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Ospreys beat Perpignan for knockout spot

REPORT: Fullback Iestyn Hopkins scored either side of half-time as Ospreys recorded an important 25-3 win against USAP to secure their progression into the EPCR Challenge Cup knockout stage.

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Ospreys were dealt a blow before kick-off when George North was replaced from the starting line-up, and the Welsh region’s injury crisis grew worse when openside flank Dewi Lake went off after just four minutes.

With little to separate the sides during a close first half flyhalf Dan Edwards kicked his side ahead through a 34th-minute penalty.

Fullback Hopkins scored the game’s opening try on the half-time whistle, picking up a loose ball deep inside his own half and racing away to score, Edwards hitting his conversion against the post as the hosts led 8-0 at half-time.

A difficult prospect for USAP was made tougher early in the second half when hooker Ignacio Ruiz was shown yellow and Edwards increased Ospreys’ lead with a penalty moments later.

Despite being down to 14 men, flyhalf Jake McIntyre scored USAP’s first points through a penalty to make it 11-3.

But Hopkins doubled his account after 50 minutes; an offload found the fullback, and he stepped past an opponent before scoring – Edwards converting.

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The victory was confirmed on 62 minutes when left-wing Keelan Giles cut inside, beating several tackles to score under the posts.

With Newcastle Falcons beaten against Benetton the victory means that Ospreys have qualified for the Round of 16.

Ospreys have a tough trip to Lions in their final pool match, while USAP host Newcastle Falcons.

The scorers:

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For Ospreys:
Tries: Hopkins 2, Giles
Cons: Edwards 2
Pens: Edwards 2

Perpignan
Pen: McIntyre

Teams

Ospreys: 15 Iestyn Hopkins, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Dan Edwards, 9 Luke Davies, 8 Morgan Morse, 7 Dewi Lake, 6 James Ratti, 5 Adam Beard (captain), 4 James Fender, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Gareth Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Garyn Phillips, 18 Ben Warren, 19 Lewis Jones, 20 Will Hickey, 21 Cameron D Jones, 22 Jack Walsh, 23 Keiran Williams.

Perpignan: 15 Louis Dupichot, 14 Boris Goutard, 13 Eddie Sawailau, 12 Apisai Naqalevu, 11 Lucas Dubois, 10 Jake McIntyre, 9 Sadek Deghmache, 8 So’otala Fa’aso’o, 7 Kelian Galletier (captain), 6 Lucas Bachelier, 5 Shahn Eru, 4 Tristan Labouteley, 3 Nemo Roelofse, 2 Ignacio Ruiz, 1 Akato Fakatika.
Replacements: 16 Victor Montgaillard, 17 Sacha Lotrian, 18 Arthur Joly, 19 Bastien Chinarro, 20 Alan Brazo, 21 Joaquin Oviedo, 22 Matteo Rodor, 23 Jean-Pascal Barraque.

Referee: Morné Ferreira (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Marius van der Westhuizen (South Africa), Aimee Barrett-Theron (South Africa)
TMO: Marius Jonker (South Africa)

Source: @ChallengeCup_

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