Sunday 17 December 2017

Saracens struggle to late bonus

Saracens salvaged a losing-bonus point at the death as Biarritz edged out the English champions 15-10 in a ferocious Heineken Cup encounter in Parc des Sports Aguilera yesterday.

An attritional first half ended scoreless after Owen Farrell and Marcelo Bosch squandered several shots at goal. Biarritz came to life in the second half and scored through Imanol Harinordoquy and Takudzwa Ngwenya to seal the victory.

But, to the delight of the Saracens coaching staff, Alex Goode squeezed into the corner with the last play of the match to earn a bonus point.

Elsewhere, tournament debutant Matthew Morgan salvaged a draw for Ospreys against Treviso with a dramatic last-minute penalty at the Stadio di Monigo. Trailing 26-23 in the dying moments, the Welsh region looked set to suffer one of the greatest European upsets of all time.

However, with just seconds remaining, 19-year-old Morgan cracked over a stunning penalty from 40 metres to break Italian hearts and earn Sean Holley's men a draw which they scarcely deserved and which means Pool 5 remains wide open after two rounds.

"I'm very disappointed with our display, and I'm very disappointed with our skill set," said Ospreys director of rugby Scott Johnson. "Did we want four or five points? Yes of course we did. But will I settle for two? Well I'll certainly settle for two before one, or even none. It wasn't perfection but our destiny is still in our own hands, and that's not a bad thing."

The Ospreys were poor overall, though they did manage to cross the Treviso whitewash twice, courtesy of Tommy Bowe and then Ryan Jones. But the visitors found themselves playing catch-up for most of the second half as Treviso registered three tries in a 17-minute spell, with winger Benjamin de Jager's magnificent solo effort the best of the lot.

Sunday Indo Sport

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