yet another injury worry as replacement hooker Parry left on a stretcher.
Hook's return was a more welcome sight for home fans, but he missed a late short-range penalty and another from a metre inside his own half fell short, summing up the home side's efforts.
Ospreys coach Allen Clarke told BBC Sport Wales:
"Early doors, we didn't take our chances, they scored a really good try and our error count in the first half wasn't good enough.
"We were dominant in the second half in the set piece, there was a lot of dead time and that was frustrating, we got ourselves back with a shot at goal (to win it) and it's tough not to take it.
"It's the bottom of the pit for us, it's probably as low as you can go and all credit to Kings, but we've really got to dig ourselves out of this.
"The last couple of weeks, we've had a good enough team on the park (despite the absentees) to get victories and we haven't done that."
Ospreys: D Evans; Dirksen, Thomas-Wheeler, Scott Williams, Klim; Price, Venter; Rhodri Jones, Otten, Botha, Orie, Ashley, Lydiate (capt), Cracknell, Morris.
Replacements: Parry, Thomas, Fia, Volpi, Cross, Aubrey, Hook, Tom Williams.
Southern Kings: Van Breda; Hollis, Erich Cronje, Mnisi, Twum-Boafo; Jackson, Allderman; Schoeman, Du Toit, Scholtz, Sexton, De Wee, Burger, Bholi, Louw.
Replacements: Van Rooyen, Vos, Mguca, Fortuin, Lerm, Pretorius, Masuku, Sithole.
Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR)
Assistant referees: Ben Whitehouse (WRU), Gianluca Gnecchi (FIR)
TMO: Alan Falzone (FIR)