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OSPREYS 17 SAINTS 29 As it happened

Tom Wood drives Saints forwards as the rain comes down © Getty Images

Match Report OSPREYS 17 SAINTS 29 As it happened

Three tries and four points in Swansea kept the Saints’ hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Cup knockout stages alive. With a crucial try bonus evading them, however, they’ll need a monumental favour from the Ospreys in Dublin, not to mention a bonus win against Castres under the Gardens lights on Friday to get there.

KO
Saints out lead by Dylan Hartley and there’s a good smattering of black, green and gold around the Liberty Stadium. Alun Wyn Jones and Ospreys follow and it will be Stephen Myler to get the game underway…
OSPREYS 0 SAINTS 0

1min
Ospreys need a couple of goes to take in the restart and when they do, Webb’s box kick is charged down. Biggar sweeps up and clears to North and the Welshman doesn’t turn up a first chance of the day to run the ball back.
OSPREYS 0 SAINTS 0

2mins
Only a couple of phases later Saints knock on in contact but a huge statement of intent is to follow. Ospreys are shunted off their own ball and Myler has a penalty chance from 35m out, straight in front. It’s a nice, crisp blow to start for the Saints 10.
OSPREYS 0 SAINTS 3

4mins
A good lineout as well and North threatens to reclaim Fotuali’i’s high kick. Manoa thunders into Hibbard in midfield and the Saints are then fortunate to get a favourable bounce of the ball as Webb charges down Fotuali’i. It’s been a lively start!
OSPREYS 0 SAINTS 3

7mins
More slick lineout ball and a good chance for the Saints backs to move the ball at pace. An errant pass briefly concedes possession and though Saints are hitting it up again, Hartley gets a little isolated and Ospreys win the penalty at the breakdown.
OSPREYS 0 SAINTS 3

9mins
It’s been promising from the men in black, green and gold so far. While they’ve yet to make any clean breaks they’re finding half gaps and forcing Ospreys to scramble. Now the hosts flex their muscles though with a maul around halfway and it’s a second penalty of the afternoon.
OSPREYS 0 SAINTS 3

13mins
Heck of a clearing thump from Collins goes all the way from the Saints’ 10m line into touch 5m from the home try line. Myler makes a case for play to continue from there but referee Garces brings it back for a Saints penalty and it is they who throw in close to Ospreys’ 22.
OSPREYS 0 SAINTS 3

15mins
Saints again looking to keep the ball alive at every opportunity and while Wood and Burrell can’t quite link up, Ospreys defenders are offside allowing Myler to double his tally with another thump of his right boot.
OSPREYS 0 SAINTS 6

17mins
Clark - as he so often does - fighting for possession at the breakdown but this is one battle he isn’t going to win. Penalty conceded and a first kickable one of the day is guided over by Biggar.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 6

18mins
Lovely feet from Elliott to escape the attentions of a couple of Ospreys chasers but referee Garces doesn’t like how Hartley clears out the ensuing ruck. Biggar sends the kick upfield and Ospreys breach the Saints’ 22 for the first time this afternoon.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 6

21mins
Saints bossing the scrum here in Swansea. Groans of disappointment as an Ospreys attack ends with a knock on and the referee’s arm goes up on the visitors’ side for the second time.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 6

23mins
Fussell makes the game’s first clean break but there’s no support for the full back and the stem is flowed by a sea of Saints shirts. Collins then takes a high ball with confidence, marks the catch and clips a good kick to halfway. Another Ospreys scrum is turned over by the Saints as Waller gets stuck into Jarvis on the near side.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 6

27mins
Ospreys have no answer to the Saints’ pack power yet. A penalty allows Myler to position his side upfield once again and with another offence at the breakdown, number three sails over from his tee.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 9

30mins
Saints edging this contest courtesy of their supreme dominance in the set piece, but neither side has created a clear try scoring chance to speak of as the half hour passes. That might change though as another scrum penalty sees Bevington yellow carded. Good chacne coming up for the Saints.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 9

33mins
A slick lineout combination between Hartley and Manoa gets Saints into Ospreys’ 22 but a turnover gives Biggar the chacne to clear their lines. It’s a tight angle for the Wales out-half though and when he misses touch, Myler counters with a chip and chase. Tipuric impedes his progress, illegally according to the TMO, allowing the fly half to take his side further clear. Myler in the groove.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 12

