Ospreys fight back to halt Toulon

22nd Jan 2011, 17:36

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Bright start: Toulon

Bright start: Toulon

The wounded Ospreys came from 3-14 down to record a morale-boosting 29-17 Heineken Cup victory over Toulon at Liberty Stadium.

The wounded Ospreys came from 3-14 down to record a confidence-boosting 29-17 Heineken Cup win over Toulon at Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

It was quite a turnaround for the Welsh, which was made even more impressive as they went into this one nursing a hangover from last week's loss to London Irish. Pride was on the line.

There was also the matter of attempting to secure a spot in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals but with others looking in a stronger position, their European season could well be over.

Scott Johnson will have been encouraged by his side's response to their Round Five defeat at Madejski Stadium, and also the return to action from injury of Shane Williams. His emergence from the bench in the second-half lifted both crowd and players while the shift of James Hook from 12 to 10 also contributed to the win.

Hook will be sorely missed in Swansea next season and was right on the money with his kicking from the tee when Dan Biggar came off. But it was Williams' assist for wing Nikki Walker that arguably sealed it for the Ospreys as the Welsh wizard drifted across the field before switching back inside to the scoring Scot.

Alun-Wyn Jones added the gloss to proceedings with a try late on as fly-half Jonny Wilkinson could only sit and watch after being wrapped in cotton wool just before the hour mark. Toulon's scores came via Rory Lamont and captain-for-the-day Matt Henjak.

Toulon must now wait to see where they must go for what could be the tie of the last eight.

The scorers:

For Ospreys:
Tries: Walker, AW Jones
Con: Hook 2
Pen: Biggar 4, Hook

For Toulon:
Tries: Lamont, Henjak
Con: Wilkinson 2
Pen: Wilkinson

Ospreys: 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Sonny Parker, 12 James Hook, 11 Richard Fussell, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Jonathan Thomas, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Craig Mitchell, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Duncan Jones.
Replacements: 16 Huw Bennett, 17 Ryan Bevington, 18 Cai Griffiths, 19 Jerry Collins, 20 Marty Holah, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Ashley Beck, 23 Shane Williams.

Toulon: 15 Rory Lamont, 14 Benjamin Lapeyre, 13 Geoffroy Messina, 12 Mafi Kefu, 11 Thierry Brana, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Matt Henjak (c), 8 Fotu Auelua, 7 Thomas Sourice, 6 Olivier Missoup, 5 Dewald Senekal, 4 Jocelino Suta, 3 Carl Hayman, 2 Jean-Philippe Genevois, 1 Saimone Taumoepeau.
Replacements: 16 Mickael Ivaldi, 17 Benjamin Basteres, 18 Mehdi Merabet, 19 Joe van Niekerk, 20 Joe El Abd, 21 Tom May, 22 Laurent Magnaval, 23 Kris Chesney.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: Rob Debney (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
Television match official: David Matthews (England)
Assessor: Bertie Smith (Ireland)