European Champions Cup: Ospreys 32-15 Northampton

Rhys Webb dives over a ruck to score Ospreys' bonus point try against Northampton
Rhys Webb was a half-time substitute for Ospreys against Northampton
European Champions Cup Pool 2
Ospreys (11) 32
Tries: Arhip, Webb 2, Tipuric Cons: S Davies 3 Pens: S Davies 2
Northampton (0) 15
Tries: Mallinder, Marshall Cons: Mallinder Pens: Francis

Ospreys claimed a second bonus point win in a week over Northampton to boost their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions Cup.

Two tries by substitute Rhys Webb and one each for Dmitri Arhip and Justin Tipuric put the Welsh side in charge.

Harry Mallinder's try and Piers Francis' penalty briefly gave Saints hope before Ospreys pulled away.

Reece Marshall's try was too late to make any difference as Ospreys moved into second place in Pool Two.

It is the first time Ospreys have won back-to-back games this season and Clermont Auvergne's narrow win over Saracens was an added bonus on a wet and grey day in Swansea.

While the Welsh region are improving, for Saints this was a depressing end to a week which saw the dismissal of long-serving director of rugby Jim Mallinder.

Champions Cup Pool Two
TeamPWDLFABonusPts
Clermont440012063218
Ospreys4202130109513
Saracens4202128117311
N'hampton40046715611

Their pack was comprehensively outgunned by an Ospreys eight in which Wales internationals Alun Wyn Jones and Bradley Davies were outstanding.

Had it not been for a misfiring lineout, Ospreys could have been out of sight by the interval.

As it was, an accident-prone start to the second half saw Ospreys let Northampton into the game, before Webb's predatory instincts restored order and a scything run by Dan Evans created a try for Tipuric to put an end to the match as a contest.

A flying start

Ospreys led within five minutes with prop Dmitri Arhip bursting over on the right wing after Tom Habberfield's thrilling run through the middle.

But expectations of a repeat of last week's 11-try thriller were snuffed out by a combination of wet conditions and uncertain handling.

Ospreys dominated in the tight but apart from the early try it was the Saints who carved out the better chances.

Referee Marius Mitrea signals a try for Ospreys after Dmitri Arhip drives over in the opening minutes
Referee Marius Mitrea signals a try for Ospreys after Dmitri Arhip drives over in the opening minutes

Full-back Mallinder butchered a clear-but opportunity after a sweeping midfield move, delaying his pass fatally with wing Ahsee Tuala unmarked on the right.

Subsequently the Welsh region's pack earned two penalties which Sam Davies nailed to give his side an 11-point interval lead.

Saints hit-back quickly after the break when Ospreys' lineout again went astray, Webb fumbled and fly-half Piers Francis' cross-kick was taken by Tuala who put Mallinder over in the corner.

Webb made up for a couple of errors when he darted over to help restore a 10-point lead for the home team and the Ospreys never looked back from that point.

Ospreys coach Steve Tandy: "We've been outstanding over the last two games. To go to Franklin's Gardens and get a bonus point and then come home and to get a bonus point win again is really pleasing.

"We're starting to grow in confidence and ultimately we're starting to put some nice performances in."

Ospreys: Evans; John, Fonotia, Watkin, Hassler; S Davies, Habberfield; Smith, Baldwin, Arhip, B Davies, AW Jones (capt), Lydiate, Tipuric, Cracknell

Replacements: Otten, James, Fia, Beard, McCusker, Webb, Biggar, Beck.

Northampton Saints: Mallinder; Tuala, Horne, Stephenson, Foden (capt); Francis, Groom; Van Wyk, Haywood, Ford-Robinson, Ribbans, Paterson, Gibson, Ludlam, Harrison.

Replacements: Marshall, Ma'afu, Hill, Ratuniyarawa, Eadie, Reinach, Burrell, Pisi.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

Assistant referees: Manuel Bottino (Italy), Matteo Liperini (Italy)

TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)

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