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Last Updated: Friday, 20 October 2006, 20:41 GMT 21:41 UK
Ospreys 17-16 Sale Sharks
James Hook kicks a late conversion to beat Sale
Hook came off the bench to snatch a late victory for the Ospreys
Ospreys (10) 17
Tries: S. Williams (2)
Cons: Connor, Hook
Pens: Connor

Sale Sharks (10) 16
Tries: Fernandez Lobbe
Cons: Hodgson
Pens: Hodgson (3)

James Hook converted Shane Williams' injury-time try to give the Ospreys a dramatic Heineken Cup win over Sale.

Charlie Hodgson's second-half penalties had looked to been enough for Sale, but Hook held his nerve with the last kick of the match to grab the points.

The sides were level 10-10 at the break after a Williams try was cancelled out by Juan Fernandez Lobbe's score.

Hodgson's late penalty put Sale 10-16 up, but Williams found a way through the Sale defence for a thrilling end.

Ospreys suffered a late blow as Gavin Henson was forced to pull out of the starting XV with a hamstring injury.

Connor took over at fly-half and he helped the home side to an early advantage as the game began at an encouraging pace.

A second-minute penalty got the scoreboard ticking over and then Connor delivered the final pass that sent Williams over in the right corner for the opening try.

Shane Williams scores the Ospreys' first try against Sale
Williams holds off Hodgson to score for the Ospreys

Scrum-half Justin Marshall created the damage with break inside his own half, and Williams showed great strength to withstand Hodgson's last-ditch tackle to touchdown.

But the Ospreys let Sale back into the game almost immediately as full-back Lee Byrne took too much time to clear from inside his own 22.

Byrne's stumble allowed Hodgson to charge down his kick, and the ball fell perfectly for number eight Fernandez Lobbe to gather and cross the tryline unopposed.

Hodgson converted, but then wasted the chance to put his side ahead by missing two penalties just before the half-hour mark.

Ospreys lock Brent Cockbain was sent to the sin bin in first-half injury-time for a stamp on Fernandez Lobbe, and then Hodgson ended a poor first period with his first penalty to level the scores.

The England fly-half put Sale ahead for the first time in the match shortly after the break with his second penalty.

Slick attacking play became even less evident as the game descended into a monotonous forward battle, littered by turnovers and unforced errors.

Hodgson stretched Sale's lead to six points with his third penalty three minutes from time and the victory looked safe for the Guinness Premiership champions

But the Ospreys suddenly came into life as the match entered injury time, and camped themselves in the Sale 22 by going through several phases for the first time in the match.

Their patience finally told as Byrne, after a superb hand-off on Oriol Ripol, fed Williams to cross on the right and replacement Hook made no mistake with the conversion to snatch victory.

  • Ospreys coach Lyn Jones:

  • "I thought this game would go to the wire, and it is not nice to lose like that.

    "It happened to us against Leicester in the Heineken Cup last season, and we were devastated. To be honest, we still probably haven't got over that result.

    "I think there is a 25% improvement to come from us - we need a more accurate kicking game and we didn't play with the width we would have liked. We didn't put our name on the game, if you like.

    "If we had lost tonight we would have been out of the competition, but we have got to go to Stade - which is probably the toughest away game in European rugby - and play to our strengths."

  • Sale rugby director Philippe Saint-Andre:

  • "We were in control of the game but we were not clinical enough and did not score enough points.

    "When you are in control like that you have to be more than six points clear during the final minutes.

    "I was annoyed with our performance, during the first 10 minutes especially.

    "We dropped the kick-off, then missed three or four tackles and saw them score a try down our blindside."

    Ospreys: L Byrne; S Williams, S Parker, A Bishop, N Walker; S Connor, J Marshall; D Jones (capt), B Williams, A Jones, B Cockbain, I Evans, F Tiatia, S Tandy, R Jones.
    Replacements: Hook for Connor (59), Spice for Marshall (67), James for D. Jones (67), Bennett for B. Williams (57), A. Jones for Cockbain (54), Thomas for Tiatia (57).
    Not Used: Terblanche.

    Sin Bin: Cockbain (38).

    Sale: J Robinson (capt); M Cueto, M Taylor, E Seveali'i, O Ripol; C Hodgson, S Martens; A Sheridan, S Bruno, B Evans, C Jones, D Schofield, J White, M Lund, J Fernandez Lobbe.
    Replacements: Larrechea for Cueto (12), Wigglesworth for Martens (45), Briggs for Bruno (66), Turner for Evans (45), Chabal for Schofield (55).
    Not Used: Day, Mayor.

    Att: 13,529.

    Referee: Joel Jutge (Fra).

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