The Ospreys came from behind, over turning a 14-point half-time deficit to create history, becoming the first ever to record six bonus point wins in the pool stage of European competition.
- Ospreys become the first team ever to record six bonus point wins in the pool stages of European competition giving them a perfect 30 points
- The win also extends the region's record run of consecutive victories to 10
- Webb, Dirksen, Davies and Otten score the tries, Davies converting three
- Ospreys now wait on Sunday's games between Stade Francais and Harlequins to discover last eight opponents at the Liberty - with a Welsh derby against the Blues a possibility
They left it late, the fourth try giving them the lead with just eight minutes to play, but a 10th consecutive win in all competitions, was just reward for their efforts.
Sam Davies scored 11 points, including try number three, while Rhys Webb scored an early effort with second half scores from Hanno Dirksen and Scott Otten sandwiching Davies’ effort.
Webb handed the Ospreys the perfect start, marking his return to action following a two month injury-lay-off with a trademark score, sniping over at close range from the back of a ruck courtesy of his favoured dummy.
Davies converted to give his side a 7-0 lead and he almost extended the lead just two minutes later following some excellent work by Dafydd Howells. The winger launched a counter attack from his own 10m line, then it looked as though he won the chase to gather his own chip through, offloading from the floor to his fly half. Davies went over to touch down, only for referee Alexandre Ruiz to rule that the ball had gone forward.
Newcastle served notice to this visitors that, despite having nothing on the game, they weren’t just going to roll over, crafting a well worked try of their own in the 13th minute.
It was centre Chris Harris who gave them momentum with a strong carry up the left before, with a penalty advantage in their favour for a high tackle by Gareth Thomas, it was moved the full width of the field, Daniel Temm finishing well in the corner. Craig Willis converted to level things.
Neither side were able to build any real momentum as the match moved into the second quarter, too many unforced errors meaning it was becoming very scrappy. It was the home side who scored next though, Rob Vickers burrowing his way over from about half an inch out after the Falcons had pounded the line following a lineout on the right. Willis’ ugly looking kick somehow squirmed over, meaning the hosts led by seven points.
The Falcons had started to take control and they grabbed their third try of the evening just after the half hour mark. Once again they were camped on the Ospreys line, but the score came a little fortuitously, Willis’ little dink behind the defence ricocheting favourably off an Osprey for Harris to fall over the line and ground it. Again the conversion was good and the scoreboard now read 21-7 to Newcastle.
The Ospreys managed to get themselves into Falcons territory in the closing minutes of the half but lacked the patience to work a second score before the break, Davies forcing a long miss-pass for Hanno Dirksen out on the right which was easily read and intercepted by Fred Burdon, allowing the hosts to clear the danger.
HALF-TIME: NEWCASTLE FALCONS 21 OSPREYS 7
The Ospreys came close to a second try within 90 seconds of the restart, a great run by Dan Evans taking play from inside their half to the Falcons 22. He had Howells in support but the winger was unable to collect the offload that would have left him with a simple run-in, allowing the Falcons to clear.
Howells was in the right place a minute or so later as the Ospreys kept up the pressure, working an overlap on the left, but, when quick ball through the hands would have surely created the score, Webb sent a long floating miss pass out that was too high for his winger to collect.
The second Ospreys try finally came in the 56th minute after a prolonged spell of pressure. Kieron Fonotia initially carried strongly before Evans was stopped inches out after dancing his way around two tackles. Rory Thornton then went close before, with defenders being sucked in, Dirksen was in acres of space on the right to go over for his 30th try in Ospreys colours.
The touchline conversion proved too much for Davies, which meant the Ospreys trailed by nine going into the final quarter.
A series of penalties against the Ospreys then saw the hosts repeatedly going to the corner as they looked to secure a bonus point try and finish off the Ospreys but the visitors defence held firm, eventually winning a turnover to allow Davies to clear.
Having survived that scare, the Ospreys went up the other end to grab try number three within minutes. It was a tremendous run from Howells that took his side over halfway and, with the support of Ben John, they moved into the opposition 22. Fonotia and Rory Thornton both got close but it was Davies who eventually jinked his way under the posts to score. His conversion meant the Ospreys trailed by just two points with 12 to play.
Within two minutes the Ospreys had try number four and the bonus point. A good run by Evans saw him stopped inches short and, again, the visitors pounded on the line before Otten was able to force his way over to score, Davies converting.
The Ospreys held a five-point lead with eight minutes to play and the inevitable late Falcons onslaught came as the visitors looked for the score to win it. It was an admirable effort by the visitors to hold them at bay without conceding a penalty, Adam Beard twice putting in big hits, as the visitors held on to create history.