Pro14: Ospreys v ZebreOspreys (15) 22Tries: Giles 2, Fia Cons: Hook, S Davies Pens: HookZebre (3) 13Try: Canna Con: Canna Pens: Canna 2
Wing Keelan Giles’ brace of tries secured a nervous 22-13 win for the Ospreys over Zebre.
Giles, 19, started to repay Ospreys for his after five minutes before prop Ma’afu Fia wrapped up the first half with another.
Zebre enjoyed most of the second half territory and possession, with fly-half Carlo Canna crossing after 70 minutes.
Giles finished the second half as he started the first, scooping up a cross kick to score under the posts.
James Hook was making his first Ospreys appearance since May, 2011 and they also had British and Irish Lions flanker Justin Tipuric on duty.
However, three more 2017 Lions in New Zealand – Dan Biggar, Rhys Webb and Alun Wyn Jones – will not return until late September.
In their absence the hosts had the experience of veteran prop of 223 games – 14 years after he first played for Ospreys.
Centre Cory Allen made his first competitive start since joining from Cardiff Blues and Wales international fly-half Sam Davies came off the bench and converted Giles’ second try.
However, the hosts had to cope without centre Ben John after his yellow card for a dangerous tackle in the opening period.
Fia drove over from close range to give the hosts a two-score half-time advantage.
But after visiting lock George Biagi’s sin-binning for a neck roll, Ospreys also faltered when enjoying a one-man advantage.
Canna’s second penalty gave Zebre a boost and after Ciaran Gaffney’s break, the fly-half went over and then converted to leave his side trailing by two points.
Ospreys regained their composure as Giles raced on to Davies’ well-placed kick to score and hold off Zebre’s challenge.
‘We were really shoddy’ – Ospreys boss Tandy
Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy said: ‘There’s a hell of a lot of work to be done.
“The second half in particular I thought we were really shoddy. We didn’t respect the ball and they kept on coming at us.
“There was certainly a bit of panic in our system and we went off track and became too individual.
“We know we’ll be tested a hell of a lot harder against Glasgow and Munster and we’ll have to improve.”
Ospreys: Dan Evans; Keelan Giles, Ben John, Cory Allen, Jeff Hassler; James Hook, Tom Habberfield (capt); Paul James, Sam Parry, Ma’afu Fia, Bradley Davies, Rory Thornton, Olly Cracknell, Justin Tipuric, Dan Baker.
Replacements: Scott Otten, Nicky Smith, Rhodri Jones, Lloyd Ashley, James King, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Sam Davies, Kieron Fonotia.
Zebre: Matteo Minozzi; Giulio Bisegni, Mattia Bellini, Tommaso Castello (capt), Gabriele Di Giulio; Carlo Canna, Marcello Violi; Andrea Lovotti, Oliviero Fabiani, Dario Chistolini, David Sisi, George Biagi, Derick Minnie, Renato Giammarioli; Giovanni Licata.
Replacements: Tommaso D’Apice, Andrea De Marchi, Roberto Tenga, Leonard Krumov, Jacopo Sarto, Guglielmo Palazzani, Tommaso Boni, Ciaran Gaffney
Referee: Quinten Immelman (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Stuart Berry (South Africa), Robert Price (Wales)