34mins
Another poor kick from Biggar - his restart going out on the full - piles the pressure back onto the Ospreys’ seven forwards. The next couple of scrums are dealt with pretty well though and clearing relief comes as Manoa is penalised for not rolling away.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 12

38mins
Good direct stuff from the Ospreys has them battering the Saints line. Tipuric finds a gap but referee Garces thinks his pass to Hassler is forward. The TMO reckons so as well and Saints get off. Must pay credit to Collins as well who halted Tipuric in his tracks and forced the forward pass.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 12

HT
Saints scrum again ends in a penalty and Myler ends the half - his four penalties giving Saints the lead.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 12

HT
It’s been a solid, if unspectacular half from the Saints here at the Liberty Stadium. Possession has been pretty even - mainly due to the fact that neither side can seem to keep it alive for long enough to truly threaten. The one chance of the half fell to the hosts, but with Saints having a field day in the scrum, that has proved the platform for their half-time advantage.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 12

40mins
Both teams back out, Biggar to restart the game. Ospreys still have a couple of minutes left on Bevington’s sin bin, don’t forget.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 12

41mins
TRY!! Despite a numerical disadvantage the hosts look keen to play, Tipuric winning and then quickly tapping a penalty. He might be ruing that decision now though. Fotuali’i spots space up the blind side on turnover ball and when North brilliant evades consecutive tacklers, he also has more than enough gas to hare home from a full 75m. Stunning once again from the big wing.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

44mins
North’s contribution in his Saints career so far has been unquestionable, but he now looks to have found a scoring groove as well. That was another special try - could it be the catalyst to a fine second half for the Saints as it was against Quins last week?
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

45mins
He’s in the thick of it again! North churns up even more yards and leaves defenders trailing but having unselfishly sent it wide, there’s a spill back in midfield. Autagavaia was looking lively there after his introduction at half-time for Collins.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

47mins
Expectant cheers from the home support as Adam Jones emerges from the bench, Ospreys looking to sure up their scrum. This one’s a Saints put in but after securing and playing away ball is lost in contact again and Ospreys surge upfield before winning a penalty.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

50mins
The somewhat frustrating pattern of the game continues, Ospreys conceding a penalty on the floor just moments after their penalty lineout. Would be interesting to know if either side have strung a move into double figure phases.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

52mins
Biggar gets away for the Ospreys on the far side but another pass doesn’t go to hand and his 20m burst comes to nothing. Mercey is on for Ma'afu.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

53mins
Or is it? Ospreys pinch a first Saints lineout of the day and look to get a run going inside the 22. Moments later Hartley is happy again though and patting Pisi on the back for winning back the penalty. Wood is then cleaned out in the air at the lineout and Ospreys skipper Jones gets a ticking off for the dangerous penalty concession.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

56mins
The hair balance is restored in Ospreys’ front row as Hibbard comes off for Baldwin. Saints have Lee Dickson ready to replace Fotuali’i as well.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

57mins
The rain forecast before for 2pm has started to fall almost exactly on time. That won’t make scrummaging any easier and for the first time today, Ospreys get the penalty as the two front rows collapse at the third reset.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

59mins
Saints tug down the lineout maul and are maybe a tad fortunate not to be penalised any further as the penalty count rises against them. Ospreys go to the corner to give it another go and this time there is a card, Day the man shown yellow and taking one for the team.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

60mins
What a let off! You had to expect a try to come from a third Ospreys catch and drive but Baldwin overthrows and Clark scoops from the deck. It’s only a brief reprieve though as Manoa is driven back by a couple of home tacklers and forced to concede a 5m scrum. Dowson is on for Clark.
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

61mins
Clark his usual sultry self as he trudges off, but the flanker has put in another big shift this afternoon. Saints run away with the ball from Ospreys’ scrum but referee Garces’ whistle had already gone for a reset under the posts. The hosts get a second bite at the cherry but while Biggar’s kick evades a scrambling Myler, Hartley provides a supreme cover tackle to hold up Hassler. Back to the scrum…
OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 17

