Ospreys beat Leicester Tigers 15 - 9 at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday but had to wait for results to go their way yesterday afternoon in the remaining Pool games. Ospreys now face Munster away.
The home side couldn't complain about the Library at the Liberty" ahead of the kick-off, with the 18,285 crowd providing an electric atmosphere for this all-or- nothing Heineken Cup clash. The Ospreys were forced into a late change when full-back Lee Byrne withdrew on the morning of the game after he failed a fitness test on his recurring ankle injury which he picked against Perpignan last week. Henson was switched from inside centre to full-back and Andrew Bishop and Tommy Bowe formed a partnership, while Jonny Vaughton was drafted into action on the wing.
Hook landed two superb long-range penalties from the touchline, while his opposite number Derick Hougaard did the same for the Tigers to make the score 6-3 to the home side midway through the first half. Ospreys would have been frustrated with only a three-point interval lead, but they began the second period in lively fashion. Hook completed his penalty hat-trick, and then caused panic in Leicester's defence with a weaving run that had the Tigers retreating at a rate of knots.
Hook's raid on the Leicester 22 came from quick ball, something Ospreys had cried out for during the first half, and there were suddenly signs of gaps appearing. Leicester, though, responded impressively, using their forwards to create threatening field position, and then keeping Ospreys pinned back through a well-executed tactical kicking game. The Ospreys tried to bring Williams more into the contest, yet Hook remained their most probable scoring outlet, and a fourth penalty put Leicester 12-6 behind as he cancelled out Hougaard's second successful strike. The penalty fest continued when Hougaard brought Leicester back to within three points.
Hook's fifth penalty restored a six-point lead with seven minutes remaining, piling the pressure on Leicester to remain within losing bonus-point range, and they managed it - just.