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PREVIEW: Tandy reveals Baxter admiration

Tuesday 10th November 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Auteurs d'un remarquable début de saison

Auteurs d'un remarquable début de saison

Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy has spoken of his respect for Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter but will put all niceties to one side when their sides meet in Pool 2 of the European Rugby Champions Cup on Sunday.

The two teams have had differing starts to their domestic seasons. The Ospreys have picked up just two wins from their first seven fixtures in the Guinness Pro 12, while the Chiefs are flying high in the Aviva Premiership having won their last three fixtures.

But the Ospreys turned in an improved performance in their weekend win over Zebre, with their returning World Cup stars making an impact, and Tandy knows backing that up with another home victory will be crucial if they are to reach the last eight for the first time since 2010.

“Rob is a good coach and the set-up of the club is outstanding. They really could have more respect for what they have achieved,” said Tandy.

“You have to respect Rob for how long he’s been there and the job he’s done. They have the balance right in the way they have brought in guys like Geoff Parling and Julian Salvi alongside tried and tested local boys like Cowan-Dickie and others who know what the club is about.

“They’re probably similar to us in how we develop players. It’s something we are particularly proud of too. So there are similarities between the clubs, but, ultimately, we can’t be paying them too much respect once we cross that whitewash.

“They are a smart club and everyone I have spoken to about them says it is a good environment to be in, but, as good as they are, we need to be on our mettle on Sunday and be pretty ferocious in how we attack the game.

“They are not a typical English team who will try to batter you up front. They have their own developed players like Henry Slade and Jack Nowell – they have a real all-round package. But it’s our patch and if we are to have any chance of getting out of this group we need to have a home win.”

However, the Chiefs will be full of confidence after seeing off Leicester Tigers at Sandy Park in their final Premiership fixture before the commencement of European hostilities.

“Now we know where we stand and we are very comfortable with how this first block of Premiership fixtures have gone. We can really enjoy the next couple of weeks,” said Baxter.

Match Facts

  • This will be the first meeting between Ospreys and Exeter in European competition.
  • Ospreys have won just two of their last 14 games in the competition (D2, L10) and are winless in their last nine matches against English opposition (D1, L8).
  • Ospreys are aiming to avoid defeat in consecutive home matches in the Champions Cup since their first two matches in the competition in 2003/04.
  • Ospreys will be aiming to score 20+ points in consecutive matches for the first time since October 2012.
  • Exeter have won four of their 12 games in the competition; however those four wins all came against Welsh opposition.
  • Four of the Chiefs’ last five games in this competition have been settled by margins of fewer than seven points (W1, L4).


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REPORT: Biggar’s boot leads Ospreys to victory

Sunday 15th November 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Longtemps à portée d'Exeter

Longtemps à portée d'Exeter

Dan Biggar’s 20-point haul guided the Ospreys to a valuable 25-13 win over Exeter Chiefs in their European Rugby Champions Cup Pool 2 clash.

The fly-half kicked five penalties, a drop goal and converted Josh Matavesi’s try as the Ospreys shook off a difficult start to the Guinness Pro 12 season by getting on the board at the first time of asking in Europe.

Exeter had led 10-6 at the break through James Short’s try and five points from the boot of Gareth Steenson, but they could only add a penalty during the second 40 minutes.

The Welsh side, who had won just two of their previous 14 matches in this competition, started positively, forcing errors and penalties out of the visitors.

Biggar kicked two three-point opportunities to give the hosts a 6-0 lead but, after a loose start, Exeter were beginning to find their feet and go through the phases.

The Ospreys survived one prolonged onslaught thanks to a turnover from lock Lloyd Ashley in the shadows of his own posts, although Steenson soon kicked a penalty to trim the deficit.

The Chiefs, with Dave Ewers and Julian Salvi carrying strongly, came again and thought they had a try when Luke Cowan-Dickie spun out of a tackle to reach the line, only for Television Match Official Stefano Penne to find a knock-on.

It proved a brief reprieve for the Ospreys. Will Chudley fielded a an up and under and darted between two defenders to find Short, the winger escaped the clutches of James King and then wrong-footed Biggar to score, with Steenson converting.

The Ospreys responded strongly but Biggar blotted his copybook by missing two penalties in the lead-up to half-time, although he slotted another attempt just after the break to trim the deficit to one.

The Wales number 10 was still not quite in rhythm from the tee and struck the post from close range when Cowan-Dickie was pinged at a ruck, only for the Chiefs hooker to offend again seconds later with Biggar not repeating his mistake.

Steenson responded with a penalty, but the Ospreys pack were beginning to get on top and they laid the platform for Biggar to drop a goal and restore their lead.

Biggar’s fifth penalty pushed the advantage out to five points before Matavesi picked off Steenson’s pass to race in from 60 metres to seal the win and deny Exeter a losing bonus point.

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