Tigers draw spells end for Ospreys
Tigers draw spells end for OspreysSHARE
Ospreys fought back to selvage a 15-all draw with Leicester Tigers at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday but were nevertheless knocked out of play-off contention.
Flyhalf Dan Biggar had a late chance to kick the Ospreys into the lead but he was unsuccessful with his effort.
Also on Sunday, Toulouse claimed maximum points in their 25-14 win over Treviso to set up a winner-takes-all showdown against Leicester Tigers next weekend while two-time champions Munster kept their hopes of reaching the quarterfinals alive with an unimpressive 26-17 win over Edinburgh.
We look at all Sunday's action!
Ospreys 15-15 Leicester Tigers
Leicester Tigers kept their European Cup hopes alive with a hard-fought 15-15 draw at the Liberty Stadium – but the staemate knocked the Ospreys out and with them the last hope of Welsh interest in the knockout stages.
The English club appeared on course to clinch four points after staging a second-half comeback with tries from Niall Morris and Ben Youngs.
But the Ospreys, who had led for much of the game thanks to Joe Bearman's score, had other ideas and they salvaged a share of the points as Jonathan Spratt dived over at the death.
The draw sees the Ospreys bow out of Europe while next week's clash between Leicester and Toulouse will decide the outcome of Pool Two.
Following a lively start, the Ospreys had the opportunity to open the scoring on nine minutes, after winning a penalty at the first scrum of the match, but Biggar struck the left upright.
The Ospreys flyhalf was agonisingly off-target twice more before kicking the scoreboard into action on 28 minutes, following a sustained period of pressure.
Tandy's men continued to turn the screw and they stretched their lead to 10-points shortly after the hour mark as Bearman cantered over.
Kahn Fotuali'i and Justin Tipuric combined to create the opening and the flank found Ryan Bevington on the left.
The dynamic prop was unable to feed Richard Fussell but the ball was moved inside for Bearman to charge over.
Biggar added the extras before Flood responded with the Tigers' first points to bring the score to 10-3 at the interval.
Both teams threatened in a fiercely competitive return to play and the Ospreys almost added a second try.
Richard Fussell danced his way out of danger and launched a counter-attack. He combined with Eli Walker, who chipped through and outpaced Niall Morris but was beaten by the bounce of the ball.
Following a scoreless 27 minutes the Tigers hit back to level the scores. Toby Flood laid the foundations and Youngs sniped over from the base of the ruck.
Flood slotted the conversion to level the scores and within five minutes the visitors surged in front.
The Ospreys held their own at the scrum but the pressure eventually told and Morris dived over in the corner.
Flood missed the ensuing conversion but the try had handed the visitors a five-point lead with seven minutes to spare.
But the thrilling encounter was far from over and an electric break from Walker handed the Ospreys a lifeline.
The red-hot wing failed to find support but the ball was quickly recycled and Fotuali'i sent Spratt diving over.
Biggar had the chance to boot the Ospreys into the lead but he pushed his effort narrowly wide as the two sides settled for a draw.
Tries: Bearman, Spratt
For Leicester Tigers:
Tries: Youngs, Morris
Ospreys: 15 Richard Fussell, 14 Ross Jones, 13 Tom Isaacs, 12 Andrew Bishop, 11 Eli Walker, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i (captain), 8 Joe Bearman, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Ryan Jones, 5 James King, 4 Ian Gough, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Bevington.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Duncan Jones, 18 Campbell Johnstone, 19 Lloyd Peers, 20 Sam Lewis/Jonathan Thomas, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Matthew Morgan, 23 Jonathan Spratt.
Leicester Tigers: 15 Mathew Tait, 14 Niall Morris, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Adam Thompstone, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon (captain), 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Logovi'i Mulipola, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Thomas Waldrom, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.
Referee: John Lacey (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Sean Gallagher (Ireland), Kevin Beggs (Ireland)
TMO: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)
Edinburgh 17-26 Munster
Munster kept their European Cup quarterfinal hopes alive with a 26-17 victory over Edinburgh at Murrayfield but failed to get the vital bonus point which would have really kept the pressure on pool leaders Saracens.
Munster are now in a straight dogfight with the English side for qualification but the Irish province could still qualify as one of the pool runners-up for the knockout stages.
Munster, who won this tournament in 2006 and 2008, had the boot of flyhalf Ronan O'Gara to thank for narrow 12-3 lead at half-time against a stubborn Edinburgh side in the Scottish capital.
The veteran Ireland flyhalf landed four penalties in the first half, while his opposite number Greig Laidlaw, the Scotland flyhalf, slotted a solitary penalty for the home side.
Edinburgh's Laidlaw and Munster prop Dave Kilcoyne both found themselves yellow carded for professional fouls, leaving both sides with 14-men at the start of the second half.
Munster took full advantage and were awarded a penalty try at a five metre scrum in the shadow of the home side's posts, which O'Gara converted, to make it 19-3 to the Irish province.
