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Ospreys 13 Northampton Saints 26: Saints rain in Bridgend for opening preseason win

Saints started their preparations for the 2018/19 season in solid style, chalking up four tries against Ospreys amidst torrid downpours in South Wales.

Following a summer’s preparation in the UK heatwave, wet conditions underfoot and with the ball in hand would have seemed alien to both sides, but it was the visitors who took the game by the scruff of the neck with attacking ambition and some tidy handling in the first half.

Ollie Sleightholme, David Ribbans and James Fish scored the tries and with Api Ratuniyarawa adding a fourth after the break, Matthew Aubrey’s effort on the final whistle proved the only blot on the copybook. 

Sam Davies had drilled the home side into the lead with a pair of mid-range penalties but with Saints, in their striking outgoing lime shirts, coming slowly to the fore, a moment of brilliance from Sleightholme splintered an eager looking Ospreys line.

The young winger danced through and scythed past the covering full back for a thrilling score and was soon followed over by a pair of well worked tries from the forwards as some smart play yielded territorial dominance.

That took Saints into the half 21-6 up and while Ratuniyarawa barged over from short range to extend the lead shortly after the resumption, an increase in intensity from the rain made things all the more difficult in open play.

So it was no surprise that, after 28 scoreless minutes, the next try came from a driving maul. This time it was the hosts getting their drive on, drilling open space for Matthew Aubrey to pounce and round off the scoring.

The win was Saints’, though, and watching on at his first game Chris Boyd would have been pleased to see 34 players earn valuable game time.

Among that number were seven new faces – including Dan Biggar and James Haskell - pulling on the BG&G for the first time ahead of a week-long training camp in Wales, culminating in the game against Dragons next Friday.

For the full line-ups and minute-by-minute commentary from the game in Bridgend, CLICK HERE to visit our new-look matchday live!

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