Late North try sinks Worcester
CHALLENGE CUP SATURDAY WRAP: George North produced a dramatic late score as Ospreys beat Worcester Warriors in Round Two in an enthralling eight-try game at the Sixways Stadium.
Ospreys took an early lead through two Stephen Myler penalties, but Worcester were quick to respond though an Ollie Lawrence try.
Melani Nanai Vai then crossed for Worcester just before the half-hour mark but a penalty try and a Sam Parry score in the closing minutes of the first half saw Ospreys go into the break with a six-point advantage.
Worcester halved that deficit less than five minutes into the second period through a Jamie Shillcock penalty, before Billy Searle and Ted Hill crossed in quick succession to give the Warriors a healthy lead.
Ospreys refused to be beaten though and hit back through a Morgan Morris score, leaving the visitors four points adrift with just under a quarter of an hour to play.
Worcester looked set to cling on for a first win in the European Rugby Challenge Cup this season, but North was on hand to give Ospreys the lead as he slid over in the corner with six minutes left on the clock, before Myler kicked two late penalties to seal a remarkable victory for the Welsh side.
Ospreys welcome Worcester to the Liberty Stadium in the reverse fixture in Round Three.
* In the other Saturday match Leicester Tigers recorded their second victory, as they battled to edge a gutsy Bayonne.
Leicester was in control for large spells of the first half, with Tommy Reffell and Cameron Henderson both scoring tries either side of Zack Henry penalty.
Bayonne stayed in touch with the Tigers though, with full-back Gaetan Germain slotting two penalties, before the French side reduced the deficit further on the stroke of half time thanks to a Hugo Zabalza score.
Early in the second half, Henry nudged two further penalties over the Bayonne posts, before fullback Kini Murimurivalu extended Leicester’s commanding lead with a try on the hour mark.
Andrei Gorin scored for Bayonne with just over ten minutes remaining as the hosts refused to roll over, but Leicester held on for a well-earned victory, ensuring they maintained their 100 percent record at the start of this season’s Challenge Cup.
The two sides will face off again in Round Three, with Bayonne making the trip Leicester’s Welford Road.
* Agen (over Benetton) and Cardiff Blues (Stade Francais) were both awarded 28-0 bonus-point wins as a result of COVID-19-enforced cancellations of their matches.
Scores and scorers
Worcester Warriors 29 Ospreys 38
For Worcester Warriors
Tries: Lawrence, Nanai, Searle, Hill
Cons: Shillcock 3
Tries: Parry, Morris, North, Penalty try
Cons: Myler 2, penalty try does not require a conversion
Pens: Myler 4
Yellow cards: Richard Palframan (Worcester Warriors, 33), Ethan Waller (Worcester Warriors, 59)
Bayonne 20 Leicester Tigers 28
Tries: Zabalza, Gorin
Cons: Germain 2
Pens: Germain 2
For Leicester Tigers 28
Tries: Reffell, Kelly, Murimurivalu
Cons: Henry 2
Pens: Henry 3
Yellow cards: Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 38), Nephi Leatigaga (Leicester Tigers, 40), Cyle Brink (Leicester Tigers, 67)