64mins
Close again and this time they are over. The initial surge is again held back but Webb dances and dives beside the posts to ingest life back into this contest. Biggar makes it a seven-pointer.
OSPREYS 10 SAINTS 17

66mins
Things really starting to go the Welsh side’s way. Fussell can’t gather a high Dickson kick but when Hartley does he is penalised for being ahead of the kicker and offside. Ospreys continue to use their maul to great effect and this time it carries them inside the 22 once more.
OSPREYS 10 SAINTS 17

68mins
In the other, crucial Pool 1 game Leinster lead 24-17 in Castres, despite falling 0-14 down early doors. Saints will be focused on the job at hand here in Swansea first off though and are back in the Ospreys half for the first time in a while. An excellent offloading move comes to an end but Autagavaia’s high bomb is dropped and Jones gives away a penalty in an offside position as Day returns.
OSPREYS 10 SAINTS 17

71mins
We’ve swapped Waller’s and now Glenn Dickson and Dickinson are readying themselves for action. Autagavaia skies another Garryowen and Saints are back where they want to be, Burrell leading the surge.
OSPREYS 10 SAINTS 17

72mins
TRY!! Pisi gets involved for the second time in the move and despite Natoga’s efforts to stop him, the Samoan is over. The Fijian looks to have come off worse in the confrontation as well and sees yellow for  his troubles, limping off as Myler lines up the extras.
OSPREYS 10 SAINTS 22

73mins
Myler, Hartley and Wood depart after impressive individual efforts. Ospreys now chasing the game from inside their own half.
OSPREYS 10 SAINTS 22

75mins
Just when it looked to be over it’s back on again! Ospreys string together the drives and skipper Alun Wyn Jones barges through eventually. With Biggar’s conversion there are now just five in it.
OSPREYS 17 SAINTS 22

77mins
TRY!!! Scratch that, it’s 12 again. Ospreys concede possession cheaply inside their own 22 from the restart and after North dances his way close, Glenn Dickson scampers beside the posts and converts his own try - a first in Saints colours.
OSPREYS 17 SAINTS 22

79mins
Now a crucial try bonus could also be on the cards for the visitors but they’ll have to win possession back first and run it from inside their own half. They get the chance to as well, turning ball over and carrying over halfway as North is announced man of the match.
OSPREYS 17 SAINTS 29

FT
No bonus, but a satisfactory four points to keep their Heineken Cup hopes alive, just. Leinster have won in Castres meaning the gap remains four to the top of Pool 1. Saints will need a bonus against the French champions on a blockbuster Friday evening at the Gardens and hope today’s hosts can do them a favour in Dublin. You just never know…
OSPREYS 17 SAINTS 29.

TIMELINE
3mins SAINTS Pen Myler 0-3
15mins SAINTS Pen Myler 0-6
17mins OSPREYS Pen Biggar 3-6
29mins SAINTS Pen Myler 3-9
32mins OSPREYS Yellow Bevington
34mins SAINTS Pen Myler 3-12
HALF-TIME OSPREYS 3 SAINTS 12
42mins SAINTS Try North 3-17
60mins SAINTS Yellow Day
64mins OSPREYS Try Webb Con Biggar 10-17
72mins SAINTS Try Pisi 10-22
75mins OSPREYS Try AW Jones Con Biggar 17-22
78mins SAINTS Try & Con G Dickson 17-29
FULL-TIME OSPREYS 17 SAINTS 29

OSPREYS: Fussell; Hassler, Isaacs, Spratt, Natoga; Biggar, Webb; Bevington, Hibbard, Javis, AW Jones (c), I Evans, Lewis, Tipuric, Bearman

Reps: Baldwin, D Jones, A Jones, King, Allen, Habberfield, Davies, John

SAINTS: Collins; Elliott, G Pisi, Burrell, North; Myler, Fotuali'i; A Waller, Hartley (c), Ma'afu, Lawes, Day, Clark, Wood, Manoa

Reps: S: Haywood, E Waller, Mercey, Dickinson, Dowson, L Dickson, G Dickson, Autagvaia

Heineken man of the match: George North

Referee: Jerome Garces (FRA)

Att: 8,347

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