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Ospreys look to upset formbook at Saracens

Friday 31st March 2023

11:00 am (GMT)

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Ospreys look to upset formbook at Saracens

Saracens No.8 Billy Vunipola on the charge against Lyon in the Heineken Champions Cup

Ospreys will be aiming to make history in the Heineken Champions Cup Round of 16 on Sunday, when they will be bidding for their first victory over the Gallagher Premiership leaders in the competition.

They have played Sarries seven times in it so far, stretching back to 2008, but the nearest they have got to beating them was a thrilling 15-15 draw in the 2017/18 pool stage.

This is their first appearance in the knockout stage since 2010, when they reached the quarter-finals, but they approach the game in fine form, having won three of their Pool B fixtures, including a shock double over Montpellier Hérault Rugby and a dramatic 27-26 success at Leicester Tigers.

Three-time winners Saracens had a similar record in Pool A, but they came fourth, a place higher than Ospreys managed in their pool, after a brace of wins over Lyon, a home victory over Edinburgh Rugby and a loss in Scotland.

The game at the StoneX Stadium kicks off at 15:00 (UK & Irish time) and can be viewed on BT Sport, S4C, beIN SPORTS, SuperSport and FloRugby.

Key quotes

Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall: “To beat Montpellier back to back and also to win at Leicester shows you what kind of team they are. They have a really experienced group with lots of internationals who are used to big occasions, so it’ll be a tough proposition for us.”

Ospreys head coach Toby Booth: “We are playing against currently the best team in the Premiership by some distance. They are used to winning, they are used to being in these fixtures, and the biggest thing to get past first of all is the mindset they’ve got. They are very competitive.”


Saracens have conceded the most penalties in the opposition 22 in the competition (nine).

They have the second highest rate of carry dominance in the Heineken Champions Cup.

Billy Vunipola has made more passes than any other forward (33) and carried the ball more than any other Saracen this season (42)


Adam Beard has won more lineouts on his team’s throw than any other player (26).

Alex Cuthbert made more support carries (five) and metres from support carries (51) than any other player.

Ospreys have conceded the fewest turnovers in the Heineken Champions Cup – an average of 7.75 per 80 minutes – and the fewest scrum penalties (three).

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Saracens survive Ospreys scare

Sunday 2nd April 2023

5:11 pm (GMT)

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Saracens survive Ospreys scare

Saracens celebrate Duncan Taylor's try against Ospreys

Saracens twice came from behind to beat Ospreys 35-20 at StoneX Stadium on Sunday, securing their place in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals.

The three-time champions wrestled control through tries from Max Malins (2), Duncan Taylor and Tom Woolstencroft, plus 15 points from Owen Farrell’s boot, but it was far from a routine victory.

Ospreys were 12 points up early and led by 10 shortly after half-time, but their scores from Mike Collins and Kieran Williams were ultimately in vain.

Saracens were on the board first in Barnet as fly-half Farrell atoned for an early miss from the tee by slotting a penalty from in front of the posts on nine minutes.

But Ospreys would notch the game’s first try moments later, full-back Collins dotting down in the corner after good work from centre Kieran Williams, fly-half Owen Williams adding the extras for the first of his 10 points.

The three-time champions were stunned further when scrum-half Rhys Webb intercepted to kick-start an attack which Kieran Williams finished by sliding over in the corner, Owen Williams converting again from out wide.

Saracens rallied, though, Farrell reducing the deficit with another penalty before wing Malins reached out to plant down out wide on the stroke of half-time.

Ospreys had lost Keiran Williams to a yellow card shortly before that score and therefore began the second half a man down, and only a one-point lead after Farrell’s conversion.

Owen Williams would extend that advantage with two penalties at the start of the second half, but Saracens drew level on 56 minutes when full-back Alex Goode kicked through for flanker Andy Christie, who in turn set up Malins for his second score, Farrell converting again.

Farrell then kicked Saracens in front with a third penalty on 63 minutes before the decisive moment came five minutes later; Webb threw a quick lineout into the hands of Saracens replacement Taylor, who dotted down untouched.

Farrell’s conversion moved the Gallagher Premiership side 10 points clear, and they capped a battling victory when replacement hooker Woolstencroft added a fourth try at the death following a rolling maul.

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