Champions Cup: Ospreys stun Leicester Tigers to seal knockout spot while Lyon thump Bulls to keep their hopes alive

Ospreys wing Keelan Giles Credit: Alamy
Ospreys wing Keelan Giles Credit: Alamy

A converted try deep into added time saw the Ospreys beat Leicester Tigers 27-26 at Welford Road to seal a round of 16 spot in the Champions Cup.

Jac Morgan’s late score was converted by Owen Williams as the Welsh region claimed a famous win that was duly celebrated by their squad and coaches.

Dewi Lake and Keelan Giles scored their other tries on the night with Williams slotting a total of 10 points and Cai Williams kicking a single conversion.

This was Leicester‘s first loss of the European season as Jack van Poortvliet and Harry Simmons’ tries and Handre Pollard’s 16 points were not enough.

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After being second best for most of match, Ospreys battered the opposition line for the whole of the last 15 minutes but somehow Leicester kept them out.

However a yellow card for replacement prop Dan Richardson proved the final straw as countless replays were shown before Morgan was credited with a close-range try to secure a thrilling victory.

Leicester took an early lead when Pollard kicked a penalty after Ospreys skipper Justin Tipuric was harshly adjudged to have infringed at the breakdown.

Ospreys soon had a similar penalty opportunity but they elected for an attacking line-out and were rewarded when Lake crashed over.

Tigers responded quickly with a succession of line-out drives putting the visitors under extreme pressure. With their defence tied in, Van Poortvliet saw a gap to race over.

Three minutes later, Leicester looked to have scored again when Simmons tore through a huge hole to run 30 metres and crash over the opposition line but TMO replays showed that the wing had been held up by an excellent cover tackle by Michael Collins.

However Leicester were still able to extend their lead with a penalty from Pollard before Ospreys suffered another setback when Evans hobbled off to be replaced by George North.

In the absence of Evans, Williams took over the goal-kicking with his 40-metre attempt sailing wide but he soon made amends with a another kick from a similar distance.

The Welsh region suffered another injury blow when hooker Lake was helped off with a leg injury to be replaced by Scott Baldwin, but committed tackling kept Tigers out before a second penalty from Williams brought the scores level at 13-13 at the interval.

Leicester began the second strongly with an excellent break from Pollard winning his side a platform in the opposition 22. From there Tigers maintained the pressure and a pre-planned move saw Simmons bemuse the visitors to score his side’s second try.

The hosts looked in control but they gifted their opponents the chance to remain in contention. Deep in the Ospreys 22, Tigers threw a wild pass which Joe Hawkins hacked on before Giles collected to stroll 65 metres to score with a conversion from Williams tying up the scores going into the final quarter.

Two penalties in quick succession from Pollard saw Leicester regain the lead before Ospreys staged a tremendous late rally. Both North and Kieran Williams were hauled down inches short before Morgan’s late effort, converted by Williams, gave them a huge victory.

Lyon end drought with win over Bulls

Elsewhere, Lyon kept their qualification hopes alive thanks to a 31-7 victory over the Bulls that ends their drought in the Champions Cup this season.

The French club, sat in mid-table in their domestic Top 14 competition, claimed their only triumph of the pool stage in style, finishing with a bonus-point victory that lifts them into the top eight.

They led 24-0 at half-time with hooker Guillaume Marchand crossing twice amid a dominant display from their pack before Leo Berdeu scored the fourth try in the 58th minute.

The Bulls paid the price for a high penalty count and they never got going in frosty conditions, but their two wins earlier in the group phase means they still have a better chance of qualifying for the last 16.

The newcomers from South Africa remain in sixth place with Lyon, who were led by the superb Jean-Marc Doussain, in seventh.

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