Scrumhalf Connor Murray then barged his way over from a line-out for the visitors second try before wing Dougie Fife crossed for Edinburgh's first two tries in this season's European campaign. It had taken 392 minutes for them to cross the opposition line this tournament and then Fife did it twice in as many minutes
Munster, who host Racing Metro at Thomond Park in their final pool game, have only failed to reach the last eight of European rugby's premier tournament once in the last 14 seasons and that was in 2011.
Tries: Fife 2
Cons: Laidlaw 2
Tries: Penalty, Murray
Cons: O'Gara 2
Pens: O'Gara 4
Yellow cards: David Kilcoyne (Munster, 49), Greig Laidlaw (Edinburgh, 54).
Edinburgh: 15 Greig Tonks, 14 Dougie Fife, 13 Ben Cairns, 12 Matt Scott, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Richie Rees, 8 David Denton, 7 Dimitri Basilaia, 6 Stuart McInally, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Grant Gilchrist, 3 Willem Nel, 2 Steven Lawrie, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Andy Titterrell, 17 Robin Hislop, 18 Geoff Cross, 19 Netani Talei, 20 Roddy Grant, 21 Piers Francis, 22 Ben Atiga, 23 Sep Visser.
Munster: 15 Felix Jones, 14 Doug Howlett (captain), 13 Keith Earls, 12 James Downey, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Ronan O'Gara, 9 Conor Murray, 8 James Coughlan, 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Peter O'Mahony, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Damian Varley, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Mike Sherry, 17 Wian Du Preez, 18 Stephen Archer, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Paddy Butler, 21 Duncan Williams, 22 Ian Keatley, 23 Casey Laulala.
Referee: Greg Garner (England)
Assistant referees: Cyril Lafon (France), Stéphane Boyer (France)
TMO: Daniel Gillet (France)
Toulouse 25-14 Treviso
Toulouse bounced back from their defeat at the Ospreys with a 25-14 bonus point win against Treviso at Stade Ernest Wallon that took them to the top of the group with a two-point advantage over Leicester Tigers.
It means it will be a winner-takes-all Sunday showdown at Welford Road between Toulouse and the Tigers with the defeat of the Ospreys ending Welsh interest in the tournament.
Treviso struck first with scrumhalf Tobias Botes on target with a penalty but Toulouse responded with the ball in hand, albeit from close range as a quickly taken penalty ended with hooker Gary Botha being driven over by his fellow forwards.
But the lead lasted just four minutes before centre Tommaso Benvenuti finished off a sweeping virtual length of the field move to remind the four-time champions they could not let their guard down for a moment.
And in a virtual repeat of their first try, Toulouse's second also came from a quickly taken penalty and then the forwards collectively doing the business with lock Patricio Albacete adjudged to be the try-scorer from under the pile of bodies.
However, the home crowd were getting restless and when Botes landed a penalty just before the break it was 14-14 with all to play for in the second period.
Treviso made a raft of replacements at the start of the second half and one of them – prop Michele Rizzo – had only been on the field for a couple of minutes before departing for a 10-minute spell in the sin bin.
And while they were down to 14 men, the tournament's leading try-scorer Vincent Clerc struck with his 35th European Cup try courtesy of a pin-point cross-kick.
Luke McAlister added his third successful conversion and another cross-kick and another try – this time for centre Florian Fritz – and that was the bonus point in the bank with Yoann Huget getting a fifth at the death.
Tries: Botha, Albacete, Clerc, Fritz, Huget
Cons: McAlister 5
Pens: Botes 3
Yellow cards: Michele Rizzo (Treviso, 43), Christopher Tolofua (Toulouse, 71)
Toulouse: 15 Clément Poitrenaud, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Yannick Jauzion, 11 Yoann Huget, 10 Luke McAlister, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Louis Picamoles , 7 Yannick Nyanga, 6 Grégory Lamboley, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Romain Millo-Chluski, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Vasil Kakovin.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Gurthro Steenkamp, 18 Yohan Montes, 19 Yoann Maestri, 20 Sylvain Nicolas, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Lionel Beauxis, 23 Gaël Fickou.
Treviso: 15 Giiulio Toniolatti, 14 Ludovico Nitoglia, 13 Tommaso Benvenuti, 12 Andrea Pratichetti, 11 Tommaso Iannone, 10 Luca Morisi, 9 Tobias Botes, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Dean Budd, 6 Paul Derbyshire, 5 Valerio Bernabo, 4 Antonio Pavanello, 3 Alberto de Marchi, 2 Enrico Ceccato, 1 Matteo Muccignat.
Replacements: 16 Franco Sbaraglini, 17 Michele Rizzo, 18 Lorenzo Cittadini, 19 Marco Fuser, 20 Francesco Minto, 21 Fabio Semenzato, 22 Kristopher Burton, 23 Brendan Williams.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant referees: JP Doyle (England), Robin Goodliffe (England)
TMO: Graham Hughes (England)