Bordeaux 33 Ospreys 27

The Ospreys move two points clear at the top of Pool 2 after an eight try thriller in south west France, having twice trailed by 15 points.

  • Ospreys go top of Pool 2 after claiming two bonus points from defeat in France for the second time in this campaign
  • Bordeaux led by 15 points at the break and inside the final quarter but never say die Ospreys pulled themselves back to within three
  • Tipuric, Walker, Jones and Biggar scored the tries in an enthralling contest
  • Next up in Champions Cup is Exeter at the Liberty Stadium on weekend of 16th January - details TBC this week 


For the second time this campaign the Ospreys leave France with two points after a performance full of character, but the overriding emotion in the dressing room was one of frustration.

An error strewn first half meant that the region went in trailing by 15 at the break, Bordeaux running in three tries to the Ospreys one during the opening 40.

However, a vastly improved second half showing saw the Ospreys scoring three more to secure a try bonus and a losing bonus, as they trailed by just three points going into the final minutes before Bordeaux, with their own try bonus in the bag, gratefully accepted a three pointer with the final kick to make the game safe.

Justin Tipuric, Eli Walker, Alun Wyn Jones and Dan Biggar all touched down, while man of the match Biggar also kicked seven as the Ospreys moved to the top of Pool 2, two points ahead of Exeter, who face Clermont in France tomorrow.

The Ospreys were behind with just 66 seconds on the clock, the home team taking full advantage of an early error, Sam Davies kicking out on the full.

From the resulting lineout just outside the Ospreys 22 the hosts were able to move the ball at speed and Julien Rey crashed over despite the best efforts of Jeff Hassler, the TMO confirming the grounding.

Pierre Bernard converted but, despite the dreadful start the scores were level within two minutes. This time, Hassler was involved at the other end, linking with Dan Evans before slipping the inside pass to Tipuric who cut infield and raced over from 35m out to score his 18th try for the region, taking him level with Richard Fussell and Walker.

Dan Biggar did what he does so well and added the extras, so it was 7-7 with less than four minutes played.

After such a frantic start the action started to settle, but Bernard nudged the home team back in front with a long-range penalty on nine minutes.

The Ospreys responded well, a Bordeaux knock on inside their own half providing the visitors a platform to attack from which Jones looked to exploit, charging towards the line. As the Ospreys looked to move it from the ruck, Clement Maynadier offended and was sent to the bin for 10 minutes.

Despite being at a numerical disadvantage it was the home team who got the next try. Evans was turned over after a collecting a high ball just outside his 22, from where the Ospreys were always on the back foot and it was Berend Botha who drifted through a huge gap to score. Bernard’s kick was off target but Bordeaux led 15-7 with 20 minutes played.

The Bordeaux fly-half was then missed a long-range effort after Evans was penalised for going off his feet at the ruck but, with the home team back up to 15, Bernard made no mistake from a penalty 20m closer to the posts after Ben John was guilty of not rolling away.

The Ospreys rallied and a penalty from a maul on halfway allowed Biggar to put his team up in the corner. Although this time their maul got no change, they kept possession and Hassler was stopped just a couple of metres out. 

Looking to strike, the was moved quickly, Davies flinging a long miss-pass looking for Eli Walker out wide. Unfortunately for the Ospreys, the ball went to ground, allowing Sofiane Guitone to collect and with just open space ahead of him he raced the length of the field to score, Bernard adding the extras.

Biggar responded by slotting over a penalty from 23m out after Bordeaux collapsed a scrum and that was that for the first half.


The hosts had the scent of a bonus point in their system and they fired out of the blocks from the restart, going for the kill.

Having weathered an early storm, albeit at times by the skin of the teeth as Bordeaux looked to run it from everywhere, the Ospreys were able to build themselves some territory and possession. 

However, Guitoune was inches away from a second length of the field interception score as he read Tom Habberfield’s pass from the base of a on the Bordeaux but, thankfully, this time it was called back for an Ospreys penalty, the winger ruled offside.

Traliing by more than two scores the Ospreys went to the corner and tried again, Tipuric held up just short, before a good old fashioned coming together behind the posts as Bordeaux tried to prevent Biggar collecting the ball to take a quick penalty.

After it had all calmed down, the Ospreys chose to go for a scrum and, although the pack was in trouble, they were able to provide an attacking platform from which Walker eventually went over in the corner to move back ahead of Tipuric in the all-time list.

Controversy reigned then when the referee stopped Biggar mid run up for the conversion, to take a look at the replay to check Walker’s grounding, infuriating the Osprey as he watched his kick go through the posts.

With the grounding clear and obvious, Biggar tried again, but this time he pulled across the posts and wide, meaning the Ospreys still trailed by 10 with a little under half an hour to go.

Momentum had swung the Ospreys way and as they pounded the Bordeaux line the home team were again reduced to 14, Baptiste Serin yellow carded just after the hour for illegal interference with replacement scrum half Martin Roberts as he looked to move the ball away from a ruck.

They looked to take immediate advantage from the resulting penalty, only for Justin Tipuric to knock on inches away from the line and unbelievably, from the resulting scrum, the Ospreys ended up back under their own posts as Bordeaux claimed the bonus point try.

It was Metulsela Talebulamaijaina who started it on the right, barging his way through Walker before feeding Yann Lesgourgues who kicked ahead and won the foot race with Dan Evans to score, Lesgourgues missing the conversion.

As had been the case for most of the second half, the Ospreys went straight back up the other end and had their third try almost instantly, Hanno Dirksen doing some strong carrying before skipper Jones stretched over to ground it on the line. With Biggar receiving treatment for a knock taken in the build-up, Davies took over kicking duties but his conversion attempt was off target.

Bordeaux led by 10 with the same number of minutes left on the clock, and it got even better for the Ospreys five minutes later as they secured their own try bonus point, reducing the deficit to just three points in the process.

It was scored and converted by Biggar, the 10 reading a loose pass on his own 10m line to intercept and go all the way to score under the posts before picking himself up to convert.

The Ospreys now had the momentum and, with just a couple of minutes remaining were pushing for what has seemed the most unlikely of wins. However, an offence on halfway allowed Bordeaux to put the ball back up the other end and, with the clock going passed the 80 minute mark as they pressed, an Ospreys offence in front of the posts resulted in Serin putting over a three pointer to bring the game to a conclusion.

On reflection the Ospreys can be happy with two points even if, deep down, they may look at this as one that got away given the first half inaccuracy.