Northampton leave Ospreys pointless in Europe

Former Heineken Cup champions Northampton Saints bounced back from their defeat last week to Castres by beating the Ospreys 27-16 at Franklin’s Gardens.

The Saints – European champions in 2000 and finalists in 2011 – moved to within a point of three-time winners Leinster, who beat Castres on Saturday, and whom they will face in a double header when the competition resumes in December.

Defeat for Welsh outfit Ospreys leaves them pointless after two games and struggling to reach the quarter-finals despite a side possessing the talents of Wales stars George North, Alun-Wyn Jones and Dan Biggar.

It was fly-half Biggar who got Ospreys back into the match early in the second-half scoring a try which he converted to leave them trailing only 17-14.

However, the hosts replied with a try of their own – their second of the game after lock Christian Day had scored in the first-half – through England fullback Ben Foden, he was at the end of a move which saw Lee Dickson provide the decisive pass for his 14th try in the competition.

Stephen Myler converted for 24-16 and both he and Biggar exchanged penalties, although Saints may come to rue not grabbing a bonus point as Dan Pisi was held up yards short of the line.

Man of the match Courtney Lawes said that they had been highly-motivated to get a win on the board after the opening loss to Castres.

“The boys came out with a great attitude and we replicated that in the way we played,” he said.

“Twenty tackles from me I’ll take that! Just happens a lot of people ran into me!”

Ospreys captain Alun-Wyn Jones said his side had improved on their performance from the opening home defeat against Leinster.

“This week it was a case of a little chat and more work,” he said.

“The result didn’t go our way but I’m proud of the guys.

“We have to be candid and admit there is a mountain to climb to qualify but we won’t give up.”

Final Score Northampton (17) 27 Ospreys (6) 16

Scorers

Northampton
Tries: Manoa, Day, Foden
Cons: Myler 3
Pen: Myler 2

Ospreys
Tries: Biggar
Cons: Biggar
Pens: Biggar

Match Officials
Referee:
Alain Rolland (Ireland), Assistant ref: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland), Assistant ref: Jonathan Peak (Ireland), TMO: Simon McDowell (Ireland), Citing Commissioner: Eddie Walsh (Ireland)

Northampton Saints: Ben Foden; Jamie Elliott, George Pisi, Luther Burrell, George North; Steve Myler, Lee Dickson; Alex Waller, Dylan Hartley (c), Salesi Ma’afu, Courtney Lawes, Christian Day, Tom Wood, Phil Dowson, Samu Manoa

Replacements: Mikey Haywood, Ethan Waller, Gareth Denman, Gerrit-Jan van Velze, Calum Clark, Kahn Fotuali’i, James Wilson, Ken Pisi

Ospreys: Richard Fussell; Jeff Hassler, Andrew Bishop, Ashley Beck, Eli Walker; Dan Biggar, Thomas Habberfield; Ryan Bevington, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Alun Wyn Jones (c), James King, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Joe Bearman

Replacements: Scott Baldwin, Duncan Jones, Aaron Jarvis, Tyler Ardron, Morgan Allen, Sam Lewis, Tito Tebaldi, Matthew Morgan

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