Sunday 20 August 2017

Traille denies Ospreys

Biarritz 29

Ospreys 28

Biarritz surged into the semi-finals of the Heineken Cup for the first time since 2006 with a thrilling 29-28 win over the Ospreys.

Takudzwa Ngwenya scored a magnificent 80-metre try and Damien Traille booted three drop-goals to break the Welsh side's hearts in San Sebastian. Biarritz will host Munster in the semi-finals back in northern Spain.

The star-studded Ospreys outscored the Basque giants three tries to two, through Ryan Jones, Lee Byrne and Nikki Walker, but exited at the quarter-final stage for the third straight year.

"We have to start believing and realising the potential of the side. We have great players but we are a bloody good team," said coach Sean Holley. "We made a lot of breaks with some great attacking play and showed plenty of endeavour but we just lacked a clinical edge."

Biarritz were in front inside 29 seconds through Damien Traille's drop-goal and then USA wing sensation Ngwenya picked up the ball inside his own 22 and beat off the tackles of Mike Phillips and Shane Williams for a superb score.

Dimitri Yachvili added the extras for a 10-point lead but Jones replied, finishing off a flowing move.

Yachvili and Traille nudged Biarritz further ahead, and Tommy Bowe had to pull off a vital try-saving tackle. The visitors roared back five minutes, manufacturing a tremendous try for Byrne. Dan Biggar missed the conversion but landed a drop goal to take his side to within a point.

Biggar's penalty put the Ospreys ahead for the first time but then conceded a soft penalty for Yachvili to respond. Ngwenya's burst and clever inside kick created a try for Iain Balshaw; Yachvili's conversion stretched the lead to eight points. Biggar pulled back a penalty but Traille completed a hat-trick of drop-goals.

Phillips sent Walker in for a late try that Biggar converted to set up a grandstand finish, but Biarritz held out.

Scorers -- Biarritz: Ngwenya, Balshaw try each; Yachvili 2 cons, 2 pens; Traille 3 dg. Ospreys: R Jones, Byrne, Walker try each; Biggar 2 pens, 2 cons, dg

Biarritz: I Balshaw (A Mignardi 53); T Ngwenya, K Hunt, D Traille, I Bolakoro (JB Gobelet 64); J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; E Coetzee (F Barcella 49), B August (R Terrain 70), C Johnstone; J Thion (capt), M Carizza; W Lauret (F Alexandre 64), F Faure, I Harinordoquy.

Ospreys: L Byrne; T Bowe, A Bishop (N Walker 63), J Hook, S Williams; D Biggar, M Phillips; P James, H Bennett (E Shervington 75), A Jones; AW Jones (I Gough 63), J Thomas; J Collins, R Jones (capt), M Holah (F Tiatia 69-73).

Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)

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