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Big wins for Ospreys and Newport as Scarlets fall to defeat

It was a mixed day for Welsh regions in the PRO12 yesterday, with Newport Gwent Dragons and Ospreys picking up big wins, but Scarlets going down 26-15 at home to Edinburgh.

Tom Prydie put in a man of the match performance for Newport. Credit: PA

The Dragons moved ahead of south Wales rivals Cardiff into ninth place in the table courtesy of a 32-17 bonus-point victory against fellow strugglers Treviso yesterday.

Newport were worthy winners in northern Italy and gained maximum points thanks to a late brace of tries from Tom Prydie, after earlier touchdowns from Jonathan Evans and Hallam Amos.

Prydie capped off a man-of-the-match display with three conversions and two penalties for a match haul of 22 points.

Sam Davies contributed 16 points with the boot for Ospreys. Credit: PA

Meanwhile at the Liberty Stadium Number eight Dan Baker crossed for two tries as the Ospreys cruised back into the top four with a 53-22 bonus-point victory over bottom team Zebre.

In all Ospreys scored seven tries through Baker (two), Josh Matavesi, Scott Baldwin, Rhys Webb, a penalty try and Hanno Dirksen, while Sam Davies contributed 16 points with the boot.

The Zebre tries came from Dion Berryman, Giulio Toniolatti and Alberto Chillon, with Gonzalo Garcia supplying a penalty and Mirco Bergamasco kicking two conversions.

The Ospreys' 12th victory leaves the region in fourth place, four points ahead of Leinster in fifth.

Gareth Davies was sent off in a disappointing day for Scarlets. Credit: PA

Elsewhere Scarlets replacement scrum-half Gareth Davies was sent off as Edinburgh earned a 26-15 victory at Parc y Scarlets.

Davies, who came on in Wales' Six Nations win in Italy last weekend, saw red from referee John Lacey on 60 minutes for a head butt on Andries Strauss, an incident which was reviewed by TV match official Derek Bevan.

Edinburgh's victory came thanks to tries for Phil Burleigh and Dave Denton with man of the match Sam Hidalgo-Clyne kicking 16 points. All of Scarlets' points came from Steve Shingler's five first-half penalties.

It was Edinburgh's first win over the Scarlets for three years - a run of 13 matches - and moved them above the Welsh region to seventh in the overall standings.

Williams focused on Israel win as skipper reaches milestone

Wales captain Ashley Williams has said he has given little thought to winning his 50th cap this afternoon - with picking up Euro 2016 qualifying points the only thing on his mind.

Williams in training for Wales ahead of the Israel clash. Credit: PA

The 30-year-old centre back reaches the half century mark after making his debut in a 2-0 win over Luxembourg in 2008.

Since then Williams has become an established Premier League defender at Swansea and Wales, now under the guidance of Chris Coleman, are hoping o the European Championship finals in France next year after making an unbeaten start to their qualifying campaign

That run will be tested against Group B leaders Israel on Saturday but Williams insists Wales are ready for the challenge on a night when he reaches his own personal milestone.

"I am obviously aware it is my 50th (cap) but I will enjoy it after the game. This is one of the biggest games for me, alongside my debut and getting the captaincy for the first time, but that is something for after the game. I've just been concentrating on the game and getting the job done. That's been my focus and motivation this week and the whole squad is relaxed because we have confidence in what we are doing."

– Ashley Williams, Wales captain
Williams has been in good form for Swansea in recent weeks. Credit: PA

Williams will come up against one of the form strikers in Euro 2016 qualifying at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa.

Omer Damari has five goals in qualifying so far and shares the honour of being joint top-scorer in qualifying with England striker Danny Welbeck.

"They are clever and sharp players and they have got goals in this campaign. I know my unit has to be tight and we will need to be resolute and stick to the task, but we are right up for it. We are expecting a hostile atmosphere but I would rather that than playing somewhere half-empty. There is nothing better when it is hostile because those are the nights you remember."

– Ashley Williams, Wales captain

Wales' qualification hopes were buoyed by picking up a point away to group favourites Belgium in November.

It means they have eight points after four games, one shy of Israel who have won their three matches and play Belgium at home on Tuesday, and Williams admits Wales have to keep picking up points on the road.

"It will be difficult but we do need to get points away from home, it is not enough to win at home. We have gone into every game looking for the win and this will be no different."

– Ashley Williams, Wales captain


Ospreys announce signing of Welsh international Delve

Wales international back-row forward Gareth Delve has signed for the Ospreys and will move to the region this summer.

It will be the 32-year-old's first professional contract in Wales, having previously played for Bath, Gloucester and Super Rugby side the Melbourne Rebels in Australia.

Delve's move to the Ospreys is his first professional contract in Wales. Credit: PA

The Ospreys announced that Cardiff-born Delve, who won the last of his 11 Wales caps against Italy during the 2010 Six Nations Championship, has agreed a two-year deal.

"I am lucky to have played in some great places, and I've travelled the world, but this opportunity to play in Wales was too good to say no to. Of all the potential moves I could have made at this point of my career, this was the one that really excited me."

– Gareth Delve


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