The Ospreys held on to secure a narrow win at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday to overcome resilient Bordeaux team who secured a losing bonus point.
- Ospreys make it two wins from three games in Pool 2, sitting level with Exeter on 10 points
- Man of the Match scored all the Ospreys points, including a second half try
- Bordeaux reduced to 14 men after red card for Jean-Baptiste Dubie early in the second half
- Ospreys travel to Bordeaux for return match next Saturday
The always influential Dan Biggar scored all the Ospreys points, including a second half try, as Bordeaux paid the price for a reckless challenge by winger Jean-Baptiste Dubie, who was red carded shortly after half-time.
On a cold and wet Swansea evening it was very rarely pretty but the win means the Ospreys move on to 10 points following their win over Exeter in Round 1 and the two points they collected away to Clermont Auvergne.
The two fly-halves exchanged early penalties inside the first five minutes, Biggar with the first from in front of the posts and Pierre Bernard responding immediately with a more difficult kick close to the right touchline.
Referee JP Doyle then spotted a Bordeaux hand in the ruck, allowing Biggar another straightforward kick and he made no mistake from just to the right of the posts with quarter of an hour gone.
Penalties aside, the Ospreys had enjoyed the better of the early exchanges, looking to run the ball at every opportunity, but Bordeaux were the first to really threaten then line as the game reached the midway point of the half, after quick hands had worked them up into the 22.
Hanno Dirksen was penalised for a high tackle, Bordeaux went to the corner in an attempt to rumble over, but the Ospreys held firm on their line to eventually make it unplayable, winning the scrum to allow Biggar to clear from behind the posts.
Bordeaux were able to keep the Ospreys pinned in their own half and Bernard leveled things in the 25th minute with a long range kick after a side entry to the ruck by Dmitri Arhip.
The half hour was brought up with a yellow card for Ospreys skipper Alun Wyn Jones after the Bordeaux pack drove from a lineout on the 10m line all the way to the goal line where it was eventually halted, albeit illegally, according to Mr Doyle.
With Jones in the sinbin the visitors went to the corner and, having sucked in defenders with an initial drive that was stopped inches short, it was spun out wide with pace, where Felix Le Bourhis found himself with a huge gap in front of him and he drifted through to score, Bernard converting.
Despite being a man short the Ospreys looked to hit straight back and Biggar slotted over his third penalty, again in front of the posts but this time just 10m out, after an infringement at the breakdown.
The skipper returned to the field with 30 seconds left on the clock as the Ospreys saw out the half, going in at the break trailing by four.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS 9 BORDEAUX 13
The Ospreys got the second half off to the best of starts Biggar making no mistake with his fourth kick of the evening after a huge shove at the scrum was rewarded with a penalty.
Five minutes after the restart came what looked like a key moment in the match when Biggar was clotheslined as he collected the ball on the touchline, the TMO referral only delaying the inevitable as there was no other option other than a red card for Dubie.
Immediately the Ospreys looked to take advantage of the extra man, looking to release Eli Walker up the left. He put a lovely little dink behind the defence, a good kick-chase winning a penalty for holding on.
The Ospreys opted for the scrum and although enjoying the upper hand at the setpiece, the pack couldn’t the full shove on so opted to move it. As Dan Lydiate, Dirksen, and Jones all went for the line, Bordeaux were penalised again.
This time they went to the corner, the pack rumbled forwards towards the line, and with a penalty advantage in their favour it was Biggar who squirmed over in the corner off Brendon Leonard’s pass to put the Ospreys back in front with 52 minutes gone, before picking himself up to add the extras.
Bordeaux came straight back at the hosts and a spell of concerted pressure on the Ospreys line finally got them their reward after Lloyd Ashley was pinged at the ruck, Romain Lonca reducing the deficit to three points.
The visitors, making light of the numerical disadvantage, should really have been level in the 62nd minute after winning a penalty at the scrum, but Lonca made a dreadful has of the kick, which never looked like troubling the touch judges under the posts.
It was on a knife-edge going into the final 10, neither side able to create anything as possession went one way then the other. However, when replacement prop Jean-Baptiste Poux found himself yellow carded for a side entry inside the last five minutes, it took the sting out of the French side, now reduced to 13, and the Ospreys were able to see out the win to ensure they stay well in contention at the midway point of the pool stages.