EPCR Challenge Cup – Ospreys Claim Comeback Win Against Emirates Lions


Teenage No. 8 Morgan Morse completed a dramatic fightback for Ospreys who scored three late tries to beat Emirates Lions 38-28 in the EPCR Challenge Cup.

Ospreys needed to win in South Africa to secure a third-placed finish in Pool 2 and did so with a trio of scores in the last eight minutes.

The United Rugby Championship (URC) visitors had to withstand some early pressure before hitting on the break, and inside-centre Owen Watkin charged down a kick before crossing under the posts for a converted score.

Emirates Lions responded immediately, with a kick over the top gathered by inside-centre Marius Louw to regain the lead.

Ospreys outside centre George North then charged through a missed tackle to score his third try of this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup, before minutes later coming off injured.

Emirates Lions' forwards then made their power tell on 35 minutes when, after patiently camping on the visitors’ line, blind-side flanker JC Pretorius scored to bring his side back to within a single point.

Left-wing Edwill van der Merwe then challenged the Ospreys’ defence with a darting run before finding Louw to score his second, with a third conversion missed by Nohamba to give the hosts a half-time lead of 18-14.

Emirates Lions looked in charge when fly-half Morne van den Berg took a quick penalty and burst under the posts to secure a fourth-try bonus point.

However, Ospreys started their fightback with eight minutes left on the clock as replacement outside centre Keiran Williams drove them forward and left wing Keelan Giles scored.

Moments later the visitors came forward again, resulting in replacement scrum-half Cameron D. Jones dotting down to set the stage for Morse to win it, who intercepted a long pass to race away for the match-winning try.

Emirates Lions: Tries: Marius Louw, JC Pretorius, Marius Louw, Morne van den Berg. Conversion: Sanele Nohamba. Penalties: Sanele Nohamba (2).
Ospreys: Owen Watkin, George North, Keelan Giles, Cameron D. Jones, Morgan Morse. Conversions: Dan Edwards (2), Jack Walsh (3). Penalty: Dan Edwards.


Emirates Lions: 15 Quan Horn, 14 Richard Kriel, 13 Henco van Wyk, 12 Marius Louw (c, 11 Edwill van der Merwe, 10 Gianni Lombard, 9 Sanele Nohamba, 8 Francke Horn, 7 Emmanuel Tshituka, 6 JC Pretorius, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Asenathi Ntlabakanye, 2 PJ Botha, 1 JP Smith. Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Morgan Naudé, 18 Ruan Dreyer, 19 Darrien Landsberg, 20 Hanru Sirgel, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Kade Wolhuter, 23 Erich Cronje.

Ospreys: 15 Iestyn Hopkins, 14 Mat Protheroe, 13 George North, 12 Owen Watkin, 11 Keelan Giles, 10 Dan Edwards, 9 Reuben Morgan-Williams, 8 Morgan Morse, 7 Harri Deaves, 6 Will Hickey, 5 Adam Beard (c), 4 James Ratti, 3 Tom Botha, 2 Sam Parry, 1 Rhys Henry. Replacements: 16 Ethan Lewis, 17 Cam Jones, 18 Ben Warren, 19 Lewis Jones, 20 Tristan Davies, 21 Cameron Jones, 22 Jack Walsh, 23 Keiran Williams.