Ospreys seize home semi-final
May 5, 2012
Richard Fussell scored one of the Ospreys' two tries in Italy
© PA Photos
The Ospreys booked a home-semi final against Munster with a narrow 18-11 victory over Aironi in Italy.
Knowing their season had already been extended, there was little pressure on the Welsh side, but they still rose to the occasion and produced a win that gives them some momentum heading into the play-offs.
On a tight night, the boot of Dan Biggar proved decisive, as he kicked two penalties and also converted one of his side's two tries which were scored by Richard Fussell and Hanno Dirksen.
Travelling with an experimental squad, Ospreys could not have wished for a better start, with Fussell crossing for a try with just five minutes on the clock. Biggar was unable to tag the extras, though, and within three minutes Naas Olivier had reduced the gap to two courtesy of a penalty.
Biggar split the posts with a three-pointer of his own with 16 minutes gone, but the scores were quickly levelled at 8-8 when Nick Williams got over the line for the Italians.
The flurry of first-half points continued, with Dirksen scoring and Biggar topping up the try five minutes before the whistle, but Olivier chipped away again with another penalty.
That was almost it for the scoring, with Biggar's second-half penalty the only remaining contribution, although Aironi could have changed the landscape had they not missed three penalty attempts of their own.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton