Search for a win goes on as Ospreys gift visitors victory
Ospreys 10 - Glasgow 28
WHO would have thought that three games into the season the Ospreys would be the only Welsh region still searching for a win?
They were the architects of their own downfall against Glasgow last night, conceding two soft tries before half time and leaving themselves too much to do.
The first-half touchdowns both stemmed from the schoolboy sin of failing to play to the whistle, with Hanno Dirksen protesting that he had been impeded before DTH Van Der Merwe scored and Rhys Webb complaining as Chris Fusaro crossed.
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Ian Evans did power over for the Ospreys after the break, only for Glasgow to counter with another try from Van Der Merwe.
The home coaches will be less than impressed with their side's efforts. There were once again too many mistakes, the scrum hit problems and the handling wasn't always precise.
The Ospreys have now lost three in a row and have a testing visit to Llanelli to take on the in-form Scarlets next Friday.
Tom Grabham did well enough on his debut, while Alun Wyn Jones tried hard to inspire his side after coming on as a replacement. But Glasgow deserved their win.
Jeers rang out around the ground on the final whistle.
Scottish sides used to fear trips to Wales, or at least make a point of tripping up on them. Rewind to the old Welsh-Scottish League and Edinburgh losing 16-10 to Cross Keys at Pandy Park.
Or remember, if you will, Glasgow just managing to hold Caerphilly to a 19-point winning margin at Virginia Park.
But something has been stirring the other side of Hadrian's Wall. Glasgow made four trips down to the regions last term and were beaten just once; Edinburgh won at the Arms Park against the Blues last weekend.
So the hosts needed to be careful.
An Ospreys pack without Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones and Ryan Jones in the starting line-up is a bit like the Magnificent Seven saddling up minus Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson.
But that is what we had for the clash with Glasgow, with the three Joneses missing from the run-on side.
Adam and Ryan were recovering from injuries, while skipper Alun Wyn was on the bench.
Justin Tipuric took over the armband, with Aaron Jarvis continuing at tight-head and George Stowers featuring at No. 6.
Another significant change saw Dan Biggar recalled at fly-half.
A change for Glasgow saw Ryan Wilson withdraw from the side as his wife gave birth the night before. James Eddie came in at blindside flanker, with John Barclay moving to No. 8.
The alteration didn't affect them one jot in the early stages as they made just about the perfect start.
The Ospreys were pressing and looking a decent bet for points themselves. But when Dan Biggar hoisted a spiralling kick, Van Der Merwe claimed it ahead of Dirksen and the field opened up for the Canadian international.
Dirksen was cynically taken out as he went to leap for Biggar's kick and he appealed to the referee to take action. But all his protest did was give Van Der Merwe the split second he needed to sprint clear.
He still had 75 metres to run but with no-one in front of him the South Africa-born player was able to claim the touchdown.
It had been a freak score in many ways, but that type of thing happens when you are down on your luck.
And that is what the Ospreys were, with two defeats in as many rounds of Pro12 games this term.
In the matchday programme, chief operations officer Andrew Hore had insisted there was little wrong, declaring: "While results haven't gone our way yet, it is definitely not time to start manning the lifeboats."
Maybe not, but the Ospreys were certainly sailing in choppy waters.
That much was underlined throughout the first quarter as Glasgow pressed repeatedly, playing with a fluency the home side lacked.
There was a blow for the Scots in the 12th minute when they lost Chris Cusiter to injury.
The Scotland international had been brought down by Ian Evans and Rhys Webb and landed heavily on his left shoulder. He needed to be helped from the field, with Henry Pyrgos coming on as replacement.
But the visitors continued to have much the better of proceedings, forcing two scrum penalties in quick succession and pegging the Ospreys back.
It wasn't long before the second Scottish try came.
Once again, it should have been prevented, Webb fumbling the ball at ruck five metres out and complaining to the ref, who ignored him. Chris Fusaro gathered and crossed, Weir adding the conversion to make it 15-0 to the Warriors.
Whatever the merit of Dirksen and Webb's complaints, the golden rule is you play to the whistle. In choosing to protest instead, the Ospreys were guilty of naivety. You'd imagine Steve Tandy would have been furious.
Boos echoed around the stadium as the sides left the field for half-time.
Webb was yellow-carded for lazy running in the 48th minute, Weir slotting the penalty to put Glasgow 18-0 ahead. Tandy sent on Alun Wyn Jones, hoping he would galvanise his side, and Tom Grabham switched to scrum-half for the duration of the sin-bin.
Evans rallied the hosts with a short-range try, but Glasgow were never in danger of losing their lead, Van Der Merwe finishing the Ospreys off with his second touchdown.