Jac Morgan the hero as the Ospreys score a dramatic late try to reach the Champions Cup Round of 16

Jac Morgan the hero as the Ospreys score a dramatic late try to reach the Champions Cup Round of 16

Leicester Tigers 26 Ospreys 27

English rugby union has once again endured a stormy 48 hours, with the community game in open revolt against its union, and its biggest club unable to restore order on Friday night.

Leicester Tigers had their unbeaten European campaign end in a dramatic finish, after which the Ospreys clinched their first Champions Cup knockout game since 2010. Jac Morgan battled his way deep into extra time and Owen Williams’ conversion, against his former club, sealed the victory. with the Tigers desperately holding on with 14 men.

How ironic that, in a game that featured countless Wales internationals in the Ospreys side, however, it was Leicester’s lone Welshman, Tommy Refell, who stood out. Welford Road have seen many amazing outdoor performances over the years, Neil Back, Lewis Moody and Julian Salvi among them, but there haven’t been many who have been as dominant on the pitch, against such high-quality opposition, in Justin Tipuric, and with a more auspicious moment; the Six Nations is only a fortnight away.

Despite the loss, Steve Borthwick will be licking his lips. In the penultimate game in charge of him, his Leicester strikers traveled to Swansea for the corresponding match and stung the Ospreys, packed with internationals, in a performance full of grit and not so much glamour. On Friday night, despite the Ospreys’ revenge, there was a touch of international glamor in this Leicester side: Dan Cole was tenacious, Freddie Steward solid, Jack van Poortvliet managed, Ollie Chessum prowled and Dan Kelly tied it all together. . All were named in Borthwick’s England first team on Monday.

With a home round of 16 game on the line, both sides were eager to dictate the first steps. Refell announced himself for the match with a gift-wrapped ball handoff before Justin Tipuric, the man who could be battling with the open Leicester side for the Wales number 7 shirt, tried to recover. However, the Ospreys captain’s attempt was illegal, as he misread the ruck and Handre Pollard opened the scoring from the tee.

However, the Ospreys have the better line-out in the Champions League, and the totemic Alun Wyn Jones, along with fellow international Adam Beard, teased the Tigers a bit on that dominance in the first half. The visitors stole three of the hosts’ shots and earned numerous penalties, one of which was kicked by former Tiger Owen Williams in his former patch. Dewi Lake also broke through after a punching Ospreys maul, although the Wales hooker would later hobble off with a grimace, giving Warren Gatland some concerns ahead of the Six Nations.

A silky show-and-go from Jack van Poortvliet, after one of Leicester’s few successful line-outs, pushed Tigers into the lead. Fresh from that electrifying finish at Clermont-Ferrand a week ago, Harry Simmonds sliced ​​through Van Poortvliet’s most fiendish line after some excellent early drive from his front group, but the score was canceled out by Michael Collins’ sublime save attempt. . tackle under the posts. While Collins’s heroism deserved his reward, it was a shame for the neutral; the score would have been one of the best organized and smoothest for Leicester since Richard Wigglesworth took over as caretaker.

Pollard and Williams exchanged penalties before Reffell was severely penalized on the stroke of half time, giving the Ospreys fly half a chance to level the score at the interval, which he took advantage of.

However, after his heartbreak in the first half, Simmons would eventually get his chance. With the Ospreys forward busy in the maul, Kelly laid the ball up for his forward, who slid into a soft Welsh defence.

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