A young Edinburgh Rugby side went down 24-7 to RaboDirect PRO12 champions Ospreys in their Swansea home, the Liberty Stadium tonight.
Two early tries from man of the match winning number 8 Morgan Allen put the Welshmen in the driving seat; a position that was rarely threatened until a 40 minute try from back-row Hamish Watson lifted the spirits.
In the second-half Ospreys capitalised on the man advantage offered by a yellow card for Ben Atiga " the New Zealander carrying the can for a list of team infringements " before Nick De Luca saw red for a dangerous tackle on Tom Grabham to end the visitor's hopes.
The Ospreys made the perfect start to the evening when they surged forward and Allen crossed the whitewash after just four minutes, thanks in no small part to a fine offload from lock Jonathan Thomas.
Stand-off Matthew Morgan added the extras before Leonard missed a chance to claw back a three-pointer at the other end (7-0).
The visitors were valiant in their attempts to build pressure early on, with Leonard, De Luca and Netani Talei leading the way with the snipes and carries.
Ospreys however were proving more clinical and patient in their build-up play, and gradually worked their way up-field to score their second on 21 minutes, Allen again with the close range touchdown and Morgan converting (14-0).
With their confidence now sky high, Ospreys came at Edinburgh in their waves, forcing the hosts to form a resolute defensive barracade, from which they struggled to break free.
It took until the stroke of half-time for that break-through as Watson crossed for his first try on his first start for the club.
Talei started the move as he battered his way up field to half-way and released Fife to carry on. The Fijian was back on his feet and carrying once more before the recycled ball went wide to Watson, who was one of three players available to finish the move at the corner.
Leonard added the extras with a fine touchline conversion to put the visitors in touching distance approaching the break.
Morgan then missed a penalty at the death keep the sides seven points apart and offer a glimmer of hope for the visitors.HALF-TIME
: Ospreys 14-7 Edinburgh Rugby
Leonard missed an early chance to reel the champions in when his long range-penalty grazed the wrong side of the upright, before Morgan did likewise, however the Welshman was back on target with his third after prop John Yapp was pinged for a slipped scrum binding.
To compound the difficulty of the increased point differential (now ten points), Edinburgh's struggle was hit hard by the sin-binning of Atiga, who tried to play the ball on the floor.
The one-man advantage paid immediate dividends as the home side broke free and Edinburgh scrambled. After setting up camp on Edinburgh's 5m line, scrum-half Rhys Webb dived to dot down from the base of the ruck.
Morgan added the extras and suddenly the Ospreys looked comfortable at 24-7, however they were unable to secure a bonus-point-yielding fourth, as the 14-man visitors rallied in spite of the late sending off of De Luca.FULL-TIME
: Ospreys 24-7 Edinburgh RugbyOSPREYS
: Richard Fussell; Tom Habberfield, Tom Isaacs, Jonathan Spratt, Kahn Fotuali'i CAPTAIN; Matthew Morgan, Rhys Webb; Ryan Bevington, Scott Baldwin, Cai Griffiths, Lloyd Peers, Jonathan Thomas, James King, Sam Lewis, Morgan Allen. Substitutes
: Matthew Dwyer, Marc Thomas, Dmitri Arhip, Sam Williams, George Stowers, Arthur Ellis, Ashley Beck, Tom Grabham.EDINBURGH RUGBY
: Greig Tonks; Dougie Fife, Nick De Luca, Ben Atiga, Lee Jones; Harry Leonard, Richie Rees, John Yapp, Andy Titterell, Willem Nel, Perry Parker, Sean Cox CAPTAIN, Stuart McInally, Hamish Watson, Netani Talei. Substitutes
: Robin Hislop, Allan Jacobsen, Alex Allan on for Nel (69'), Robert McAlpine on for Parker (68'), Chris Leck on for Rees (69'), Piers Francis, Ben Cairns on for Brown (25'), Tom Brown on for Tonks (blood, 8'), on for Jones (22')RaboDirect PRO12 man of the match
: Morgan AllenAttendance
: David Wilkinson (IRFU)