AFTER a truly bonkers week in Welsh professional rugby it was fitting that the Ospreys and Dragons served up a madcap 11-try derby, alas without an upset to boot.

The hosts won 50-31 in Swansea to move a win away from snatching the Welsh shield away from the Scarlets in the United Rugby Championship, and more importantly earning Champions Cup rugby.

In many ways it was a case of beauty and the beast with the Dragons hitting the front with some daring rugby before being overpowered by the Ospreys’ tight game.

They ran out of steam and a tight contest – a Christmas cracker in a game that was meant to be played on Boxing Day – turned into a drubbing but they did get a well-deserved four-try bonus at the death.

It has been a turbulent week in Welsh rugby courtesy of the proposal to cull a region but thankfully the on-field stuff wasn’t as depressing in the Swansea sun.

South Wales Argus: Adam Warren goes over for the Dragons' secondAdam Warren goes over for the Dragons' second

The Dragons led 24-8 after 24 minutes of the first half thanks to tries by wing Jared Rosser, centre Adam Warren and tighthead Mesake Doge.

Suddenly the underdogs had a sniff of an upset to go with their triumphs at Connacht and the Scarlets, two magic moments in a horror campaign.

However, the Ospreys enjoyed a 29-24 advantage at the break and had their bonus point in the bag from efforts by loosehead Nicky Smith, number eight Morgan Morris (2) and scrum-half Reuben Morgan-Williams.

Morris barged over for his hat-trick – probably a combined distance three metres for his strong finishes – and he was followed over by Morgan-Williams and former Dragons hooker Sam Parry.

However, the visitors at least left with a consolation bonus after a dashing move was finished off by replacement scrum-half Lewis Jones.

It was another brutal scoreline but this was far more encouraging than the awful effort when edged out by the previously winless Zebre in Parma.

They have something to take into two massive games on home soil against Cardiff and the Lions; those fixtures certainly are not dead rubbers and the hope is that some of the big hitters will be back.

Wales forwards Elliot Dee, Leon Brown, Will Rowlands, Ross Moriarty and Aaron Wainwright were absent through injury along with in-form Jack Dixon.

For some of them, that was in part down to the six-day turnaround to Cardiff with director of rugby Dean Ryan hopeful of reinforcing his XV at Rodney Parade with a few first-choice players.

However, a change at 10 was his choice and Will Reed made an accomplished first start, taking his Premiership form with Newport onto a bigger stage.

The 20-year-old wasn’t just lively, on the whole he made good decisions to give himself a real shout at staying in the XV ahead of Sam Davies.

Reed helped the Dragons land a few blows but ultimately it was their discipline that once again let them down, allowing the hosts to get in the 22 and use their power advantage.

It has been a theme of the season and needs to be solved in the final fortnight in Newport.

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The Dragons conceded a penalty inside a minute to fall behind but then struck with a quickfire double, with Reed at the heart of it.

First slick handling led to Warren putting Rosser over in the sixth minute and the roles were soon reversed, the winger providing the assist after Reed spotted space behind for a grubber.

He converted both but it was 14-8 after 18 minutes after the Ospreys’ pack won a scrum penalty and went to the corner before Wales loosehead Smith went over from close range.

But the Dragons held their nerve and the Ospreys continued to play loosely – first Reed banged over another penalty and then converted after Doge was the beneficiary of barmy play by the hosts, who tried to play from their 22 after Ollie Griffiths had hacked through following a handling error.

The Dragons kept their composure for the Fijian prop to barge over; they led 24-8 with 24 minutes on the clock but it was too good to be true.

The Ospreys closed to within two points after once again making the most of penalties, firstly for number eight Morris to barge over and then for replacement scrum-half Morgan-Williams to cross thanks to a good supporting line from a Michael Collins line break.

The Dragons finished the half down to 14 men after a daft trip by Taine Basham and the Wales flanker’s moment of madness cost his team the lead.

The Ospreys kicked to the corner, hammered away with a direct approach and crossed for their bonus through number eight Morris.

Anscombe’s conversion earns a 29-24 advantage at the break then they stretched clear in the 54th minute after returning to their tight game for Morris to power over for his hat-trick.

It remained 36-24 going into the final quarter with Reed’s encouraging performance ended just past the hour.

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Davies came on and promptly gave away a penalty for a late tackle on Alex Cuthbert, whose aerial game was causing all manner of problems.

The Ospreys went to the corner, George North carried to within a yard and Morgan-Williams sniped over to make Anscombe’s conversion a simple one for 43-24.

They had their half century when turnover ball ended with Keelan Giles flying down the left and putting Parry over.

However, the Dragons at least left with something to show for their efforts when a lovely move ended with a Rio Dyer line break and Davies putting Lewis Jones under the posts.