Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Racing hold on to defeat Ospreys

Racing Metro held off a rousing Ospreys fightback to all but end the Welsh side's European Champions Cup aspirations with an 18-14 result at the MMArena.

Tries from wings Juan Imhoff and Teddy Thomas, plus five points from Johan Goosen had the French side in total control in Le Mans.

The Ospreys roared back as Rhys Webb and Eli Walker scored tries, converted by Dan Biggar, but Goosen's late penalty killed off their chances.

Racing Metro had dominated the opening half when the two sides met in Swansea last weekend, and they did so again this week.

Fly-half Goosen knocked over an early penalty when the visitors had Webb sin-binned for a high shot on Imhoff as the winger chipped ahead into the Ospreys 22.

The French side almost made further hay from their numerical advantage when Thomas and Brice Dulin sent flanker Wenceslas Lauret heading for the line, only for Ospreys skipper Alun Wyn Jones to make a terrific covering tackle to prevent a try.

But there was nothing the lock could do to stop Imhoff. After the Racing pack had battered away at the Ospreys line there were not enough defenders to prevent Goosen putting the Argentina international over on the right-hand flank.

Their second followed soon after and it was a beauty. Luke Charteris scooped up Scott Baldwin's knock on and instantly the visitors were in all manner of trouble.

The ball was worked out to Goosen who turned Hanno Dirksen inside and out to allow Thomas an easy finish.

But, once again, they imploded in the second half. Sin-binnings to Antonie Claassen and Maxime Machenaud - the former for taking out Biggar in the air, the latter for a deliberate knock-on - gave the Ospreys some much-needed momentum.

Webb gave them hope as he snuck through a small gap in the fringe defence for a trademark score, with Biggar converting.

The game was suddenly turned into an all-action, breathless affair and one extended passage of play saw both sides spurn try-scoring chances and ended with players strewn over the turf.

Biggar had looked set to put one of two support runners under the posts at one end, only to fail to find either man with his pass, while Dulin dropped Dimitri Szarzewski's final pass after a sensational 90-metre counter-attack.

Walker further increased Ospreys' hopes when he caught a Biggar cross-kick to end another thrilling sequence, and the conversion had the Welsh side within a point.

But they could not find the score they needed as Goosen's penalty saw Racing set-up a crunch clash with Northampton next month.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph