Things had started brightly for the Ospreys after a neat chip kick from Reuben Morgan-Williams into the corner found the run of winger Mat Protheroe to score the game’s opening try in the first few minutes of the contest.
The contest then would move into the ascendancy of the home side with Protheroe turning from hero to villain, seeing red for a high challenge on Dragon’s Will Reed as the fly-half claimed a high kick mid-way through the first period.
The Dragons would not look back against the 14 men of the Ospreys who would struggle against their rivals who had come into the contest without a win in over a year in front of their home support.
Former Osprey full back Cai Evans would keep the scoreboard ticking moving the Gwent region into the lead with a series of penalties before things went from bad to worse with captain Justin Tipuric forced off with a hand injury.
The injury saw the return of Welsh captain Jac Morgan on as a replacement, but even he could not influence a contest that the Dragons took by the scruff of the neck to score their first try minutes before the interval through hooker Bradley Roberts.
The second-half brought more misery for Booth’s side with Luke Morgan sent to the sin bin after a yellow card had been issued for a tip-tackle on Wales wing Rio Dyer.
Down to 13, and with gaps to be exploited, Dyer then took advantage of the space to add gloss to the scoreline that would inflict the Ospreys with back-to-back losses.
“The start was really positive and as we wanted it to be by scoring first and gaining territory,” said Booth.
“We need to be more accurate, that was the disappointing thing. It wasn’t the lack of effort. That is the challenge of a young group that has only just been put together to grow and with all the internationals returning that’s what we have to do.
“With 13 it is difficult and that happened last time here. The overriding sentence is our boys will always work hard but the numerical advantage makes it difficult. The statistics will tell you that, especially in a derby.
“When that happens, it is a bit damage limitation. Ironically, we were still in the contest for a considerable amount of time after the red card. When it goes to 13, it becomes much more difficult.”
After the game Booth confirmed captain Justin Tipuric had suffered a broken thumb which is likely to keep the Ospreys captain missing from several matches.
“Justin doesn’t look good. It is his thumb. He is the iconic leader of this group and will be a big loss. It provides though an opportunity for other people to step up,” continued Booth.
“It was good to see Jac Morgan back out there he was visible, and Morgan Morris is stepping up as a leader too. He is stepping up as a leader, so it provides an opportunity.
“We have to get going again now for another Welsh derby. You don’t want to lose and want to put it right as soon as you can. Nothing will get us more excited now than playing the Scarlets for sure, so it might come at a good time for us.
“It’s ancient history now, we need to learn our lessons quickly. Young players take a bit of time to learn, but we can’t wait around and will be up for the Scarlets. They’ve rested a load of players at Leinster, now that is going to be a great challenge for us.”
[Lead image: Ospreys Rugby]
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