Sarries edge Ospreys in thriller
Sarries edge Ospreys in thrillerSHARE
The defending champions outscored their opponents five tries to four but were made to work hard for the victory.
Ospreys dominated the opening 40 minutes but Saracens managed to hang in as the teams headed into half-time locked at 17-17.
Saracens were the first on the board though as they opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Andy Goode found Chris Wyles in acres of space and the wing trotted over for an easy score. Owen Farrell added the extras for a 7-0 lead.
Ospreys hit back almost immediately as Cory Allen got them on the front foot with a blistering run before offloading on Sarries' 22 to Daniel Evans who dotted down his first of the game. Dan Biggar slotted the conversion to level matters at 7-7.
Evans was back in the thick of things soon after to grab his brace when he sliced through Saracens' defence. Biggar was once again on target with the conversion to hand his side a 14-7 lead. Biggar pushed his side further ahead with a successful penalty before Farrell brought the three points back for the home side.
Saracens had the momentum and bagged their second try just before the interval as Schalk Brits went over the whitewash. Biggar's conversion levelled matters at 17-17.
Ospreys regained the lead early in the second half but Saracens went ahead 10 minutes later through a penalty try as Evans went from hero to villain after he knocked the ball on close to his try line, in what would have been a Nick Tompkins try.
Evans was sent to the sin bin for that infringement and that handed Sarries the momentum. The defending champions secured their bonus point in the 61st minute when Liam Williams dotted down. This time though, Biggar was off target with his conversion attempt.
Ospreys were not going down without a fight though as Owen Watkin showed his finishing prowess when he beat a few defenders before scoring under the uprights. Biggar's conversion saw Ospreys cut the deficit to just two points heading into the final 10 minutes.
Back came Sarries though as Tompkins finally got his try with seven minutes remaining. Farrell's extras pushed their lead to nine points. But Ospreys his back with a converted try of their own as debutant Sam Cross rounded off a flowing team move.
Biggar slotted his fourth conversion of the game and with the final play coming from the restart, Ospreys were forced to attack from deep inside their 22. Sarries' defence stood firm, turned the ball over and booted the ball into the stands to bag the win.
Tries: Wyles, Brits, Penalty try, Williams, Tompkins
Cons: Farrell 3, penalty try results in an automatic conversion
Tries: Evans 2, Watkin, Cross
Cons: Biggar 4
Pens: Biggar 2
Yellow card: Daniel Evans (Ospreys, 54)
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Liam Williams, 13 Duncan Taylor, 12 Brad Barritt (captain), 11 Chris Wyles, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Jackson Wray, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Maro Itoje, 5 George Kruis, 4 Nick Isiekwe, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Schalk Burger, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Alex Lozowski, 23 Nick Tompkins.
Ospreys: 15 Daniel Evans, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Kieron Fonotia, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Cory Allen, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Thomas Habberfield, 8 James King, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Adam Beard, 3 Dmitri Arhip, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Nicky Smith.
Replacements: 16 Scott Baldwin, 17 Paul James, 18 Ma'afu Fia, 19 Lloyd Ashley, 20 Guy Mercer, 21 Brendon Leonard, 22 Sam Davies, 23 James Hook.
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: Manuel Bottino (Italy), Matteo Liperini (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Penne (Italy)