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Heineken Champions Cup: Montpellier 10-21 Ospreys – Welsh region end European drought

Montpellier players stand dejected
Montpellier came from behind to beat London Irish in the Champions Cup last week
Montpellier (3) 10
Tries: Paenga-Amosa Cons: Carbonel Pens: Carbonel
Ospreys (14) 21
Tries: Parry, K Williams, Morris Cons: O Williams 3

Ospreys recorded their first win in Europe in two years as they battled to a 21-10 win against Top 14 champions Montpellier in the Champions Cup.

Ospreys, whose last win in Europe came in December 2020, went into the break 14-3 up after first-half tries from Sam Parry and Keiran Williams.

Montpellier responded in the second half with a try through their own hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa.

But Morgan Morris hit back with a score in the corner to seal a famous win.

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth had made nine changes to the team that lost to Leicester last time out, including a first start for Owen Williams and the notable absence of Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones.

The Welsh region appeared from the tunnel sporting their alternative multicoloured kit and Barbarians-like sock variety, with each player’s colours representing the clubs they played for.

But the early flashes came from the hosts, as Louis Carbonel kicked Montpellier ahead on four minutes after Ospreys were penalised for not rolling away at the ruck.

After calling the mark from a clearing kick, scrum-half Cobus Reinach took it quickly, sprinting down the right touchline past three Ospreys before kicking behind the defence but Max Nagy scrambled back to prevent the early try.

The Top 14 side were in the ascendency but it was the Welsh region who scored the game’s opening try.

After Zach Mercer was penalised for tackling Rhys Davies in the air, Florian Verhaeghe committed the same infringement at the next line-out and was sin-binned by referee Nika Amashukeli.

Ospreys took immediate advantage of the extra man, powering over with the driving maul and Parry dotting down. Owen Williams was on target with the conversion.

As Montpellier returned to full strength Ospreys extended their lead.

More good work by the Welsh pack from the line-out drove Ospreys to within a metre of the Montpellier line before the ball was spread right to Williams, who dived over to score.

The Welsh region looked in control but were soon down to 14 men when Luke Morgan took Mercer out in the air under the high ball.

Ospreys saw out Morgan’s 10-minute absence without conceding but Montpellier stepped up a gear in the second half.

The French side’s first try of the match came with 25 minutes remaining, Paenga-Amosa finishing off a Montpellier driving maul with a powerful last push.

Just as everything looked to be moving in the way of the hosts, Ospreys swung momentum back in their direction as Morris touched down in the corner at full stretch. Williams hit the tight conversion to move the Welsh region 21-10 up.

Alex Cuthbert thought he had Ospreys’ fourth try of the match minutes later, but the television match official deemed his foot was in touch moments before he grounded the ball.

But it did not matter, as Ospreys held on for a famous win in Europe.

Montpellier: Bouthier (capt); B Lam, Darmon, P Garbisi, Bridge; Carbonel, Reinach; Forletta, Paenga-Amosa, H Thomas, Verhaeghe, Chalureau, Doumenc, Becognee, Mercer.

Replacements: Langdon, Fichten, Tuinukuafe, Tauleigne, Coly, Tisseron, Dakuwaqa, Willemse.

Ospreys: Nagy; Cuthbert, Collins, K Williams, L Morgan; O Williams, R Webb; G Thomas, Parry, Botha, R Davies, Beard, Roots, Tipuric (capt), M Morris.

Replacements: Baldwin, N Smith, Francis, Sutton, J Morgan, Morgan-Williams, Walsh, Hawkins.

Referee: Nika Amashukeli (Georgia)

Assistant referees: Dan Jones & Wayne Falla (England)

TMO: Adam Leal (England)

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