New Welsh hero Shane Williams was forced to play second fiddle to Irish genius Brian O’Driscoll as Leinster humbled the home side by six tries to one at the Gnoll.
O’Driscoll and winger Gordon D’Arcy scored try braces as the visiting backs ran riot. Only the boot of Ospreys fullback Gavin Henson and a consolation try to hard-working hooker Huw Bennett prevented the home side getting slaughtered on their home ground.
Henson’s boot gave the home side a 9-7 lead at the break when a brilliant 70-metre touch-finder set up fly-half Shaun Connor for a dropped goal.
Henson added two penalty goals – including one from the halfway line – to cancel out O’Driscoll’s first try.
The lead changed five times before the brilliance of O’Driscoll and the power of backrowers Keith Gleeson and Victor Costello began to tell on the Ospreys’ defence.
The home side were rocked in the opening minutes of the second half when visiting prop Peter Coyle broke clear from a maul and charged downfield. Quick ball was sent out to the left, where D’Arcy provided the extra man to go over in the corner.
Ospreys coach Lyn Jones sent club captain Scott Gibbs on, but the veteran centre had a game to forget. Leinster’s Australian centre Christian Warner ran through a huge midfield hole to score a brilliant individual try in the corner.
Henson turned it to a one-point game with his fifth penalty goal, but the Lions extended their lead when big winger John McWeeney took advantage of a clever O’Driscoll miss-out pass to dive over from close range.
Leinster’s Argentian fly-half Felipe Contepomi broke clear from inside his own quarter up to the Ospreys’ 22m line, but his inside pass found only home lock Andy Newman.
The Irish side won the ball back from the ensuing lineout and O’Driscoll sealed matters with a try right out of the top drawer as he again made Gibbs look second-rate with a simple hand-off.
It was Warner’s turn to cut through next, and he drew the last man before giving D’Arcy his second try as the Ospreys’ defence started to look ridiculous.
Shane Williams was time and again the Ospreys’ most dangerous player, and his quick penalty tap in the 79th minute gave Bennett a consolation try.