Northampton Saints are still alive in Pool 1 of the Heineken Cup after defeating the Ospreys 29-17 at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday.
Northampton are still alive in Pool 1 of the Heineken Cup after beating the Ospreys 29-17 at the Liberty Stadium.
Both sides headed into the game in strong form. Ospreys had narrowly seen off Scarlets a week earlier, while the Saints were comfortable winners over Harlequins. The win keeps Northampton's Heineken Cup hopes alive, but they were made to work hard throughout the game.
There was little in the way of try-scoring opportunities in the first half, as the two sides exchanged penalty goals in an even opening 40 minutes. Stephen Myler showed good form with the boot to kick four three-pointers for Northampton, but Dan Biggar kept the hosts in touch with one of his own.
The first try was scored almost immediately after the restart, with George North galloping away down the left to give Saints a cushion, though Myler was wide with the conversion.
Many expected Northampton to run away with the contest, but they were unable to strike the killer blow in the minutes that followed. And Ospreys ensured a nervy finish with two tries of their own in the final quarter of the match. Rhys Webb crossed on 63 minutes and Alun-Wyn Jones added a second try on 74, and both tries were converted by Biggar, but fortunately for the visiting fans, Jones' try was sandwiched between two more tries scored by Northampton.
George Pisi crossed for a deserved score on 71 minutes to put Saints in the clear, and Glenn Dickson's effort near the end sealed the win.
Tries: Webb, AW Jones
Con: Biggar 2
Tries: North, Pisi, Dickson
Pen: Myler 4
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Ashley Beck, 11 Aisea Natoga, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Lewis, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun Wyn Jones (capt), 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Adam Jones, 19 James King, 20 Morgan Allen, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Sam Davies, 23 Jonathan Spratt.
Northampton: 15 Tom Collins, 14 Jamie Elliott, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Steve Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Calum Clark, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mikey Haywood, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Tom Mercey, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Glenn Dickson, 23 Fa'atoina Autagavaia.
Referee: Pascal GauzÃ¨re (France)
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
Television match official: Gilles Cogne (France)