Ospreys deny Racing Metro

2014-12-06 21:39
Benjamin Lapeyre (AFP)

Paris - Racing-Metro took a step closer to reaching the European Champions Cup knock-out rounds for the first time but will have left Wales frustrated after drawing 19-19 with Ospreys on Saturday.

The French side looked set to maintain their 100 percent record with a third straight Pool 5 victory until Josh Matavesi's converted try five minutes from time snatched a share of the spoils for the Welshmen.

With the return fixture between the pair at Racing's Yves du Manoir stadium just outside Paris next week, the French team are now joint top of the pool alongside Northampton, who thrashed Treviso 38-15.

But Racing will be ruing a missed opportunity after dominating the first half and turning around with a 16-6 lead.

South African lock Francois van der Merwe scored the only try of the first period as his compatriot Johan Goosen kicked a conversion and three penalties.

Two penalties from Wales flyhalf Dan Biggar kept Ospreys in contention.

The Welsh side enjoyed a much better second half and two more Biggar penalties closed them to within four points.

Goosen, who only joined the Parisians this season, hit the post with a straight forward-looking penalty following a period of French pressure.

When he knocked over a drop goal seven minutes from the end, they looked set for victory.

But Wales flanker Justin Tipuric then made a break and offloaded to scrum-half Rhys Webb to keep the move going before he fed Fiji international centre Matavesi to streak over.

Biggar converted and Ospreys claimed a draw that keeps them in the hunt for the quarter-finals, three points behind Racing and Saints.

Northampton plundered six tries in their bonus-point victory at sorry Treviso, who are now as good as eliminated.

Samu Manoa and Alex Waller touched down in the first half as the visitors turned around 12-3 in front.

Ben Foden, Luther Burrell and George Pisi crossed the whitewash after the break as Saints were also awarded a penalty try.

Treviso scored second half tries through Ludovico Nitoglia and Joe Carlisle but were always second best and remain bottom on zero points.

In the tough Pool 1, Saracens stayed in contention with a crucial and battling 19-15 win at Sale, who have suffered three straight defeats.

Owen Farrell was Saracens' star, scoring a try and kicking six points on his return to the side following England duty, where he was dropped for the final November international victory over Australia.

Farrell scored the key late drop goal that pushed Saracens' lead out to four points, meaning Sale would need a try rather than penalty or drop-goal to snatch victory.

Although Charlie Hodgson gave Saracens the lead in the first half with a penalty, a Magnus Lund try helped the hosts push ahead.

Farrell broke through three tackles before touching down himself and he also added a penalty as Sarries went into the break leading 11-10.

Billy Vunipola's score pushed them further ahead but when Russian Andrei Ostrikov crossed late on for Sale, they had a chance to take the lead with a successful conversion.

Nick Macleod failed to add the extras and Farrell's drop goal sealed victory for Saracens, who went top of their pool ahead of Clermont's trip to Munster.

On Friday, Bath kept their quarter-final hopes alive with a thumping 30-5 victory at Montpellier, who are practically out after three consecutive Pool 4 losses.

It was Bath's first win of the competition and they remain third in the group behind Toulouse and Glasgow.

Saturday evening's big match sees Clermont travel to Munster while champions Toulon are away at Leicester on Sunday.

European Champions Cup results on Saturday, the third round of matches:

Pool 1
Munster (IRL) 9 Clermont (FRA) 16
Sale (ENG) 15 Saracens (ENG) 19

Pool 3
Ulster (IRL) 24 Scarlets (WAL) 9

Pool 5
Ospreys (WAL) 19 Racing-Metro (FRA) 19
Treviso (ITA) 15 Northampton (ENG) 38

Played Friday

Pool 4
Montpellier (FRA) 5 Bath (ENG) 30

Playing Sunday

Pool 2
Castres (FRA) v Wasps (ENG) (15:00)
Harlequins (ENG) v Leinster (IRL) (1715)

Pool 3
Leicester (ENG) v Toulon (FRA) (19:30)

Pool 4
Toulouse (FRA) v Glasgow (SCO) (17:15)

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