Ospreys knock Leicester Tigers out of Europe

The Ospreys defeated Leicester Tigers 17-12 at the Liberty Stadium in the Heineken Cup on Saturday afternoon knocking Leicester Tigers out of the tournament and sealing the Ospreys place in the quarter finals.

 

The one try of the match came from Ospreys’ Irish winger Tommy Bowe, who touched down for his seventh try of the pool phase to become just the second player after Argentine Felipe Contepomi to score tries in every first stage match of the tournament.

 

Ospreys, winning their 13th successive home match in the competition, are guaranteed to take one of the two best runners-up spots. London Irish or Northampton will take the other one, after French side

 

Clermont topped their pool by crushing Italian whipping boys Viadana 59-20.

 

Clermont and Ospreys joined three-time winners Toulouse, Biarritz and two-time champions Munster in the last eight, the Irish province having ensured a remarkable 12th successive appearance in the quarter-finals with a 12-9 win over 2000 champions Northampton on Friday.

 

Ospreys and Leicester traded blows and points from the opening quarter in an enthralling and open game.

 

Tigers took the lead three times through two penalties by Toby Flood and a superb drop goal by Irish centre Jeremy Staunton, only for Ospreys’ Welsh international fly-half Dan Biggar to level on all three occasions with successful penalties.

 

The Tigers, though, were threatening to score a try but on each occasion either chose the wrong option or were thwarted, such as when Wales full-back Lee Byrne intercepted scrum-half Ben Young’s pass on the 22.

 

Instead it was the hosts who grabbed the try, which originally stemmed from a rampaging run by former All Black great Jerry Collins, with James Hook delivering a beautifully weighted grubber kick that bounced up perfectly for Bowe, who touched down. Biggar failed with the subsequent conversion.

 

Ospreys came out all fired up in the second half but Biggar was unsuccessful first with a penalty and then a drop goal; both from distance but in front of the posts.

 

Ospreys were so dominant that they had the ball inside their opponents’ half for 78 percent of the second period’s opening 10 minutes, but it was the Tigers who put points on the board when Flood landed his third penalty to leave the Ospreys 14-12 to the good.

 

The Welsh side, though, made it 17-12 in the 56th minute when Biggar slotted over a penalty.

 

However, the young fly-half was removed by Ospreys Australian coach Scott Johnson for the final 10 minutes as the clash became increasingly nervy and pressurised, with James Hook moving to fly-half and the experienced Sonny Parker coming on in the centre.

 

The Tigers poured on the pressure in search of the try they needed to get the win but sterling defence by the hosts denied them time and again.

 

The visitors’ last effort culminated in an enormous amount of sustained pressure from Leicester Tigers and they looked to have finally broken through the defence but the pass to Aaron Mauger was too long and he had to reach too far foward and the ball was knocked on.

 

Leicester’s Heineken Cup campaign ended there.

 

The Ospreys may have a problem though as they played for just over a minute as Leicester were on attack with 16 men on the field and the Tigers have lodged an official appeal.

 

Man of the match Ospreys flanker Marty Holah said that the difference from previous matches was their tactical kicking, and he believed that they could reach the semi-finals for the first tim

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