On the eve of Sunday’s big Heineken Cup clash against Northampton Saints here at the Liberty Stadium, we take a meander down memory lane to revisit some classic Anglo Welsh matches in the competition…
OSPREYS 10 LEEDS TYKES 3
Saturday 31 January, 2004, St Helens
They may have had to wait until the final fixture in their inaugural Heineken Cup campaign, but the Ospreys secured a first ever competition win at a rain-swept St Helens.
In front of a crowd of just 2,000, a first half try from scrum-half Andy Williams, now part of the region’s community development set-up, proved the difference as half-back partner Gavin Henson added the conversion and a penalty to send the Ospreys in at half-time with a 10-0 lead.
Playing into the wind after the break, a huge defensive effort kept Leeds at bay as the Ospreys claimed a first win in 11 matches.
OSPREYS 17 SALE SHARKS 16
Friday 20 October 2006, Liberty Stadium
One of the most dramatic games ever seen at the Liberty Stadium, the Ospreys claimed a memorable win over the reigning English champions thanks to a Shane Williams try deep into over-time which was converted from the touchline by James Hook.
All square at 10-all as the teams turned round, second half penalties from Charlie Hodgson appeared to have given the visitors victory in this Round 1 fixture, only for an unbelievable grandstand finish to see the Ospreys snatch an unlikely win.
OSPREYS 32 GLOUCESTER 15
Saturday 12 January 2008, Liberty Stadium
In a must-win Round 5 fixture the Ospreys, orchestrated by Justin Marshall, dominated this game against group favourites Gloucester, on their way to a first ever Heineken Cup quarter-final.
Shane Williams and Richard Hibbard grabbed a try apiece as the region built up a 22-point lead, making a late Gloucester rally and try from Mike Tindall simply a consolation.
A first ever win in France the following week, against Bourgoin, secured a place in the last eight, and so impressive was the Ospreys performance that within weeks new Wales coach, Warren Gatland, was to name 13 Ospreys in his first ever Six Nations game, against England at Twickenham – and we all know what happened next…
OSPREYS 15 LEICESTER TIGERS 9
Saturday 24 January 2009, Liberty Stadium
The Ospreys came out on top in a battle of attrition in front of more than 18,000 people at the Liberty to secure their place in the last eight, finishing runners up in the pool behind Leicester themselves.
They had gone into the game knowing they needed to deny their opponents even a losing bonus point if they were to leapfrog them, but in a tense 80 minutes where defences were firmly on top, they were unable to shake off the Tigers.
It was all about the kickers, James Hook slotting over five penalties for the Ospreys while Derick Hougaard’s three kicks weren’t enough to help Leicester avoid the defeat.
OSPREYS 17 LEICESTER TIGERS 12
Saturday 23 January 2010, Liberty Stadium
A year later it proved to be an even bigger afternoon of drama in Swansea as the Ospreys won to progress to the quarter-finals for a third consecutive year, knocking out Leicester in the process.
Tommy Bowe scored the only try of the game, winning the race to reach James hook’s grubber, the TMO confirming the score.
A young Dan Biggar added three penalties and a drop goal, but the game will always be remembered for the ‘16th man’ incident, after the Ospreys played a short period with an additional player on the field after Lee Byrne returned to the action without permission following a blood injury.
Be part of the cause on what promises to be another afternoon of drama and action when the Ospreys entertain Northampton on Sunday afternoon at 12.45pm. Tickets for the match are on sale at the Ticket Office, online at www.ospreysrugby.com/buytickets and via the Ticket Hotline on 0844 815 6665.