Ospreys boss Toby Booth said his side and Montpellier produced a ‘magnificent spectacle’ as the Welsh region emerged 35-29 victors over the Top 14 outfit in the Champions Cup on Saturday.
A rip-roaring fixture produced nine tries, with Montpellier dotting down on five occasions to Ospreys’ four, but in the end, the hosts secured the win.
Replacement forward Morgan Morris scored the match-winning try two minutes from time to hand Ospreys the bonus point victory, taking them to 10 points in Pool B, which should see them qualify for the round of 16.
Ospreys led 13-10 at half-time thanks to a try from winger Alex Cuthbert, which was converted by Cai Evans, who added two further penalties. Montpellier lock Paul Willemse scored twice in the first 40, with scrum-half Leo Coly missing both shots at goal.
Evans added two more penalties early in the second half before lock Bastien Chalureau scored Montpellier’s third, converted by Coly to put the visitors ahead after 48 minutes.
Cuthbert scored a second as the lead changed hands again, but it did not last long as Thomas Darmon’s try, converted by full-back Anthony Bouthier, gave Montpellier a single-point advantage.
Ospreys captain Justin Tipuric scored a stunning try as the lead changed hands again, with Cobus Reinach’s score putting the visitors ahead in the final 10 minutes. Morris scored to seal the win with two minutes left on the clock.
“We are in the entertainment business”
Booth’s side have now gone back-to-back against the Top 14 holders in the pool stages of the Champions Cup after securing a 21-10 away win last month.
After the match, Booth said: “We are in the entertainment business, and that game certainly provided it as it went from one end to another.
“After the game over there, we knew they would come over with a point to prove, but we just found a way to win.
“Cai (Evans) has grabbed his opportunity as it’s been a difficult journey for him with injuries, but now he’s really thriving and fulfilling the talent he’s got.”
Evans proved to be the difference in the match as he converted six of his seven shots at goal.
“After beating them down there, we knew they would come flying out the blocks, but in the end, we managed to win,” Evans said.
“Neither side could get a substantial lead, and the game went down to the wire, so I’m pleased we came out on the right side of the result.
“My last miss made it theatrical, but it provided good entertainment for the neutral.”
Montpellier rue missed opportunities
While Ospreys secured the win from their performance off the tee, Montpellier director of rugby Philippe Saint-Andre was left to rue his side’s missed opportunities.
“We had opportunities to win, but we had little success on the kicking front,” Saint-Andre said.
“Ospreys deserved to beat us at home, and they showed a lot of commitment tonight, but we gave away a couple of soft tries.
“It was a good game for the neutral, but we missed too many points from our kicking game, and it’s not often that you score five tries away from home and still lose.”
Despite the pair of losses to the Ospreys, Montpellier are still in with a shout of making the competition’s knockout stages.
A bonus-point win over London Irish next week will likely see them qualify, and captain Willemse is looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a good challenge as we need five points, but if we get them and progress, we can still go all the way,” Willemse said.
“Our attack was good tonight, although we made a few mistakes defensively, but the two points we picked up makes sure that we are still in the mix.”
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