Ospreys enjoy the Biggar ending against Leinster
Home side fail to hold on as points are shared at RDS
Biggar cancelled those three points out with his second successful penalty, before the hosts’ hard graft at ruck time – Mike McCarthy on his home debut was in the thick of it – led to a penalty reply from Gopperth.
The Ospreys stayed within a converted score for half-time thanks to a late Biggar penalty after Jordi Murphy went off his feet at a ruck.
Adam Jones and Duncan Jones were sent on for the second half to solidify an Ospreys scrum that had come under pressure in the opening 40 minutes, with the former’s introduction seeing him join fellow British & Irish Lion Ian Evans on the pitch.
McCarthy was caught tackling Scott Baldwin without the ball and the resulting penalty was fired through the posts by Biggar for a 16-12 scoreline.
Although Gopperth was able to restore Leinster’s seven-point advantage soon after, the momentum of the game quickly shifted approaching the hour mark.
The Ospreys, boosted by their strong bench, did damage through their forwards to create two quick-fire try-scoring opportunities which they clinically took.
Biggar popped a perfectly-timed pass for number eight Bearman to dot down under pressure from two Leinster defenders. Television match official Brian MacNeice confirmed the grounding and Biggar’s conversion tied things up.
A brilliant burst up the left saw Evans release the equally influential Eli Walker and he managed to get his pass away for Beck to dive over in the corner. Where Gopperth failed from a similar position earlier, Biggar was bang on target as his conversion moved the Ospreys 26-19 clear.
The Leinster pack were just held up short as they tried to maul their way over for a try in response. They kept up the territory but Cronin’s yellow card – awarded for a harsh scrum call – rocked them at a crucial stage.
Captain Shane Jennings, who assumed the hooker’s role at the subsequent lineouts, helped Leinster regroup and a muscular close-in drive from prop McGrath saw him score underneath the posts. Gopperth converted to make it 26-26.
Biggar miscued a drop-goal effort and young forwards Murphy and McGrath were both prominent as Leinster hunted for the winning score. It look to have arrived when Sam Lewis was caught offside and Gopperth split the posts with just four minutes left.
However, the Ospreys showed impressive resilience to batter their way downfield and, thanks to Biggar, maintain their unbeaten start to the new season.
LEINSTER: D Kearney; Fanning, Macken, D’Arcy, Fitzgerald; Gopperth, Reddan; J McGrath, Strauss, Ross; Toner, McCarthy; K McLaughlin, Jennings, Murphy. Replacements: S Cronin for Strauss (5 mins), Ruddock for K McLaughlin (40 mins).
OSPREYS: Fussell; John, Bishop, Beck, Walker; Biggar, Tebaldi; Bevington, Baldwin, Rees; Evans, King; T Smith, Lewis, Bearman. Replacements: A Jones for Bevington (40 mins), Hibbard for Baldwin (58mins).
Referee: Leighton Hodges (RFU).