Jones hails Ospreys despite 'heartbreaking' loss to Biarritz

Biarritz 29 Ospreys 28

When the Ospreys are able to look past the smokescreen of a debatable refereeing blunder, the star-studded Welsh region will reflect on their most painful European exit of the past three seasons.

The now perennial quarter-finalists out-scored Biarritz three tries to two in the Spanish sun, received the perfect dry weather to suit their attacking and expansive running game in San Sebastian and had the tantalising carrot of a home semi-final at the Millennium Stadium to play for. So near yet so far.

Previous humbling last-eight exits to Saracens and Munster highlighted a gulf in class and know-how on Europe's biggest stage but, here in the heartland of Les Biarrots, the Ospreys butchered their chances.

Despite the wastefulness of the "Real Madrid of European rugby" at Estadio Anoeta, if Irish official George Clancy had awarded an injury-time penalty for a deliberate knock-on by Dimitri Yachvili, Wales' hopes of a first Heineken Cup winner would still be alive and kicking. Ospreys' captain Ryan Jones was frustrated. He said: "He [Clancy] said it was a penalty but there was no time. We all saw that it was a deliberate knock-on."

But, following the inquest into the slender and heartbreaking defeat to the French giants, the Ospreys firmly believe they have finally arrived as a mature European superpower.

"We are definitely a force at this end of the competition but we will have to keep working hard and wait for another year," Jones said. "It hurts and I'm heartbroken for my team. We are dejected, disheartened and upset as we possibly deserved to get more."

Jones was one of three try-scorers for the visitors alongside Lee Byrne and Nikki Walker but Biarritz secured a first semi-final appearance since 2006.

Scorers: Biarritz: Tries Ngwenya, Balshaw; Conversions Yachvili 2; Penalties Yachvili 2; Drop Goals Traille 3. Ospreys: Tries R Jones, Byrne, Walker; Conversions Biggar 2; Penalties Biggar 2; Drop Goal Biggar.

Biarritz: I Balshaw (A Mignardi, 53); T Ngwenya, K Hunt, D Traille, I Bolakoro (JB Gobelet, 64); J Peyrelongue, D Yachvili; E Coetzee (F Barcella, 49), B August (R Terrain, 70), C Johnstone, J Thion (capt), M Carizza, W Lauret (F Alexandre, 64), F Faure, I Harinordoquy.

Ospreys: L Byrne, T Bowe, A Bishop (N Walker, 63), J Hook, S Williams; D Biggar, M Phillips; P James, H Bennett (E Shervington, 75), A Jones, AW Jones (I Gough, 63), J Thomas, J Collins, R Jones (capt), M Holah (F Tiatia, 69-73).

Referee: G Clancy (Ire).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue