Biggar puts the boot into Castres
Biggar puts the boot into CastresSHARE
Ospreys dealt Castres a blow as they claimed the first win of their European Cup campaign, a 21-12 victory, over the French champions on Friday.
In Friday’s other fixture, Cardiff Blues produced another improbable success as they held on for a 9-7 win over Glasgow Warriors.
We look at Friday's fixtures and scorers:
Ospreys 21-12 Castres
Dan Biggar won the battle of the boots to kick the Ospreys to their first win of this season's tournament.
Catres, 15-9 winners at Stade Pierre Antoine last weekend, kept in touch for most of a lack-lustre Pool One contest through the goal-kicking of Rory Kockott but ultimately went down 12-21 in a second defeat in a group dominated by former champions Leinster.
The Ospreys were largely playing for pride in front of their home fans and in the end Castres' poor record on the road – this was their 14th defeat in their last 15 away tournament matches – played a part in the Ospreys notching up another Liberty Stadium success.
Only Leinster and Saracens have won at the Liberty in the last eight seasons of European action and Toulouse are sill the only French side to win at the ground after this stop-start affair.
The Ospreys suffered a pre-match blow with the late withdrawal of lock Ian Evans – Canadian international Tyler Ardron coming into the starting line-up – and they went behind to a fifth minute penalty by Kockott.
The home side responded by battering at the Castres try-line but had to settle for the first of seven Biggar penalties to initially level matters and then a similar strike to edge them in front after 12 minutes.
Both sides were willing to run the ball but the battle of the boots continued with Kockott matching Biggar strike for strike.
Castres were virtually living off scraps with the young Ospreys backs desperate to move the big French forwards around the pitch and their pack was weakened when Scottish international Richie Gray was forced off shortly after Biggar had restored the Ospreys' lead with his third penalty.
More woe for the reigning French champions came in the shape of captain and flyhalf Remi Tales being yellow carded by English referee Luke Pearce and Biggar promptly on target to punish them further with a fourth success with the boot.
But Kockott hit back with two penalties of his own for it to revert back to deadlock at the break – despite plenty of positive intent from the Ospreys in particular.
However, it was the reliable boot of Biggar that edged them in front for the fourth time with his fifth penalty soon after the restart, an advantage they held when Tales sent a drop-goal attempt wide.
It all became a bit stop-start with openings and chances with the ball in hand few and far between and the boot dominating – as it had done from start to finish.
Pens: Biggar 7
Pens: Kockott 4
Yellow card: Remi Tales (Castres, 26)
Ospreys: 15 Sam Davies, 14 Aisea Natoga, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Ben John, 11 Jeff Hassler, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Rhys Webb, 8 Ryan Jones (captain), 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sam Lewis, 5 James King, 4 Tyler Ardron, 3 Aaron Jarvis, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Marc Thomas, 18 Dan Suter, 19 Morgan Allen, 20 Sam Williams, 21 Tom Habberfield, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Tom Grabham.
Castres: 15 Geoffrey Palis, 14 Marcel Garvey, 13 Remi Lamerat, 12 Paul Bonnefond, 11 Remi Grosso, 10 Remi Tales (captain), 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Antonie Claassen 7 Yannick Caballero, 6 Jannie Bornman, 5 Rodrigo Capo Ortega, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Anton Peikrishvili, 2 Marc-Antoine Rallier, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Brice Mach, 17 Saimone Taumoepeau, 18 Michael Coetzee, 19 Christophe Samson, 20 Ibrahim Diarra, 21 Julien Tomas, 22 Daniel Kirkpatrick, 23 Max Evans.
Referee: Luke Pearce (England)
Assistant referees: Dean Richards (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)
Glasgow Warriors 7-9 Cardiff Blues
Cardiff Blues took top spot in Pool Two with a second straight win over Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun.
The Welsh side edged a tense encounter 9-7 as they backed up last week's 29-20 success at the Arms Park to make it three wins in four in Europe.
They now sit three points clear of European Cup holders Toulon ahead of the French side's home tie with Exeter Chiefs at the Stade Felix Mayol on Saturday.
A huge 62-metre early penalty from Rhys Patchell and another in either half from Leigh Halfpenny gave the Blues a deserved win against a Glasgow side who struggled to build any momentum throughout.
A late converted try from prop Ryan Grant gave the home team hope with nine minutes left but Duncan Weir missed a chance to win it for the Warriors when he pushed a long-range penalty wide of the posts with a minute-and-a-half remaining.
With the Blues starting with a substantial breeze behind them, Patchell took advantage by landing one of the longest kicks in living memory with five minutes on the clock.
The youngster, who was switched from flyhalf to centre due to his side's mounting injury crisis, hit the target from the wrong side of his own 10-metre line to evoke memories of fellow Welshman Paul Thorburn's monster effort against Scotland in Cardiff back in 1986.
Halfpenny surprisingly missed a relatively straightforward shot at goal with 15 minutes played but he made amends with a more taxing effort to put the Blues 6-0 up with 22 minutes gone.
Glasgow seemed set to claim the game's opening try four minutes later but Scotland and British and Irish Lions wing Sean Maitland knocked on following Stuart Hogg's pass with the line at his mercy.
The Blues scrum had been under pressure throughout despite the six-point lead and it almost cost them dear when they repeatedly struggled at a set-piece close to their own line.
Skipper Sam Hobbs was yellow carded for a scrum offence with 31 minutes on the clock but the ball popped loose when the Warriors drove towards the try-line just as referee Pascal Gauzere was losing patience.
Glasgow thought they had grabbed a try just moments later, though, when scrumhalf Nikola Matawalu dived over close to the posts.
Most of the Scotstoun crowd were on their feet celebrating but the TMO dampened the mood by penalising Rob Harley for obstruction as he cleared out Patchell past the ruck and left space for Matawalu as a result.
The Blues led 6-0 at the break and neither side came close to changing that scoreline until Ruaridh Jackson hooked a 45-metre penalty attempt wide of the left post as the wind played havoc with the flight of the ball after 58 minutes.
Halfpenny showed him how it should be done six minutes later as he pushed the Blues two tries clear, but the Warriors dug deep and Chris Cusiter's inside pass put Grant over to raise hopes of a comeback.
Weir slotted the simple extras but he couldn't quite become the hero late on as his 78th minute penalty didn't even come close to keeping Glasgow's European Cup hopes alive.
For Glasgow Warriors:
For Cardiff Blues:
Pens: Patchell, Halfpenny 2
Yellow card: Sam Hobbs (Cardiff Blues, 31)
Glasgow Warriors: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Byron McGuigan, 12 Alex Dunbar, 11 Tommy Seymour, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 Ryan Wilson, 7 Tyrone Holmes, 6 Rob Harley, 5 Al Kellock (captain), 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 Pat MacArthur, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Jerry Yanuyanutawa, 18 Ed Kalman, 19 Josh Strauss, 20 Chris Fusaro, 21 Chris Cusiter, 22 Duncan Weir, 23 DTH van der Merwe.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Richard Smith, 12 Rhys Patchell, 11 Harry Robinson, 10 Gareth Davies, 9 Lloyd Williams, 8 Robin Copeland, 7 Rory Watts-Jones, 6 Macauley Cook, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Chris Dicomidis, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Sam Hobbs (captain).
Replacements: 16 Marc Breeze, 17 Thomas Davies, 18 Benoit Bourrust, 19 James Down, 20 Ellis Jenkins, 21 Andries Pretorius, 22 Lewis Jones, 23 Dan Fish.
Referee: Pascal Gauzère (France)
Assistant referees: Laurent Cardona (France), Jean-Luc Rebollal (France)
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France)