Planet Rugby

Saints stave off Ospreys

05th November 2009 23:30

Share:

CHris Mayor v Ospreys

Holding them off: Chris Mayor makes life tough for an Osprey

Northampton held off a superb fightback from a severely depleted Ospreys to open their LV= Cup campaign with a 19-17 victory.

Saints had held a 13-0 lead following a try from lock James Cannon plus two penalties and a conversion from fly-half Stephen Myler.

But tries from hooker Richard Hibbard and replacement Jonathan Spratt, plus seven points from the boot of stand-off Gareth Owen, brought the Welsh side back to take a 17-16 advantage.

But Myler knocked over another penalty 10 minutes from time to seal the win.

The Ospreys, without 29 players due to international call-ups and injuries, were forced into a late change as full-back Barry Davies withdrew with a back injury, Nicky Thomas taking over the number 15 jersey with Jonny Vaughton coming on to the right wing.

Kristian Phillips started on the other flank just days after signing a professional contract with the region.

Northampton showed nine changes from the side beaten at Leicester, including Ben Foden starting at full-back following his release from the England squad and Alan Dickens coming in at scrum-half to lead the side.

The hosts had the first chance to register points in the opening seconds but fly-half Owen, on his 21st birthday, was off target with his penalty attempt, and then followed that up by missing with a long-range effort in the eighth minute before opposite number Myler gave the Saints the lead after a strong Jon Clarke carry had forced a penalty.

Saints soon extended that lead when Foden collected a poor clearance kick to breeze round Vaughton before passing inside for lock Cannon to crash over in the corner, Myler adding the touchline conversion for a 10-0 advantage.

Myler then added his second penalty as the visitors took a stranglehold on the game as they forced several turnovers at rucks and denied the hosts quick front foot ball.

But the Welsh side finally enjoyed some continuity to give the sparse crowd something to cheer as the move ended with hooker Hibbard being the man to profit after a well controlled driving maul, Owen knocking over the extras to get the hosts back in the game as half-time approached.

The momentum generated by that score saw the Ospreys make an excellent start to the second half and, although Myler slotted another penalty, the hosts began to show the confidence to keep ball in hand and only a knock-on by Phillips prevented him from crossing under the posts after one such passage of play.

Northampton then saw prop Jon Vickers sin-binned for a culmination of several scrum offences and the extra space created by his absence saw the Ospreys finally make their pressure pay.

Full-back Thomas showed good hands to keep the move going and Jonathan Spratt was on hand to dive over, just moments after replacing Vaughton, after the rampaging Filo Tiatia was stopped just short, for a converted score.

Northampton were rocking at this point and Myler missed a penalty to add to their nerves before Owen stepped up to add a three-pointer of his own and give the Ospreys the lead for the first time.

But Myler slotted his fourth penalty with 10 minutes left and the hosts were unable to find a score to claim the win despite some fierce late pressure.

The scorers:

For the Ospreys:
Tries: Hibbard, Spratt
Cons: Owen 2
Pen: Owen

For Northampton:
Try: Cannon
Con: Myler
Pens: Myler 4

Ospreys: 15 Barry Davies, 14 Nicky Thomas, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Kristian Phillips, 10 Gareth Owen, 9 Liam Davies, 8 Tom Smith, 7 Steve Tandy, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Filo Tiatia, 4 Ian Gough (c), 3 Cai Griffiths, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Ed Shervington, 17 Ross Davies, 18 Will Taylor, 19 James King, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Rhodri Wells, 22 Jonathan Spratt, 23 Ashley Beck.

Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Jon Clarke, 11 Chris Mayor, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Alan Dickens (capt), 8 Mark Hopley, 7 Scott Gray, 6 Mark Easter, 5 Christian Day, 4 James Cannon, 3 Jon Vickers, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Regardt Dreyer.
Replacements: 16 Brett Sharman, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Adam Parkins, 19 Owen Giles, 20 James Ingle, 21 John Brake, 22 Barry Everitt, 23 Grant Pointer.

Referee: James Jones (Wales)
Assistant referees: Hugh Watkins (Wales), Huw Griffiths (Wales)
Assessor: David Herbert (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 5
Northampton vs Gloucester19:45
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 5
Ospreys vs Benetton Treviso19:35
Munster vs Edinburgh19:35
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
Racing Metro Paris vs Toulon20:45
Friday , September 5
Montpellier vs Castres20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , August 30
Eastern Province Kings vs Lions19:10
Friday , September 5
Western Province vs Eastern Province Kings19:10
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Sunday , August 31
Taranaki vs Bay Of Plenty14:35
Auckland vs TasmanAuckland vs Tasman Preview
Wednesday, September 3
Manawatu vs Bay Of Plenty19:35
Thursday , September 4
Otago vs Canterbury19:35
Friday , September 5
Tasman vs Waikato18:05
Northland vs Hawkes Bay20:05
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Top 14
Saturday , August 30
La Rochelle 37 - 25 ToulouseLa Rochelle vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 37 - 23 Bordeaux-Begles
Lyon 24 - 6 Brive
Castres 30 - 6 BayonneCastres vs Bayonne Report
Oyonnax 33 - 6 Stade Francais
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Griquas 25 - 36 CheetahsGriquas vs Cheetahs Report
Blue Bulls 18 - 23 Western ProvinceBlue Bulls vs Western Province Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Counties Manukau 21 - 27 Hawkes BayCounties Manukau vs Hawkes Bay Report
Southland 22 - 33 Otago
North Harbour 16 - 22 WaikatoNorth Harbour vs Waikato Report
More ITM Cup results
Top 14
Friday , August 29
Clermont Auvergne 20 - 21 MontpellierClermont Auvergne vs Montpellier Report
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Pumas 32 - 22 SharksPumas vs Sharks Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Wellington 21 - 27 ManawatuWellington vs Manawatu Report
Thursday , August 28
Canterbury 48 - 3 NorthlandCanterbury vs Northland Report
Wednesday, August 27
Waikato 17 - 46 TaranakiWaikato vs Taranaki Report
Sunday , August 24
Manawatu 7 - 35 AucklandManawatu vs Auckland Report
Bay Of Plenty 27 - 56 TasmanBay Of Plenty vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Rugby Championship
Saturday , August 23
New Zealand 51 - 20 AustraliaNew Zealand vs Australia Report
Argentina 31 - 33 South AfricaArgentina vs South Africa Report
More Rugby Championship results
Top 14
Brive 6 - 21 Clermont AuvergneBrive vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Bordeaux-Begles 30 - 21 Racing Metro Paris
Stade Francais 23 - 20 Lyon
Toulon 60 - 19 La Rochelle
Montpellier 20 - 17 GrenobleMontpellier vs Grenoble Report
Bayonne 38 - 12 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath00
2Exeter00
3Gloucester00
4Harlequins00
5Leicester Tigers00