Ospreys put the boot into Clermont

Sam Davies kicked a late penalty to deny Clermont a losing bonus point

Welsh side the Ospreys went to the top of Pool 2 in the European Rugby Champions Cup by beating Clermont 21-13 at the Liberty Stadium.

As Ospreys lead the Pool they now need to travel to Exeter Chiefs next week and only need a victory as Sam Davies late penalty denied Clermont a losing bonus point which is effectively an extra point for the Ospreys.

The Ospreys trailed 6-13 at half time and looked to be in trouble as the only team to have scored a try was Clermont and they were holding a seven point lead.

However the Ospreys found their game in the second half and whilst keeping Clermont scoreless they scored 15 points to take the lead and ultimately the result.

Replacement fly-half Sam Davies was the hero, kicking 15 second-half points to add to two Dan Biggar penalties as the hosts secured a famous triumph.

Clermont scored the only try of the game through centre Wesley Fofana, with scrum-half Morgan Parra adding eight points with the boot, but they will wonder how they let what looked a comfortable seven-point lead vanish in such spectacular fashion.

A win over Exeter next weekend will be enough to put the Ospreys in the last eight as pool winners, with Clermont only able to finish level on points with them and having taken five match points to the Welsh side’s six in their two meetings.

The Ospreys were protecting a proud Liberty Stadium record against French sides, with no team from across the Channel having won in 13 attempts at the Swansea venue.

But Clermont made the ideal start with a sixth minute try. Fly-half Camille Lopez made a lovely snaking break in the Ospreys 22 and Fofana was on hand to take the final pass and roll over the lines, with Parra converting.

The Ospreys replied with a Biggar penalty to settle them after a nervy start with their quarter-final hopes on the line, and the Wales fly-half was soon lining up another shot at goal after an unusual offence from Clermont flanker Viktor Kolelishvili.

The Georgian pushed referee Wayne Barnes as the official stood near the French side’s defensive line and earned himself a stern telling off from the Englishman.

Biggar knocked over the three points, only for Parra to immediately reply in kind after Eli Walker had tackled David Strettle in the air at the restart.

The hosts then had a big opportunity when Kolelishvili was binned after a confrontation with Alun Wyn Jones, but their decision to kick the penalty to the corner ended in disappointment as they were turned over.

To compound the missed chance Biggar then struck the post with one penalty, and then missed another on the stroke of half-time, while Parra kicked a penalty of his own.

The French scrum-half was off target early in the second half but it looked a long way back for the Ospreys when Biggar limped off to be replaced by Davies.

However, the youngster started the recovery with a penalty and then quickly added a well-taken drop goal to put the hosts back within a point.

Clermont began to feel the heat, and a break from skipper Jones forced Clermont to desperately infringe, with replacement hooker John Ulugia seeing yellow for straying offside.

Davies kept his nerve to put the hosts ahead for the first time and then added another penalty for good measure.

Clermont were clinging on for a bonus-point, but it slipped through their fingers as further ill-discipline allowed Davies to strike what may prove a critical blow.

Alun-Wyn Jones was named European Rugby Champions Cup man of the match.

Final Score Ospreys 21 (6) Clermont 13 (13)

Scorers

Ospreys
Tries –
Pen – Biggar (2), Davies (3)
Con –
Drop – Davies

Clermont
Tries – Fofana
Pen – Parra (2)
Con – Parra
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England),
Assistant ref: Luke Pearce (England),
Assistant ref: Peter Allan (England),
TMO: Sean Davey (England),
Citing Commissioner: Mike Rafter (England)

Teams

Ospreys: Daniel Evans; Hanno Dirksen, Jonathan Spratt, Josh Matavesi, Eli Walker; Dan Biggar, Brendon Leonard; Paul James, Scott Baldwin, Aaron Jarvis, Lloyd Ashley, Alun-Wyn Jones (c), Sam Underhill, Justin Tipuric, James King

Replacements: Sam Parry, Nicky Smith, Ma’afu Fia , Rory Thornton, Dan Baker, Thomas Habberfield, Sam Davies , Owen Watkin

ASM Clermont Auvergne: Scott Spedding; David Strettle, Jonathan Davies, Wesley Fofana, Noa Nakaitaci; Camille Lopez, Morgan Parra; Raphael Chaume, Benjamin Kayser, Daniel Kotze, Loic Jacquet, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Damien Chouly (c), Vito Kolelishvili, Fritz Lee

Replacements: John Ulugia, Vincent Debaty, Mickael Simutoga, Paul Jedrasiak, Camille Gerondeau, Ludovic Radosavljevic , Brock James, Albert Vulivuli.

With thanks to EPCRugby.

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