Ospreys 15-15 Saracens

The Ospreys head into Round 6 of Europe still in contention for a quarter-final spot after a tense evening at the Liberty Stadium against the 2016 and 2017 champions.

  • Biggar and Farrell kick five penalties each at the Liberty
  • Ospreys hold on to second spot in Pool Two, three behind leaders Clermont Auvergne who they face in France next weekend
  • Draw makes it just one defeat in last six games for the Ospreys

The story of the night was about two Lions outside halves, Dan Biggar and Owen Farrell sharing all the points on the night with five successful penalties each as honours were shared.

The draw, combined with Northampton Saints’ thumping of Clermont Auvergne at Franklin’s Gardens earlier in the day, means the Ospreys sit in second place in Pool Two on 15 points, three behind the French side who host the Ospreys next Saturday and two ahead of Saracens in third spot.

In a contest that was gripping from first minute to last, in front of the second highest crowd of the season, the outcome remained in the balance until the very last whistle, but the Ospreys will head to France buoyed by their recent run that has seen them lose just one of the last six games. 

Frenetic early exchanges saw Saracens enjoying the possession but the Ospreys looking strong in defence and at the scrum.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring after five minutes, Farrell with a simple three points from in front of the posts. 

Having absorbed considerable early pressure quite comfortably, the first quarter of an hour played out almost entirely in the Ospreys half, the hosts were finally able to get some field position from a penalty at the scrum.

Saracens disrupted the lineout but a knock-on meant the Ospreys had a second chance with a scrum in their opponents half. However, Rhys Webb was pinged for a crooked feed, Farrell launched an aerial bomb and Olly Cracknell was penalised for obstruction, blocking the chaser as Sam Davies shaped to collect the high ball. Farrell made no mistake with his kick and the visitors led by six points midway through the first half. 

The Ospreys were eventually able to pin their opponents back on their line thanks to a lovely box kick to the corner from Webb, followed by some good pressure at the lineout, resulting in a poor clearance kicjk which allowed Jeff Hassler to run it back at the heart of the Sarries defence.

Some great footwork from Ashley Beck almost took him clear on the left, before his inside pass to Rob McCusker went to ground metres from the line.

Biggar eventually got the Ospreys on the board with 30 minutes played, the forwards winning a penalty on the 22 after some good physicality at close quarters.

The Ospreys failed to deal with the restart though, Sam Davies penalised for offside, and Saracens were able to stretch the lead back to six points through the boot of Farrell. 

As half-time approached it was evenly balanced and a lovely break from Biggar over halfway almost got Beck clear, before Saracens were penalised for obstruction, Biggar making no mistake from 42m out with the final kick of the opening 40.


Home dominance at the scrum in the first half, the story was the same straight after the restart, winning a penalty on the Saracens 22m line, allowing Biggar to level the scores. 

Again though, the Ospreys put themselves in trouble by failing to deal with the restart properly and, although they had their opponents in trouble at the scrum after a knock on, Saracens were eventually awarded a penalty for an alleged hand in the ruck from Dmitri Arhip, and Farrell was able to nudge his team ahead again. 

A long period of Saracens pressure came to nothing as a huge physical effort from the Ospreys saw the visitors losing 20m before eventually conceding a penalty that allowed the Ospreys to get themselves deep into opposition territory.

It was nervy, it was physical, and there remained only three points in it as the clock ticked beyond the hour and into the final quarter with the Ospreys beginning to exert control in the physical battle. Neither side was able to fashion any try scoring opportunities though.

Saracens were reduced to 14 men in the 66th minute when Chris Wyles was shown a yellow card for taking out Sam Davies in the air as the Ospreys soared to collect a high ball, TMO Kevin Beggs confirming the offence on review.

Great work to disrupt at a Saracens scrum then resulted in an Ospreys penalty 15m infield and 30m from goal, Biggar leveling it again with eight minutes to play. 

Again the visitors hit straight back, the home team penalised for collapsing a maul and Farrell again made them pay. 

The scoreboard read 12-15 inside the final two minutes when, to huge cheers from the home crowd, the Ospreys pack again won the scrum battle, Saracens penalised and Biggar on target from distance, splitting the posts to level it with less than 30 seconds on the clock.

That sparked one last furious effort from the reigning champions but they were met by a defiant Ospreys defence who eventually managed to win turnover ball, allowing Beck to break up the left to halfway.

Beck was brought down on halfway when pragmatism took over, Webb putting the ball out to bring the game to an end, the Ospreys settling for a share of the spoils and two points that keeps their European hopes very much alive going into the final weekend.