Heineken Cup round-up: Williams swoops for try to keep Ospreys in the hunt

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The Independent Online

The Ospreys, with a comeback triggered by a try from Shane Williams, collected a very valuable bonus point while losing 17-15 at the Stade Aimé Giral in Perpignan yesterday. That, and Leicester's bonus-point beating of Treviso, made next Saturday's task at the Liberty Stadium simple – if the Ospreys are to top the pool and reach the Heineken Cup quarter-finals for sure, they have to win and not let Leicester have a bonus point, either for scoring four tries or, more likely, finishing within seven points of their hosts. Easy? No. Possible? Yes. Desirable for Sean Holley, who has had to get on with his head-coaching job while the USA's Scott Johnson has been linked, repeatedly, with the Neath-Swansea region? Undoubtedly.

Williams's try, beating two men on a typical scuttle down the right wing, brought the Welsh side back into a match in which they had trailed by 17-0 and had been lucky, as the phrase has it, to have got the "nil". Perpignan, without the injured Dan Carter but in possession of most of the ball that mattered, had led 12-0 at the interval thanks to four Steve Meyer penalties and the Ospreys were down a man, thanks to the scrum-half Mike Phillips' trip to the sin-bin, when the gap widened. The Catalans' not-very Catalan No 8, Henry Tuilagi, planted the ball over the line from close range.

Williams's try and one from Jonny Vaughton, after a break by Tommy Bowe, plus a conversion and a penalty from James Hook, then brought the Ospreys back into contention in Pool Three. Perpignan will try to pile on the tries against Treviso, but their failure to get a bonus here means they are almost done for.

Glasgow's 33-26 win in Toulouse earlier in the day was pretty remarkable, though the Scots had lost their previous four games and thus had no chance of making the last eight. Toulouse, if embarrassed, might not be too bothered – they came back from 23-3 down at the break to collect one of those lovely losing bonus points and their match against Bath at the Rec next Saturday will still decide Pool Five, no matter what happens at Rodney Parade today.

Still, it doesn't pay to be too churlish about these things and Glasgow, who took bonus points from each of their previous defeats, showed plenty of dog to build a lead and then hold on for a well-deserved treat. Graeme Morrison, Kelly Brown and Max Evans scored tries, the fly-half Dan Parks kicking 18 points. A penalty try and another by Vincent Clerc plus 16 points shared between Yannick Jauzion, Jean-Baptiste Elissalde and Gaffie du Toit accounted for the home side's points.

In Pool Six, in Italy and in an even deader rubber, the rather-out-of-sorts Biarritz lurched past the always-out-of-their depth Calvisano to theslightly discordant tune of 23-15.

In the European Challenge Cup, at the Madejski Stadium, London Irish beat Connacht 75-5. Steffon Armitage, the openside rather unluckily kept in Martin Johnson's Saxons squad rather than promoted to the elite in midweek, scored the first try and James Hudson, Chris Hala'Ufia, James Bailey and Topsy Ojo (twice) followed him over the line. Oh, and the Australian full-back Peter Hewat scored five of his own, perhaps making up for letting Shane Geraghty take the kicks. He slotted 10.

The full-back Danny Riordan scored a try for Connacht, whose No 8, Colm Rigney, had called this the fourth Irish province's "glamour" tie. Maybe an 11-try tonking at a concrete bowl just outside Reading where the only beer you can get after the game is the same stuff you have at home really is something to look forward to when you're from Galway. Maybe not.

At Sixways, Worcester beat the Bucuresti Oaks who are, essentially, Romania with a few large Polynesians and Kiwis stapled on. Which explains the Warriors' win by "only" 38-19. Chris Latham and Rico Gear, higher-quality imports than those available to the Oaks, were among the try-scorers.

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